Interesting to see the film Jackie yesterday. Jackie being what one might call an ‘empty signifier’ not because she was an ‘empty person’ but because she represented something for millions of people or rather Jackie became a pure signifier that had nothing to do with a the person. The signifier Jackie became welded to a piece of ideology specific to that time.
But what happens when you take away the millions of American citizens for whom the signifier supported so much meaning? What was this signifier when it was behind the closed doors?
The film has as it’s thread the interview between Jackie and a hardened newspaper hack and there is immediately an acknowledgement between the two that this piece ‘he was writing’ was going to be all about the signifier Jackie and no more. Every now and then the ‘real’ person bubbles up but is it the real person? Even with the explicit enactment of her experience of the assassination – her attempt to hold JFK’s brains into his open skull with staring blue eyes, somehow doesn’t connect us with a person. Even the score is emptied of signification, resisting any temptation to sentimentalise, which brings into stark light their favourite piece of music – a banal extract from the musical Camelot – a portrayal of the King Arthur myth popular at the time.
At the end of the interview Jackie takes the illegible yellow papered notes that the hack has been taking and goes through it with an eraser to leave the pure signifier