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Title: On the edge of one’s seat : the phenomena of madness in cinema.
Authors: Lim, Ruth Fang Hui.
Keywords: DRNTU::Humanities::Literature::English
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: The term madness has conceived many definitions, both scientific and social, and has been used in various ages and cultures to differentiate the sane from the insane. As described by German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, there is madness in almost any form of social or political construct across the ages. Over time, the cinematic theatre has been used as a medium in capturing and presenting the performance of madness on screen and one recurring symptom of madness in Hollywood blockbusters and psychological thrillers is that of psychosis. In the study of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (2008) and Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island (2010), both films raise the question of who is locked in and who is locked out? Would it make society anymore sane by labeling and exiling madmen? How does cinema facilitate the performance of madness on screen and in the cinematic theatre? This paper will posit the cinema as a site of the performance of madness in conjunction with the study of clinical psychiatry’s definition of madness as an idea as compared to the understanding of madness as a representation of the social condition. On the one hand, the idea and representation of madness is being performed for the spectator on screen. On the other hand, the spectator witnesses the performance of madness within a safe distance from the screen in an enclosed space of the cinematic theatre; similar to a ‘safe’, ‘controlled’ environment (i.e. the asylum).
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:HSS Student Reports (FYP/IA/PA/PI)

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