By Frances Pheasant-Kelly
American cinema abounds with motion pictures set in prisons, asylums, hospitals and different associations. instead of orderly areas of restoration and rehabilitation, those institutional settings come to be abject areas of keep an eye on and repression during which grownup identification is threatened as a story impetus. Exploring the abject via concerns as assorted as racism, psychological ailment or the upkeep of our bodies for organ donation, this booklet analyses quite a number movies together with 'The Shawshank Redemption' (1994), 'Full steel Jacket' (1987) and 'Girl, Interrupted' (1999) via to cult movies equivalent to 'Carrie' (1976) and 'Bubba Ho-tep' (2002). via analysing scenes of horror and disgust in the context of abject area, Frances Pheasant-Kelly unearths how threats to identification occur in scenes of torture, horror and psychosexual repression and are resolved both although dying or via stressful re-entry into the surface global. This readable and interesting journey of the abject within the establishment film...
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Extra info for Abject Spaces in American Cinema. Institutional Settings, Identity and Psychoanalysis in Film
Finally, while institution narratives show evidence of a surveillant gaze closely associated with the maintenance of order, this often entails sexual desire. This desire is sometimes homoerotic in nature and usually coupled with sadistic impulses. Such a gaze therefore relates more to Freudian than Foucauldian perspectives. Even where fictional institutions appear to conform to a Foucauldian model, they seem inherently susceptible to disarray and breakdown. Ultimately, therefore, it is possible to consider Foucault’s view of power as a way of ordering disorder.
39 Therefore, while Freud and Foucault may appear incompatible, there is common ground in the way they link control to the pathologicalization of difference. In a sense, Foucault is obsessed with the abject and uses space and hygiene as an attempt to distinguish between normal and other. In short, Foucault rejects the Freudian model of repression but still maintains a concern with systems of order as a mode of ‘containing’ the inherently chaotic. Despite acknowledging parallels between Foucault and Freud, in this book I conclude that, while the films discussed here emphasize Foucault’s ideas on power, in fictional institutions disorder rather than order prevails.
Sometimes this is achieved through seemingly innocuous regimes of drug administration, or often through more radical measures that may involve overt brutality, extended solitary confinement (the ‘hole’ features regularly in prison narratives) or intrusive surveillance. These aspects are important in providing narrative interest to what would otherwise be mundane and highly repetitive scenarios, though at times they may reflect the practices of real institutions. In many ways, the filmic institution assumes a parental role, controlling not only the physical body through drugs and prescribed body movement, but also returning the inmate to an essentially infantile psychosexual state.