This chapter examines strategies for surveillance in the film Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2012) and considers the ways in which these reflect changes in real-world monitoring of both public and terrorist activities since 9/11. The film is particularly relevant to a consideration of surveillance and space because it charts the ten year search for Osama bin Laden across various locations, a mission that is accomplished through a combination of strategic physical and technological observation. Indeed, its visual style and narrative trajectory are dictated by surveillance, the film thereby epitomising its prevalence in contemporary visual culture since 9/11. The claim here is that the forms of surveillance exercised within the film embody a combination of the models articulated by Michel Foucault (1991) and Thomas Mathiesen (1997), which consider, respectively, how the few view the many and how the many watch the few. The film’s expression of surveillance is likewise concerned with the physical space between the observed and the observer, albeit this is often in terms of geographically greater or more technologically controlled distances. As in the real world situation, predictive profiling is also important, and, while the filmic version of bin Laden’s capture further rests on the seemingly intuitive conclusions of its female protagonist, Maya, this is reflective of the input of women CIA analysts in the search for him (Bergen, 2013: 77). Because it is a production based on real events, an analysis of the film offers opportunities to consider the implementation of real-world surveillance, the multiple forms that this can take, and its potential inadequacies as well as its increasing significance in combating terrorism.
This book examines the ways in which the house appears in films and the modes by which it moves beyond being merely a backdrop for action. Specifically, it explores the ways that domestic spaces carry inherent connotations that filmmakers exploit to enhance meanings and pleasures within film. Rather than simply examining the representation of the house as national symbol, auteur trait, or in terms of genre, contributors study various rooms in the domestic sphere from an assortment of time periods and from a diversity of national cinemas―from interior spaces in ancient Rome to the Chinese kitchen, from the animated house to the metaphor of the armchair in film noir.
This article considers differences between the representation of mutation in science fiction films from the 1950s and the present, and identifies distinctive changes over this time period, both in relation to the narrative causes of genetic disruption and in the aesthetics of its visual display. Discerning an increasingly abject quality to science fiction mutations from the 1970s onwards—as a progressive tendency to view the physically opened body, one that has a seemingly fluid interior–exterior reversal, or one that is almost beyond recognition as humanoid—the article connects a propensity for disgust to the corresponding socio-cultural and political zeitgeist. Specifically, it suggests that such imagery is tied to a more expansive ‘structure of feeling’, proposed by Raymond Williams and emergent since the 1970s, but gathering momentum in later decades, that reflects an ‘opening up’ of society in all its visual, socio-cultural and political configurations. Expressly, it parallels a change from a repressive, patriarchal society that constructed medicine as infallible and male doctors as omnipotent to one that is generally more liberated, transparent and equitable. Engaging theoretically with the concept of a ‘structure of feeling’, and critically with scientific, cinematic and cultural discourses, two post-1970s’ ‘mutation’ films, The Fly (1986) and District 9 (2009), are considered in relation to their pre-1970s’ predecessors, and their aesthetics related to the perceptions and articulations of the medical profession at their respective historic moments, locating such instances within a broader medico-political canvas.
Neo-Victorian Villains is the first edited collection to examine the afterlives of such Victorian villains as Dracula, Svengali, Dorian Gray and Jekyll and Hyde, exploring their representation in neo-Victorian drama and fiction. In addition, Neo-Victorian Villains examines a number of supposedly villainous types, from the spirit medium and the femme fatale to the imperial ‘native’ and the ventriloquist, and traces their development from Victorian times today. Chapters analyse recent theatre, films and television – from Ripper Street to Marvel superhero movies – as well as classic Hollywood depictions of Victorian villains. In a wide-ranging opening chapter, Benjamin Poore assesses the legacy of nineteenth-century ideas of villains and villainy in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
This article addresses two Iraq War films, The Hurt Locker (Bigelow 2008) and In the Valley of Elah (Haggis 2007), through the lens of trauma theory. Uniquely, it engages with Slavoj Žižek’s account of the Real in its analysis of how victim/perpetrator trauma is signified in their respective narrative structures and visual style. The primary argument is that the pattern of traumatic memory is reflected in their narrative modes. At the same time, it claims that the unfolding narrative of In the Valley of Elah mimics certain forms of trauma treatment, operating in a therapeutic mode for its characters (as well as offering narrative resolution for spectators). Such analysis of trauma differs from other scholarly approaches to these films that have variously considered them from perspectives of: embodiment in the war film (Burgoyne 2012); the ethics of viewing traumatic suffering (Straw 2011); the de-politicisation of torture by the inclusion of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Barker 2011); indifference to post-9/11 war films as an inability to respond to the trauma and loss that terrorism poses (Toffoletti and Grace 2010); trauma and the militarised body (Andreescu 2016); and the narration of trauma in Iraq War Films (Kopka 2018).
Pheasant-Kelly, Frances(John Hopkins University Press, 2018-12-12)
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a novel that centers on a scientist who collects organs and limbs from dead bodies to construct a new being, illustrates the complex, interwoven history of science and science fiction. The novel’s attention to the animation of assembled body parts reflects contemporaneous scientific interest in the reanimation of corpses by galvanism. In this article, I extend the science/science-fiction relationship developed in the novel by analyzing the visual differences between two of its subsequent film adaptations. Although scholars have extensively scrutinized and speculated about Shelley’s influences, limited consideration of contemporary scientific influences on later film versions exists.
After a century of reinvention and reinterpretation, Western movies continue to contribute to the cultural understanding of the United States. Western archetypes remain important emblems of the American experience, relating a complex and coded narrative about heroism and morality, masculinity and femininity, westward expansion and technological progress, and assimilation and settlement. In this collection of new essays, 21 contributors from around the globe examine the "cowboy cool" iconography of film and television Westerns-from bounty hunters in buckskin jackets to the seedy saloons and lonely deserts.
This chapter is from a book which analyzes post-9/11 literature, film, and television through an interdisciplinary lens, taking into account contemporary debates about spatial practices, gentrification, cosmopolitanism, memory and history, nostalgia, the uncanny and the abject, postmodern virtuality, the politics of realism, and the economic and social life of cities. Featuring an international group of scholars, the volume theorizes how literary and visual representations expose the persistent conflicts that arise as cities rebuild in the shadow of past ruins.
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