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Maternal Horror Film: Melodrama and Motherhood examines the function of the mother figure in horror film. Using psychoanalytic film theory as well as comparisons with the melodrama film, Arnold investigates the polarized images of monstrous and sacrificing mother.
The Film Handbook examines the current state of filmmaking and how film language, technique and aesthetics are being utilised for today’s ‘digital film’ productions. It reflects on how critical analysis’ of film underpins practice and story, and how developing an autonomous ‘vision’ will best aid student creativity. The Film Handbook offers practical guidance on a range of traditional and independent ‘guerrilla’ film production methods, from developing script ideas and the logistics of planning the shoot to cinematography, sound and directing practices. Film professionals share advice of their creative and practical experiences shooting both on digital and film forms. The Film Handbook relates theory to the filmmaking process and includes: • documentary, narrative and experimental forms, including deliberations on ‘reading the screen’, genre, mise-en-scène, montage, and sound design • new technologies of film production and independent distribution, digital and multi-film formats utilised for indie filmmakers and professional dramas, sound design and music • the short film form, theories of transgressive and independent ‘guerrilla’ filmmaking, the avant-garde and experimental as a means of creative expression • preparing to work in the film industry, development of specialisms as director, producer, cinematographer, editor, and the presentation of creative work.
Noting that motherhood is a common metaphor for film production, Lucy Fischer undertakes the first investigation of how the topic of motherhood presents itself throughout a wide range of film genres. Until now discussions of maternity have focused mainly on melodramas, which, along with musicals and screwball comedies, have traditionally been viewed as "women's" cinema. Fischer defies gender-based classifications to show how motherhood has played a fundamental role in the overall cinematic experience. She argues that motherhood is often treated as a site of crisis--for example, the mother being blamed for the ills afflicting her offspring--then shows the tendency of certain genres to specialize in representing a particular social or psychological dimension in the thematics of maternity. Drawing on social history and various cultural theories, Fischer first looks at Rosemary's Baby to show the prevalence of childbirth themes in horror films. In crime films (White Heat), she sees the linkage of male deviance and mothering. The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and The Guardian, both occult thrillers, uncover cultural anxieties about working mothers. Her discussion covers burlesques of male mothering, feminist documentaries on the mother-daughter relationship, trick films dealing with procreative metaphors, and postmodern films like High Heels, where fluid sexuality is the theme. These films tend to treat motherhood as a locus of irredeemable conflict, whereas History and Memory and High Tide propose a more sanguine, dynamic, and enabling view. Originally published in 1996. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
First collection of essays on cinematic motherhood.
The image of a heavily pregnant woman, once considered ugly and indecent, is now common to Hollywood film. No longer is pregnancy a repulsive of shameful condition, but an attractive attribute, often enhancing the romantic or comedic storyline of a female protagonist. Kelly Oliver investigates this curious shift and its reflection of changing attitudes toward women’s roles in reproduction and the family. Yet not all representations signify progress. Oliver finds that in many pregnancy films, whether romantic, comedic, or horrific, our anxieties over modern reproductive practices and technologies are made manifest, and in some instances perpetuate conventions that curtail women’s freedom. From the mid-nineteenth to the late-twentieth century, pregnancy was treated as a medical condition to be hidden from view. Even prior to the medicalization of pregnancy, the pregnant body was considered a private affair. Now sexy and spectacular, pregnancy has discovered new meaning and potency under the Hollywood gaze, reorienting our understanding of conception, sexual attraction, birth, motherhood, and the making of family. Reading such films as Where the Heart Is (2000), Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), Palindromes (2004), Saved! (2004), Quinceañera (2006), Children of Men (2006), Knocked Up (2007), Juno (2007), Baby Mama (2008), Away We Go (2009), Precious (2009), The Back-up Plan (2010), Due Date (2010), and Twilight: Breaking Dawn (2011), exploring pregnancy as a vehicle for romance, a political issue of “choice,” a representation of the hosting of “others,” a prism for fears of miscegenation, and a screen for modern technological anxieties, Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down is the only book devoted to the portrayal of pregnant women in society and film and its implications for women’s social, sexual, and political future.
In Mildred Pierce, I explore gender performance. Mildred performs masculinity and femininity depending on whether she is in the public or private sphere. Imitation of Life takes the lead on alternative kinship. The film illustrates how two single mothers create a economically viable non-heteronormative interracial family. I conclude with The Exorcist and the possibility that the mother and child do not need to separate like Stella and Laurel. The Exorcist challenges what has long been considered a necessary process. This is the only film that successfully keeps mother and child united. I believe this project draws attention to the lack of analysis of single mothers in American film, but more importantly, it makes us rethink motherhood. The single mother privileges a certain approach to gender performance, familial structure, and mother-child separation that feminist theory and film studies have overlooked. This approach includes a masculine gender performance to perform as a father, disrupting the heteronormative familial structure to make it work for them, and mothers maintaining a relationship with their adolescent daughters.
Since the 1990s, when Reviving Ophelia became a best seller and "Girl Power" a familiar anthem, girls have assumed new visibility in the culture. Yet in asserting their new power, young women have redefined femininity in ways that have often mystified their mothers. They have also largely disavowed feminism, even though their new influence is a likely legacy of feminism's Second Wave. At the same time, popular culture has persisted in idealizing, demonizing, or simply erasing mothers, rarely depicting them in strong and loving relationships with their daughters. Unruly Girls, Unrepentent Mothers, a companion to Kathleen Rowe Karlyn's groundbreaking work, The Unruly Woman, studies the ways popular culture and current debates within and about feminism inform each other. Surveying a range of films and television shows that have defined girls in the postfeminist era—from Titanic and My So-Called Life to Scream and The Devil Wears Prada, and from Love and Basketball to Ugly Betty—Karlyn explores the ways class, race, and generational conflicts have shaped both Girl Culture and feminism's Third Wave. Tying feminism's internal conflicts to negative attitudes toward mothers in the social world, she asks whether today's seemingly materialistic and apolitical girls, inspired by such real and fictional figures as the Spice Girls and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, have turned their backs on the feminism of their mothers or are redefining unruliness for a new age.

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