In pagan periods myths and legends abound, stories and oral narratives in which coitus between species, far from being stigmatized, exalted the animist communion with nature, virility of gods and heroes, transmuting power of the erotic imagination…
With Christianity, the priapic nature spirits become evil beings, the bucolic image of satyr chasing nymphs is replaced in the popular imagination by the goat copulating with witches. Secular societies labeled bestiality among sexual deviations, and then exploited as a paraphilia in the most bizarre pornography market.
The taboo of bestiality has been a plot device used by filmmakers and writers to disrupt the bourgeois values of different time and place, showin
g transgressive act as a challenge against a repressive and hypocritical society. It has been argued by artists and intellectuals as emancipatory strength, as a way to kill the father (morality), in Freudian terms.
This becomes literal in Porcile, Pasolini’s film in which the last (and only) words of the accused are: “I killed my father, eated human flesh and tremble with joy.” The cannibal and the zoophile son of a tycoon share a subversive attitude against authority (the father figure, a rich industrialist, embodiment of capitalism), remaining pure despite wallow among pigs and guts, true to their passion, alien to parasitic sectarianism.
Cannibalism and bestiality also went hand in hand in Caniche, that film with which Bigas Luna caricatured the ancient lineage in Francoist Spain, concretized in two brothers forming a sickly trio with a dachshund, who meekly practiced cunnilinguis to his mistress.
The plot thickens when not only repressed instincsts but also a distorted divinity image are channeled, as a adulterated revival of animism. Equus teenager (Peter Shaffer) rides naked on the dark night until he reaches orgasm, disguised as religion the eroticism he projects onto his horses. But he’ll end up des
ecrating these idols, venting his guilt in them.
Instead, from utopian art factions, the intimacy between species stands out as an alternative to the lack of understanding between humans. The performer Oleg Kulik, in the post-Soviet transition period, assumed the personality of a dog to denounce the impossibility of communication through articulate speech. At the installation Family of the future argued for conjugal life between a man and a dog: furniture had the right proportions for moving on all fours and a wallpaper with illustrations of a zoophilic Kama Sutra. The photos showed Kulik and his mastiff frolicking in the countryside, reading together an edition of Homo Ludens, making love …
But if there is a story that stands out from all others by its openness, that banishes of its analysis any ounce of irony, social criticism, unjustified morbidity… is Bear, Marian Engel’s novel. The life of a librarian protected between books and dust changes radically when is allocated on a remote island to take inventory of a house. As the only company, a bear. Disillusioned of men, she will find the way to quench her sexual and emotional appetite without expecting anything in return. It makes us feel animal raspy tongue licking every corner of her body, excitement enhanced by the sense of danger. Because the bear never ceases to be a bear, it not idealized or humanized, there are not beauties nor beasts, but an unpredictable animal and a woman that reaches the bottom of herself thanks to the genuineness of that devotion, knowing that they belong to two different realms and it is precisely the riddle of the other that allows her to investigate its own opacity.