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Title: Images of the new Europe : conceptual ideas of the European and post-1989 European films
Author: Forbes, Alexander Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 7337
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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In a series of cinematic case studies, this thesis argues for a philosophically grounded concept of the 'European', a concept visualized and narrativized in a select canon of films from the tumultuous period in European history between 1989 and 1995. This concept is defined by an oscillation between the particular and the universal, situating Europe not in a geopolitical or territorial frame but instead as the interaction between utopian promise of universal tolerance and (self-)critical thought, and a historical actuality overdetermined by particularities: identity, nationality, ethnicity, gender, and class. A critical, self-reflexive and avowedly European group of films is examined: Faraway, So Close! (Wim Wenders, 1993), the Three Colours trilogy (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1993-4), Ulysses' Gaze (Theodoros Angelopolous, 1995), and 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance (Michael Haneke, 1994) reflexively critique the institutional, territorial and historical basis of their 'European' status. This critique is performed in the handling of profilmic indexicality and the dramatic situations staged within that environment. In bringing the particular universal tension to the fore, this thesis argues that the European always already brings with it a historico-philosophical tension occluded in categories such as the global or transnational. Historical echoes, in which events of the post-1989 period appear to re-occur in the present, indicate how recent and ongoing European crises are haunted by the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Soviet-type socialism, and the expansion of European institutions. In that time, philosophical responses to the newly-emerging political and social conditions implicitly or explicitly evoked the power of visual cultures to initiate reflection on those conditions. Narrative films specifically offer an underappreciated resource on the intellectual concerns of the post-1989 moment, and on its galvanising influence on philosophical questioning of the European. This thesis offers a detailed examination of cinematic narratives in which this questioning is undertaken and by doing so offers intellectual resources for re-imagining the present moment of European crisis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: East and West in motion pictures ; Motion pictures ; Europe