Starving sons and hungry daughters: A Post-Jungian Analysis of Fatherhood in Contemporary Cinema

Reynolds, Toby (2018) Starving sons and hungry daughters: A Post-Jungian Analysis of Fatherhood in Contemporary Cinema. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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To date, the onscreen father is a relatively under-explored area of cinematic masculinities. Adding to the existing literature on this (e.g. Bruzzi 2005, Hamad 2014), the thesis seeks to explore and analyse the presence and importance of the filmic father. It approaches this by examining the concept of ‘father hunger’, a term popularised by the mytho-poetic men’s movement from the early 1990s that posits that fathers are considered a vital link to the masculine continuum. By using a post-Jungian methodology in analysing how two auteur directors (Sam Mendes and Paul Thomas Anderson) symbolically mediate onscreen representations of father figures and ‘father hunger’ within their films, the thesis offers a new perspective on this area of cinematic masculinities.

Auteur film theory was chosen for the project as one of the functions of the auteur, as held by Staiger (2003), is to act as a conscious analyser of historical and cultural citations; in other words the auteur can present and analyse perspectives on gender, in this case, masculinities and fathers. The auteur also performs a stylistic and signatorial function which meshes with the symbolism analysed by the chosen methodology. By utilising a post-Jungian methodology as a different but equally fruitful psychological perspective, the concepts of archetypes and symbols, via close textual analysis of the films, are found to reveal the depths, complexities and nuances of Mendes and Anderson’s depictions of fathers and of masculinities.

The thesis concludes that by virtue of Anderson and Mendes’ depictions of multi-faceted and polysemous father figures throughout their oeuvres, the auteur is shown to act not only as a conscious analyser, but also as a symbolic mediator of historical and cultural gender citations, in this case of masculinities and masculine identities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Bruce Beckett
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2018 09:00
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 09:00


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