Theory Challenge

In “A Touch of Spice: Mobility and Popularity,” Eleftheriotis believes that a sense of mobility in and around the film A Touch of Spice (Boulmetis, 2003) is a critical enabler to its popularity. This sense of mobility is also embodied in The 10th Night (Yamaguchi, 2006), although the appearances may be a bit different.

Eleftheriotis argues that the mobility in A Touch of Spice is manifested in two ways. The first is the spatiotemporal mobility in narration, which involves an oscillating movement between past and present, memory and experience, Istanbul and Athens. Similarly, The 10th Night is in many ways representative of a much more multifaceted mobility in narration. Just the name of the anthology, Ten Nights of  Dreams, is an allusion of the mobility between real life and dream world. More remarkably, the experience of the hero Shōtarō is so erratic that it seems like a dream within a dream. Therefore, flashback in The 10th Night is not just a painful return but it shows a greater degree of mobility between the fictitiousness and the real, the predator and the prey, the desire for food and sex. Especially when Shōtarō was in the underground factory, the mobile “pig ride” serves as a television, as the vignettes of cooking passes in parallel one by one, from the collecting of the soup to the cooking of meat, then to the adding of the secret ingredient. Such scenes resemble that of the viewers changing TV channels. It is this moving process that offers Shōtarō increasing reflexivity and reflection and gradually forces him to push the button on the stick, which has the same function as a TV remote control. 


Another sense of mobility in A Touch of Spice, according to Eleftheriotis, lies in the contemporary and forward-looking perspective while the flashback is about the hero’s childhood. Placed in the global market, the film relates its mobility as a cultural commodity to its mode of production, marketing, and circulation, and delivers an optimistic manifesto for the future. Compared with this film, The 10th Night evidently lacks a internationally mobile or flexible agent, since it does not use the subjective narrational perspective of the hero, but a third-person point of view in flashback. Thus, The 10th Night probably shows its weakness on the cosmopolitan mobility. However, we have to keep in mind that the film is adapted from the short pieces of Natsume Sōseki. The leap from literature to cinema has already constituted its innate mobility. Beyond this intrinsic, mutual mobility, The 10th Night, also links the past and present to the future, and the double appearance of the inventor is this connector. The first prediction of the inventor is inserted when Shōtarō is in the clutches of pigs, and it seems like that this shot is in the past perfect tense because it’s a prevenient prediction to the “future” that has happened, in the memory. The second one is the last shot, a prediction regarding the hero’s astronaut career which is in the future past tense. It’s an unrealistic mobility rather than a simple narrative movement, because it traverses among almost all tenses. Mobilizing the mobility of different arts and various tenses to recoup what Eleftheriotis calls “global mobility,” The 10th Night is still a short full of vivid imagination and mobility.


Work Cited:

Eleftheriotis, Dimitris. “A Touch of Spice: Mobility and Popularity.” 2012.

Boulmetis, Tassos. A Touch of Spice. 2003.

Yamaguchi, Yudai. The 10th Night. 2006

Sōseki, Natsume. Ten Nights of  Dreams. 1908


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