Advertisement

Act of Violence: Articulating the Spaces of Modernity

  • Nathaniel DeyoEmail author
Chapter
  • 11 Downloads
Part of the Palgrave Close Readings in Film and Television book series (CRFT)

Abstract

In this chapter, I analyze the ways in which Fred Zinnemann’s Act of Violence engages with the spatial and geographic politics of postwar America. Specifically, I analyze its treatment of suburban development and the consequent degradation of older inner cities and urban cores, arguing that the film works to puncture the myth of the suburbs as a bucolic idyll and to challenge the ideological foundations upon which that myth is built. It does so, I argue, by stressing the imbrication of its primary suburban setting within larger spatial and geographic systems, and by revealing repressed histories of violence lying beneath the apparently placid surface of suburban life. In developing this analysis, the chapter also shows how the film anticipates the slasher film cycle of the 1970s and 1980s with respect to both aesthetic and thematic concerns. These arguments are framed within a larger meta-critical discussion that centers on debates around practices of symptomatic reading and other related interpretation strategies in academic cultural studies.

References

  1. Dimendberg, Edward. 2004. Film Noir and the Spaces of Modernity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Felski, Rita. 2015. The Limits of Critique. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Jameson, Fredric. 1991. Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke University Press..Google Scholar
  4. Perkins, V.F. 2005. Where Is the World? The Horizon of Events in Movie Fiction. In Style and Meaning: Studies in the Detailed Analysis of Film, ed. John Gibbs and Douglas Pye, 16–42. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Pye, Douglas. 2007. Movies and Tone. In Close-Up 02, ed. John Gibbs and Douglas Pye. New York: Wallflower Books.Google Scholar
  6. Sobchak, Vivian. [1998] 2016. Lounge Time: Postwar Crises and the Chronotope of Film Noir. In Film Noir Compendium, ed. Alain Silver and James Ursini, 218–248. Milwaukee: Applause Cinema and Theater.Google Scholar
  7. Wood, Robin. [1979] 2004. Introduction to the American Horror Film. In Planks of Reason: Essays on the Horror Film (Revised Edition), ed. Barry Keith Grant and Christopher Sharrett, 107–142. Lanham: The Scarecrow Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

Personalised recommendations