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postgraduate thesis: Towards a cinema of contemplation: Roy Andersson's aesthetics and ethics

TitleTowards a cinema of contemplation: Roy Andersson's aesthetics and ethics
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Cheung, EMK
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Yang, J. Q. M. [楊秋凌]. (2013). Towards a cinema of contemplation : Roy Andersson's aesthetics and ethics. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5016281
AbstractConsidered one of Northern Europe’s most renowned art film directors to date, Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson has been hailed by critics and art cinemagoers alike for his unconventional visual and narrative style. Marked by his use of long, static shots filmed in wide-angle and deep focus, Andersson’s “tableau aesthetic” is intimately linked to his idea that films, like other art forms, can have an important function in contemporary society: to provoke social and moral awareness in its audience. Aiming to counter what he considers a “fear of seriousness” and a dearth of critical contemplation in modern society and media, Andersson uses his films and his distinct tableau aesthetic to explore the key social, political and philosophical issues of our times: the human condition, the problems of modernity, and the lingering legacy of past historical traumas. This dissertation presents a study of Andersson’s aesthetic and thematic concerns. The central thesis is that his films continue and innovate key stylistic and ideological tendencies associated with modernist painting and theatre. The introductory chapter serves to justify why Andersson’s work represents a “modernist structure of feeling.” Besides giving an overview of the key ideas, themes and stylistic techniques that mark his films, the introduction explains the humanistic philosophy that is central to not only his aesthetic and thematic concerns, but also his approach to filmmaking itself. The topics that emerge from this introduction – including the function of Andersson’s distinct tableau aesthetic, the thematic richness of his films, and his position within contemporary Nordic cinema and global art cinema – serve as points of departure for the thesis proper. Chapter 1 focuses on Andersson’s tableau aesthetic, its relationship to his overall tableaux narrative structure, and the influences of pictorial arts and earlier cinematic trends on his style. The chapter discusses the director’s justification for the tableau aesthetic and narrative structure, and what it may tell us about the limits of conventional narrative cinema, and cinema’s relationship to the other arts. Chapters 2-4 explore three of the central themes in Andersson’s work: the human condition, the critique of modernity, and the lingering legacy of past historical traumas. Chapter 2 focuses on the human condition as a theme in You, the Living (Du Levande, 2007) and compares the film thematically and stylistically to the Theatre of the Absurd. Chapter 3 analyzes Songs from the Second Floor (Sånger från andra våningen, 2000) and its critique of the Swedish welfare state, modern institutions and ideologies. Meanwhile, Chapter 4 looks at the changing ways that Andersson has artistically rendered the topic of historical traumas during the course of his career. In the concluding chapter, Andersson and his films are discussed within the wider contexts of the Swedish film industry and global art cinema. This dissertation, then, has a two-fold aim: to illuminate the thematic and stylistic richness of Andersson’s much under-researched films, while also critically exploring how his films may move us towards a cinema of contemplation.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectMotion pictures - Aesthetics.
Motion pictures - Moral and ethical aspects.
Dept/ProgramComparative Literature

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorCheung, EMK-
dc.contributor.authorYang, Julianne Qiuling Ma.-
dc.contributor.author楊秋凌.-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationYang, J. Q. M. [楊秋凌]. (2013). Towards a cinema of contemplation : Roy Andersson's aesthetics and ethics. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5016281-
dc.description.abstractConsidered one of Northern Europe’s most renowned art film directors to date, Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson has been hailed by critics and art cinemagoers alike for his unconventional visual and narrative style. Marked by his use of long, static shots filmed in wide-angle and deep focus, Andersson’s “tableau aesthetic” is intimately linked to his idea that films, like other art forms, can have an important function in contemporary society: to provoke social and moral awareness in its audience. Aiming to counter what he considers a “fear of seriousness” and a dearth of critical contemplation in modern society and media, Andersson uses his films and his distinct tableau aesthetic to explore the key social, political and philosophical issues of our times: the human condition, the problems of modernity, and the lingering legacy of past historical traumas. This dissertation presents a study of Andersson’s aesthetic and thematic concerns. The central thesis is that his films continue and innovate key stylistic and ideological tendencies associated with modernist painting and theatre. The introductory chapter serves to justify why Andersson’s work represents a “modernist structure of feeling.” Besides giving an overview of the key ideas, themes and stylistic techniques that mark his films, the introduction explains the humanistic philosophy that is central to not only his aesthetic and thematic concerns, but also his approach to filmmaking itself. The topics that emerge from this introduction – including the function of Andersson’s distinct tableau aesthetic, the thematic richness of his films, and his position within contemporary Nordic cinema and global art cinema – serve as points of departure for the thesis proper. Chapter 1 focuses on Andersson’s tableau aesthetic, its relationship to his overall tableaux narrative structure, and the influences of pictorial arts and earlier cinematic trends on his style. The chapter discusses the director’s justification for the tableau aesthetic and narrative structure, and what it may tell us about the limits of conventional narrative cinema, and cinema’s relationship to the other arts. Chapters 2-4 explore three of the central themes in Andersson’s work: the human condition, the critique of modernity, and the lingering legacy of past historical traumas. Chapter 2 focuses on the human condition as a theme in You, the Living (Du Levande, 2007) and compares the film thematically and stylistically to the Theatre of the Absurd. Chapter 3 analyzes Songs from the Second Floor (Sånger från andra våningen, 2000) and its critique of the Swedish welfare state, modern institutions and ideologies. Meanwhile, Chapter 4 looks at the changing ways that Andersson has artistically rendered the topic of historical traumas during the course of his career. In the concluding chapter, Andersson and his films are discussed within the wider contexts of the Swedish film industry and global art cinema. This dissertation, then, has a two-fold aim: to illuminate the thematic and stylistic richness of Andersson’s much under-researched films, while also critically exploring how his films may move us towards a cinema of contemplation.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B50162810-
dc.subject.lcshMotion pictures - Aesthetics.-
dc.subject.lcshMotion pictures - Moral and ethical aspects.-
dc.titleTowards a cinema of contemplation: Roy Andersson's aesthetics and ethics-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5016281-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineComparative Literature-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5016281-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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