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Title: The representation of suicide in the cinema
Author: Saddington, John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 8618
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2010
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This study examines representations of suicide in film. Based upon original research cataloguing 350 films it considers the ways in which suicide is portrayed and considers this in relation to gender conventions and cinematic traditions. The thesis is split into two sections, one which considers wider themes relating to suicide and film and a second which considers a number of exemplary films. Part I discusses the wider literature associated with scholarly approaches to the study of both suicide and gender. This is followed by quantitative analysis of the representation of suicide in films, allowing important trends to be identified, especially in relation to gender, changes over time and the method of suicide. In Part 11, themes identified within the literature review and the data are explored further in relation to detailed exemplary film analyses. Six films have been chosen: Le Feu Follet (1963), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), The Killers (1946 and 1964), The Hustler (1961) and The Virgin Suicides (1999). These films are considered in three chapters which exemplify different ways that suicide is constructed. Chapters 4 and 5 explore the two categories that I have developed to differentiate the reasons why film characters commit suicide. These are Melancholic Suicide, which focuses on a fundamentally "internal" and often ill- understood motivation, for example depression or long term illness; and Occasioned Suicide, where there is an "external" motivation for which the narrative provides apparently intelligible explanations, for instance where a character is seen to be in danger or to be suffering from feelings of guilt. Chapter 6 considers films that seek to elaborate upon the lasting effects of suicide on another character and these narratives are considered in terms of the type of effect that the suicide provokes. These films are situated within their generic traditions (the French Nouvelle Vague; the alcohol addiction film; film noir, neo- noir, "serious" drama; and the teenpic), allowing a rounded examination of representations of suicide and gender. Film sequence analyses and character traits and states are included in the Appendices. As a thesis, it is demonstrated that gender and generic conventions significantly influence the ways in which suicide has been represented and utilised narratively in the cinema.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available