By Frances Pheasant-Kelly
American cinema abounds with motion pictures set in prisons, asylums, hospitals and different associations. instead of orderly locations of restoration and rehabilitation, those institutional settings turn out to be abject areas of regulate and repression within which grownup id is threatened as a story impetus. Exploring the abject via concerns as assorted as racism, psychological affliction or the renovation of our bodies for organ donation, this publication analyses a variety of movies together with 'The Shawshank Redemption' (1994), 'Full steel Jacket' (1987) and 'Girl, Interrupted' (1999) via to cult motion pictures resembling 'Carrie' (1976) and 'Bubba Ho-tep' (2002). by way of analysing scenes of horror and disgust in the context of abject house, Frances Pheasant-Kelly unearths how threats to identification take place in scenes of torture, horror and psychosexual repression and are resolved both even though loss of life or via hectic re-entry into the skin international. This readable and fascinating travel of the abject within the establishment film...
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Additional resources for Abject Spaces in American Cinema. Institutional Settings, Identity and Psychoanalysis in Film
Because the threat to subjectivity is a significant feature of the ‘institution film’, both through exclusion from society and through restrictions to personal space, dress, sexuality and behaviour, it is an appropriate context in which to consider space as abject. Fundamental to the institution film and the concept of abjection is the boundary. Boundaries are important to any spatial analysis but are particularly salient to the development of subjectivity, having socio-cultural as well as psychosexual implications.
Two separate and opposing institutions, the home and school, thus govern Carrie. 17 Carrie’s mother, on the other hand, encourages Carrie to repress any signs of adult desire or bodily function. Therefore, while the film does not display the overt control and physical domination associated with total institutions, such as the prison, it demonstrates a suppression of adult sexuality within the domestic sphere. Furthermore, Carrie’s mother is reluctant to allow her to socialize with other students, forbids her from attending the prom, and forces her to pray for atonement for her ‘sins’.
However, Kristeva’s theory has a broader focus on notions of boundary formation. The boundary for her takes account of such diverse subjects as the deviant mind, the borderline personality, the decay of flesh and childbirth. Further, Kristeva’s demarcation of maternal abjection depends on a distinction between what she terms semiotic and symbolic forms, best exemplified through the acquisition of language. According to Kristeva, the semiotic refers to the early stages of the maternal world and the symbolic to the paternal sphere.
Abject Spaces in American Cinema. Institutional Settings, Identity and Psychoanalysis in Film by Frances Pheasant-Kelly