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Title: Mind to screen : the conveyance of disordered mental states in film
Author: Merchant, Hayley J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 8501
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis investigates the way in which film as a specific medium is capable of communicating a subjectivity that is troubled or otherwise compromised by mental illness. It is traditionally held that the written word is a far more suitable medium for communicating interiority than the medium of film, as the word is characterised as complex, abstract and conceptual, whilst the image is characterised as straightforward, obvious and concrete. This thesis will argue, however, that the medium of film is entirely capable of dealing with the abstract and conceptual, and can in fact construct extremely complex frameworks of subjectivity due to its multitrack character. Using detailed textual analysis, I will interrogate the way in which film utilises the multiple channels available to it (the visual, verbal, and aural) to create complex systems of meaning. Due to the tendency of filmmakers to appeal to literary sources for guidance when conveying mental states, the issue of adaptation is crucial to my entry into this discussion. My corpus primarily consists of films that are based on literary accounts of troubled subjectivity (either biographical or fictional). My thesis will compare and contrast filmic and literary conveyances of mental illness to establish the symbols, metaphors and analogies that communicate complex interiority. My key case studies are: A Scanner Darkly (dir. Richard Linklater, 2006), Clean, Shaven (dir. Lodge Kerrigan, 1993), A Beautiful Mind (dir. Ron Howard, 2001), Fight Club (dir. David Fincher, 1999), Secret Window (dir. David Koepp, 2004), The Hours (dir. Stephen Daldry, 2002), and A Single Man (dir. Tom Ford, 2008). This thesis makes an original contribution to knowledge by generating alternative readings of these films that take into account the multitrack character of the medium. These readings will highlight the specific techniques and vocabularies that are drawn on and developed to communicate disordered interiority.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN1993 Motion Pictures