Bright Lights Film Journal

Semiology of the Wink, Part III

Another classic enigmatic wink comes in the stalwart late night horror favorite, ANACONDA (1991), starring Ice Cube, Jennifer Lopez and Jon Voight.

Voight has a blast playing a Quint-like snake-stalking maniac who gets eaten up and later spit out by a giant anaconda. Drkpitt at Double Action reports:

Voight’s crushed, twisted, partially digested body is regurgitated by the snake right in front of Lopez. As she screams in horror, Voight’s suave, debonair character still manages to wink at her with his left eye since he feels that she must find him even more irresistible now.

What more need be said about the symbolic resonance of the wink? The ultimate in conspiratorial inclusiveness, the wink transcends subject and object, releasing both for a split second from the constraints of time and space, revealing all attachment and worry to be folly. Voight’s wink in ANACONDA especially seems to invite a special metatextual reading: the actor commenting to the fans on his day spent wrapped in special effects goo: “Hey, it’s a living.” and simultaneously in the film’s diegesis: “Why worry about the big bite, Baby? Come on in, the digestive tract’s fine.” Also, finally and most deliciously, the wink is a meaningless flourish, an unquantifiable signifier, as inscrutable as the Mona Lisa’s smile.