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Women and home in cinema: film practice and gendered spaces

Radinger Field, L. (2021) Women and home in cinema: film practice and gendered spaces. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00101682


This thesis investigates how domestic space is represented in ten films released between 1936 and 2013 in which the woman in the home is placed at the heart of the drama. It examines how material structures are reconfigured into onscreen spaces which are full of expressivity and imbued with meaning. To understand how filmmakers achieve these spatial transformations, the thesis focuses on four material processes: découpage, mise-en-scène, sound and editing. Each chapter covers one of these cinematic ‘building blocks’ and discusses how it is used to reshape domestic space in two contrasting films. As each filmmaking process is clarified, its related critical theory is challenged and reassessed. The figure of a woman in a house is familiar, culturally as well as cinematically. These films take this trope as their starting point and subject it to a series of provocations, manipulations, and mutations. As well as written close analysis, the thesis contains an element of practice as research. A video essay made with found footage from all ten films was presented as a three-screen installation. This work is reflected upon in the thesis, and the theoretical potential of videographic practice as a tool in film studies is discussed. An online link to the installation, reconfigured as a video essay, is an integral part of this thesis. The films show home as both a material and an imaginative space, organised and shaped by the interiority of its inhabitants. Sometimes the home is a magical space warped by unconscious drives. At others, it is an everyday space which follows spatial logic. Yet even in these apparently more transparent texts, psychic drives and emotional urgencies are played out spatially. Drawing upon spatial and feminist film theory, the thesis aims to offer a fresh commentary into how the home is represented onscreen.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Butler, A. and Gibbs, J.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Film, Theatre & Television
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:101682


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