The Gulf War Aesthetic? Certain Tendencies in Image, Sound and the Construction of Space in Green Zone and The Hurt Locker

Marshall, Kingsley (2018) The Gulf War Aesthetic? Certain Tendencies in Image, Sound and the Construction of Space in Green Zone and The Hurt Locker. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis argues that the perception of realism and ‘truth’ within narrative feature films set within the Gulf War (1990-1991) and Iraq War (2003-2011) is bound up in other transmedia representations of these conflicts. I identify and define what I describe as the Gulf War Aesthetic, and argue that an understanding of the ‘real life’ of the war film genre through its telling in news reportage, documentary and combatant-originated footage serves as a gateway through which the genre of fictional feature films representing the conflicts and their aftermath is constructed. I argue that the complexity of the Iraq War, coupled with technological shifts in the acquisition and distribution of video and audio through online video-sharing platforms including YouTube, further advanced the Gulf War Aesthetic. I identify The Hurt Locker (Bigelow, 2009) and Green Zone (Greengrass, 2010) as helpful case studies to evidence these changes, and subject both to detailed analysis.

I draw an alignment of the creative practice of film practitioners involved in the case studies with a detailed, intrasoundtrack analysis of the scenes they discuss. In The Hurt Locker, I demonstrate that this presents itself in an unusual unification of film sound with image, where sound recording and design, in addition to the deployment of music, operate to communicate the components of a narrative specific to the story of bomb disposal. I contrast this with Green Zone, where I argue that the Gulf War Aesthetic is limited by the deployment of more conventional characteristics of the war film genre. This analysis reveals that transmedia contexts of production are operating and how new aesthetics are being reified and codified in cinema. I evaluate the subsequent impact of this outside the specific genre of the war film, particularly in terms of a shift in the way in which spectacle is presented.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Bruce Beckett
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2018 13:28
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2020 00:38


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