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Title: The aesthetics of negativity : the cinema of Suzuki Seijun
Author: Yacavone, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 9000
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the films of post-war Japanese director Suzuki Seijun (1923-), who has yet to be the subject of an extended study in the English language. The thesis aims to provide a close textual analysis of several of Suzuki’s films, with an emphasis on his crime and gangster films of the 1960s. At the same time, it aims to discuss and determine the significance of these films, and the consistent stylistic features that emerge from them, in multiple historical, ideological, and theoretical contexts. For example, while the thesis emphasises the importance of Suzuki’s films to formal and ideological developments in Japanese cinema from 1950s to the present day, it also claims significance to these films in reference to major issues in contemporary film theory, such as modernity, genre, masculinity, identification, reflexivity, violence, spectatorship, and masochism. The thesis begins by claiming that a ‘differential aesthetic’ is evident in Suzuki’s films, defined by a variety of textual features such as editing discontinuities, non-diegetic colours, graphics, and theatrical effects, repetitive structures of narration, and inter-textual references. Such features were highly unconventional, and in many cases deemed unacceptable, in the context of Japanese studio genre production in the 1960s. The rest of the thesis proposes to fully explore this ‘Suzuki difference’ in a variety of historical and theoretical contexts. I have chosen the concept of negativity and the ‘negative aesthetic’ to unify the thesis as a whole, arguing that the Suzuki aesthetic is not merely differential, but attempts a negation of formal and ideological conventions of studio filmmaking for the purpose of a wide-ranging, satirical critique of post-war Japanese culture. In several respects, the negative aesthetic links Suzuki to global tendencies in the transformation of cinematic form and narration in the 1960s, and his films can contribute to an understanding of these transitions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN1993 Motion Pictures