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Title: Romanticism with teeth : surrealism in British film
Author: Middleton, F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 3176
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the idea of Surrealism in relation to British films. Films often classified as Realism, Gothic, Satire or Artists’ Film and Video are revealed to contain substantial collective themes and techniques when looked at through the lens of Surrealism, while films that have not previously been associated with Surrealism are found to be significant. Detailed case studies of Neil Jordan’s The Company of Wolves (1984) and Mona Lisa (1986) reveal that these two films embody these themes and techniques and straddle the perceived polarity of realism and fantasy in British film. Central to the discussion is Viktor Schlovsky’s idea of de-familiarization whereby that which is so familiar as to go unquestioned is made shockingly unfamiliar or strange. The thesis challenges the idea of mutually exclusive genres in British cinema, particularly Realism and its perceived opposites, ideas that have long-defined British Cinema studies. Conversely, Surrealism’s ultimate aim is the convergence of reality and fantasy or the imagination, and this thesis demonstrates that convergence within British Cinema. The thesis also builds bridges between British Cinema studies and disciplines such as Literature and Art History, as well as other European Cinemas. A major finding is that Surrealism’s roots in Romanticism are often played out in British films, and subversive narrational techniques are traced from eighteenth and nineteenth century Gothic novels to Lewis Carroll and the films of Luis Buñuel and British Cinema. There is however an important difference between Romanticism and Surrealism: the first is characterised by self-expression, which can often be controversial, without concern for consequences. Surrealism on the other hand is very much concerned with consequences, as in its hands self-expression becomes a means of protest, aimed squarely at shattering oppressive socio-political circumstances.
Supervisor: Higson, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available