Perceiving voids: Memory And Sight Afflictions In Contemporary Cinema
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My thesis focuses on the perceptive afflictions caused by alteration of the normal biological functioning of sight and memory. These afflictions are related to the redefinition and disgregation of the classical and postclassical cinematographic characters, and affect cinematographic language, establishing a dialectical relation with the filmic image that contaminates our spectatorial perception. In the first chapter I propose a different reading of a few moments in film history, turning points in which a modification of the ordinary sensorial patterns has been introduced. From the German Expressionism to the late authorial experiments of the 60s, there is a sort of hidden history of film that passes through the continuous redefinition of the audience sensory activity. The different perspective upon broadly studied topics leads to the analysis of contemporary cinema: my thesis tries to investigate the reasons that led cinema to continually increase the representation of perceptive afflictions during the last years, and theses “affected” narratives of afflictions and dysfunctions have interesting effects upon so called “normal” perception of the reality surrounding us. The chapters 2 and 3 respectively analyze memory disorders and different dysfunctions of sight: these elements determine alterations in the ‘normal’ and ‘sensory’ perception of reality. They work as narrative factors changing the visual filmic instruments and redefining the role of the subject (and his/her uncertain definition of identity) in contemporary narratives that show how new technologies are profoundly transforming (and enhancing) the perceptive mechanisms involved in our spectatorial activity. In this work I analyze those films that are mostly committed to a clear and readable narration. My study primarily concentrates on American cinema of the last 30 years – with particular attention to popular Hollywood productions – because Hollywood has become the privileged ‘laboratory’ for the negotiation of gaze and images in the contemporary mediascape (while during the classical era experimental and avant-garde cinema were the “place” in which audience experienced the most important redefinitions of the boundaries between different types of mediated perception.
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