Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.770373
Title: Agency in contemporary German cinema : Tykwer, Akın and Petzold
Author: Burt, Sophie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 3254
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
This thesis demonstrates that an interest in human agency is a significant trend in contemporary German cinema. It includes analyses of Tom Tykwer's Heaven (2002) and The International (2009), Fatih Akın's Gegen die Wand (2004) and Auf der anderen Seite (2007) and Christian Petzold's Barbara (2012) and Phoenix (2014), which illustrate that these three directors, who belong to different traditions in German cinema, have a focus on agency in common. A theoretical framework primarily made up of scholarship by Michel Foucault, Michel de Certeau, John Fiske and Laura Mulvey illuminates the portrayals of human control in the films. Tykwer, Akın and Petzold share a sense, also articulated in post-structuralist theory and theory which followed it, of the considerable limitations on human agency, which the three filmmakers work into their films for their characters to grapple with. I show that these filmmakers are investigating how individuals can be agents within this context. The agency which is available to the characters in the films is personal rather than political, but the narratives are situated in political milieus, which complicates the idea of contemporary cinema simply turning towards the personal. Five of the films portray a mixture of scope for action and constraint, whereas The International paints a more pessimistic picture of agency, but illustrates the problems with such a negative portrayal, and problems that filmmakers must deal with when representing human control. This thesis addresses the question of how agency is portrayed in the filmic medium, illustrating how space and place, the gaze, the human body and characters' appearances more widely are used to convey the phenomenon visually.
Supervisor: Morgan, Ben Sponsor: 1379 Society Old Members Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.770373  DOI: Not available
Keywords: tykwer ; Akin ; Free will and determinism ; contemporary german cinema ; petzold
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