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What seems like closure might be something more, as Catherine Russell shows us in this book about death in narrative cinema since the 1950s. Analyzing the structural importance of death in narrative endings, as well as the thematics of loss and redemption, Russell identifies mortality as a valuable critical tool for understanding the cinema of the second half of the twentieth century. Her work includes close textual readings of films by Fritz Lang, Wim Wenders, Oshima Nagisa, Jean-Luc Godard, and Robert Altman, among others. In these analyses, Russell reveals an uneasy relationship between death and closure, which she traces to anxieties about identity, gender, and national-cultural myths, and also to the persistence of desire. Drawing on the work of Walter Benjamin, she shows us death as a fundamentally allegorical structure in cinema - and as a potential sign of historical difference, with crucial implications for theories of film narrative and spectatorship. "Narrative Mortality" provides an insight into the dynamics of postmodern cinema as it emerged from the modernist preoccupation with existential mortality. By tracing the role of death from a work that precedes the Brechtian cinema of the 60s ("Beyond a reasonable doubt") to several that succeed it ("Nashville", "The State of things"), the book expands the narrative project of new wave cinema and ushers it onto a broad historical plane.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780816624867
ISBN-10: 0816624860
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 156mm x 15mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: University of Minnesota Press
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publish Date: 9-Dec-1994
Country of Publication: United States

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