Abject Spaces in American Cinema: Institutional Settings, by Frances Pheasant-Kelly

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 come to be abject areas of keep an eye on and repression within which grownup identification is threatened as a story impetus. Exploring the abject via concerns as various as racism, psychological sickness or the maintenance of our bodies for organ donation, this ebook analyses a variety of motion pictures together with 'The Shawshank Redemption' (1994), 'Full steel Jacket' (1987) and 'Girl, Interrupted' (1999) via to cult movies similar to 'Carrie' (1976) and 'Bubba Ho-tep' (2002). by way of reading scenes of horror and disgust in the context of abject house, Frances Pheasant-Kelly unearths how threats to identification happen in scenes of torture, horror and psychosexual repression and are resolved both even though loss of life or via worrying re-entry into the surface international. This readable and interesting travel of the abject within the establishment movie can be immensely precious to scholars of movie reviews, serious idea and Cultural Studies.

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In the earlier part of the film the clear divisions of space are expressed socially, culturally and cinematographically. Eventually, under Boone’s direction and discipline, the team learns to overcome racial difference and accept each other. The integration of ethnic groups through sport leads not only to harmonious friendships but also to positive and inspirational experiences. In Remember the Titans this extends to improved community relations and, in the final frames, to the representation 47 ABJECT SPACES IN AMERICAN CINEMA of black and white Americans as one family.

The other students recoil in disgust and then symbolically stone Carrie with sanitary products, shouting, ‘plug it up, plug it up’, while Carrie, appearing unaware of the process of menstruation, cries hysterically. Creed notes the stoning metaphor,24 which supports her view of Carrie as a monstrous witch. Furthermore, Carrie’s supernatural capability, signalled by the shattering of a light overhead, parallels the onset of her menstruation. The shattering of the light transforms the dream-like quality of the locker room into a harsh reality, with its disorderliness exacerbated by Carrie’s telekinetic display.

Any aberration of the physical or social body is seen as deviant and other. While spaces of order are associated with the school, and often men (the classroom and the headmaster’s office), spaces of disorder relate to femininity (the prom, the shower scene and the Whites’ house), best exemplified by the locker room scene. Here, slow motion cinematography and a highly unstructured mise-en-scène signify disorderliness. Towels and clothing appear to float randomly through the air and bodies are etherealized and nymph like.

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