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Title: Selfhood, love and responsibility : film stories of the everyday and crisis within the couple and family unit
Author: Devoy, Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 7475
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2016
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This is a film practice PhD investigating how selfhood, love and responsibility within couple and family units are conveyed, imagined or problematized in contemporary cinema and how the properties of screen fiction can be used to explore contemporary parental experience. The research project incorporates an original feature screenplay (Nuclear) and short film (Inhabit) which were developed in parallel to, and informed by, the theoretical research in the accompanying critical thesis. Chapter One explores how parenthood, with an emphasis on motherhood, might be imagined by non or aspiring parents, and what anxieties or desires are expressed through these imaginings. Miranda July’s The Future (2010) and Joanna Hogg’s Unrelated (2006) are placed in dialogue with Inhabit (2014) in an examination of the slippage of generational identity experienced by the characters as they struggle with the prospect of impending or denied parenthood. Chapter Two concentrates of evocations of the everyday as it intersects with stories of family life. Drawing from cultural theorists of the everyday including Giard, de Certeau and Highmore, I examine why and how we might attend to the everyday on screen. Taking Henri Lefebvre’s notion of ‘rhythmanalysis’ as a tool with which to analyse Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday (2012), Joanna Hogg’s Archipelago (2010) and Nuclear, I explore how rhythm and patterns of repetition and difference can embody and communicate experiences of domestic relationships and the everyday. In Chapter Three, I analyse spectator engagement via character, and look at how Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation (2011), Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale (2005) and Nuclear utilise a multi-protagonist structure to create a democracy within the narrative. Through a symbiotic approach to theory and practice and a focus on British middle-class subjects, I have sought to investigate parallel drives within couple and family units and to accomplish a balance between the demands of drama and a desire to describe the everyday.
Supervisor: Kember, Joe ; Dunnigan, Brian Sponsor: University of Exeter ; London Film School
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Screenwriting ; Filmmaking ; Cinema ; Practice Research ; Parenthood ; Selfhood ; Film ; Everyday