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Title: The achievement of female presence on film
Author: Leadbetter, Katharine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 0758
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis examines the different ways films have explored female presence as a narrative and stylistic concern. The role of female presence in the creation of film meaning has often been reductively minimised or altogether neglected within many theoretical approaches to cinema. Depictions of female characters—especially those found in Hollywood films—have been viewed by feminist critics only in terms of the manifestation of sexist ideological principles, whilst more recently, 'affective' film theorists have reduced the role of presence to a simple question of fluctuating physical intensity. This thesis contests these limiting and monolithic understandings of the function of female presence by demonstrating how films have produced complex and diverse meanings through their portrayals of women characters. Closely analysing films by six directors from various styles of cinema, including examples from Classic Hollywood film and more experimental or avant-garde works, the thesis contends that films can raise the question of the condition of a female character's presence as a vital component of meaning. It illuminates how the subject of female presence is advanced, moment-to-moment, as a crucial element in the achievement of these films' intricately wrought dramas. The thesis therefore shows that female film presence is neither simply a symptom of ideology, nor a vehicle for varying degrees of affective intensity. Rather, it is something which is actively at stake in the drama and the design of films.
Supervisor: Klevan, Andrew Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Film ; Film Aesthetics ; Presence ; Female Presence