The hunger for touch

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Sexuality and Eroticism in a Post-pandemic World




School of Arts and Humanities / Graduate Research School


Karali, S. N., & Karpathakis, G. (2023). The hunger for touch. In P. Shining & J. Braddy (Eds.), Sexuality and Eroticism in a Post-pandemic World (pp. 269-295). Brill.


The COVID-19 pandemic has furthered the experience and awareness of cinematic sensations as the restrictions redefine our relation to eros. Selecting Fatih Akin’s 2004 film titled Gegen die Wand (Head-On), this chapter explores the use of the sensory, the affect, and the erotic in the film’s cinematography and how it is relevant to our time. Akin encourages embodied affective responses in the viewer, bypassing the potential socio-political fallout as he presents a love story between unlikely lovers. The selected scenes examine Akin’s filmmaking techniques, which give the viewer an experience of sensation beyond what is seen, placing Head-On in the cinema of sensation. The social and cultural repression, and the emotional responses raised in the film are not only still present and amplified, but are now coupled with the pressures of the pandemic. Thinking along the new normal, the analysis suggests that the pandemic, having suppressed intimacy, has increased the hunger for touch, the longing for interpersonal and intimate touch, making us aware of the absence of eros. The cinema of sensation is rekindled in the time of COVID-19, leaving its mark on the ongoing future of cinema.



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