Death and the Moving Image: Ideology, Iconography, and 'I'

Research output: Book/ReportBook



This book examines the representation of death and dying in mainstream cinema. Death and the Moving Image reveals the ambivalent place of death in 20th and 21st century culture: the ongoing split between its over- and under-statement, between its cold realities and its fantastical, transcendental and, most importantly, strategic depictions. Our screens are steeped in death's dramatics: in spectacles of glorious sacrifice or bloody retribution, in the ecstasy of agony, but always in the promise of redemption. This book is about the staging of these dramatics in mainstream Western film and the discrepancies that fuel them and are, by return, fuelled by them. Exploring the impact of gender, race, nation or narration upon them, this groundbreaking study isolates how mainstream cinema works to bestow value upon certain lives, and specific socio-cultural identities, in a hierarchical and partisan way. It examines the formal, psychological and political exchange between cinema and death. It is accessible 'before, during, after' structure: of death's presence as narrative promise, physical event and spectatorial reaction. It considers how filmmaking practice or visual medium affect the representation of death and its cultural significance.


Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages272
ISBN (Print)978-0748624430
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014