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Title: Love as a form of knowledge : the performance of culture in the films of Hal Hartley
Author: Rawle, Steven Edward
ISNI:       0000 0001 3509 4201
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2006
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Hal Hartley’s films are organised around and characterised by issues of performance.  This thesis examines the key aesthetic and thematic consequences of the emphasis on performance in Hartley’s work, wherein the two are seen as fundamentally interlocking.  Hartley’s use of a multitude of different performing styles, including alienated acting, dancing, singing and abstract gestural movement, develops and sustains a contextual discourse on style, narrative and culture.  This centrality of performance in Hartley’s oeuvre, the thesis argues, simultaneously explores both the performance of the film performer and the performance of the subject in socio-cultural spheres.  The performance of the text and the performances of the performers are exposed as analogous on aesthetic, social and cultural levels where the performer in front of the camera is made congruent with the social performer before the public eye.  Looking closely at the role played by performance and the performer in Hartley’s presentation of gesture, dance and violence, the thesis examines the manner in which his films utilise paradigmatic modes of performance to emphasise the materiality of the cinematic body and the social and cultural consequences of performing in narrative spaces.  Drawing on theories of aesthetic and socio-anthropological performance, the thesis argues that Hartley’s films exist in a gap between realism and abstraction and examine the performances of both the exposed, abstract performer and the character within the diegetic space, whose performance is contingent upon the articulation of socio-cultural signs relating to gender, sexual, national and cultural difference.  The central focus on issues of performance allows the thesis to explore Hartley’s broader concerns regarding cultural performance, such as the schism between personal and public images, the consumption and circulation of knowledge and the commodification of body and image.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available