Den gamle och filmen: Om den nya generationen äldre och dess plats i det cinematiska rummet. En representationsstudie
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
The Old Man and the (C)inema (English)
Within the field of cinema studies, the question of visual representation is a fundamental pillar. An immense volume of theoretical work has been written on the subject, with various academic approaches such as feministic, postcolonial and gay/lesbian. Yet there is a large social group that seems to have been overlooked within the representational discourse: the elderly. This group of people appears to be a blind spot on the multicultural retina, too often neglected within the area of cultural studies. But as the baby boomer generation, who has always redefined the different stages of life (youth, adulthood, middle age), is entering old age, things are slowly changing. Utilizing a post-structural framework, this essay investigates the visual representation of elderly within the cinematic landscape of the western world. Since the subject is somewhat uncharted territory, a broad interdisciplinary approach is necessary where modern social gerontology meets the field of cinema studies. In a cultural context, social grouping based on age implies a distinct position versus the normative, compare to other types of minorities. Changes of sex, skin colour or sexual preference are uncommon, whereas changing age is the fate of every human being. The elderly as the “the Other” is thus every man’s future destiny. This rather unique position carries an immanent paradox since the only way to avoid the periphery in question is death. As a philosophical counterpoint to this rather dystopian outlook, Gilles Deleuze’s theory of becoming is brought into the discussion. The theoretical part of the essay ends with the ontology of age, a historical review of the field of gerontology and the concept of ageism. After a descriptive section, where contemporary examples of film and other media with old age as a main theme are identified, the analytical part of the essay ensues. With the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu as a theoretical frame of reference, a close reading of the films Avalon (Axel Petersén, 2011), About Schmidt (Alexander Payne, 2002) and RED (Robert Schwentke, 2010) are performed, emphasising aging identity and imposed age-normative behaviour. The semiotics of the aged body is discussed through Jacques Lacans mirror stage and Julia Kristevas abject theory, exemplified by the works of Donigan Cumming. The final part of the essay concerns the great eternal questions within film philosophy: life, death, time and memory, which for the elderly are not merely philosophical concerns but rather notable existential realities. Using Deleuze as a philosophical toolbox, these grand topics are illuminated with examples from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher, 2008), Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012) and Ingmar Bergmans classical works, such as Smultronstället (1957), Saraband (2003) and Gycklarnas afton (1953).
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 55 p.
Cinema studies, film theory, post-structuralism, representation, ageism, old age, normativity, aging identity, Gilles Deleuze, Julia Kristeva, abject, Pierre Bourdieu, Michael Haneke, Ingmar Bergman
Film, filmvetenskap, poststrukturalism, representation, ålderism, ålderdom, identitet, normativitet, Gilles Deleuze, Julia Kristeva, abjekt, Pierre Bourdieu, Michael Haneke, Ingmar Bergman
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified Studies on Film
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87384OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-87384DiVA: diva2:603128
2013-01-18, Seminarierum 1, IMS, Filmhuset, Borgvägen 1-5, Stockholm, 09:30 (Swedish)
Koskinen, Maaret, Professor
Koskinen, Maaret, Professor