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Screen architecture: A phenomenology of dread atmospheres in thriller films.

Abuhassan, Lama 2018. Screen architecture: A phenomenology of dread atmospheres in thriller films. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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By looking at thriller films, and establishing their relationship to suspense, my thesis examines the construction of dread atmosphere and how it enables the viewer to become part of that atmosphere. The aim of the thesis is to develop a comprehensive reading of the atmosphere of dread by adopting the approach of phenomenology, and through an investigation and analysis of its definition of the process of embodiment, in order to identify some of the atmospheric corporeal situations in dread spaces that are used to increase the corporeality of the viewer, so as to ultimately reveal the experience of suspense. By doing that, this thesis elaborates on Hanich’s analysis and description of cinematic dread’s atmosphere. The thesis builds a structure of embodiment based on Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception and on the work of other phenomenologists from different fields including film, architecture and video games, to create a framework whereby the viewer’s embodiment with the screen is understood. In addition, it adopts Shīrāzī’s approach of Phenomenal Phenomenology to read a dread scene from the Silence of the Lambs phenomenologically. This reading identified new atmospheric corporeal situations, named as quasi-things in Griffero’s terms, which have not previously been discussed in the context of film under the framework of the phenomenology of text, of transparency and of surveillance. The research found that any situation that is linked with the senses, such as through ‘sensorimotor verbs’ and ‘sensorial transparency’, is experienced more corporeally, consciously, affectively, and eventually increases the sense of embodiment. The researcher extends the conception of these phenomena by means of a horizontal reading of other films to make the observations more objective and generalizable to thrillers in general and the dread atmosphere in specific. The significance of my research lies in making a contribution to the understanding of the kinesthetic experience of cinematic space and to promoting its potential in theorising related arts such as architecture, Virtual Reality, and video games.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Architecture
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cinema; Thriller; Film; Dread Atmosphere; Suspense; Phenomenology; Architecture
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 19 September 2018
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2021 11:13

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