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This study examines the structures of dream and reality in surrealist/modernist film from a scientific perspective we term "dual consciousness," a term borrowed from current research in neurophysiology that postulates an asymmetric consciousness corresponding to the right and left cerebral hemispheres. We apply this scientific theory primarily to the films of Luis Bunuel, though we offer extensive examples from a range of modernist artists, including Ingmar Bergman, Nathalie Sarraute, Camus, Fassbinder, Gunter Grass, etc. We offer an in-depth reading of Tristana and Belle de jour by Bunuel. / Our hypothesis states that the surrealist exploration of non-ordinary reality is an exploration of right cerebral-hemisphere processes that facilitate new insights. If the constructed reality of patriarchy is the closed system of acceptable messages in the secondary system we call consciousness, then surreality is seeing beyond that system through the liberation of unconscious, primary-process images in the "aesthetics of silence." Surrealist/modernist film facilitates transcendence of consciousness and the recovery of being through a heightening of the nonverbal, right-hemisphere mind. / The study reviews the most recent literature on cerebral asymmetry and makes links between neurophysiology and psychoanalysis, as well as film theory, especially the recent work by Brian Henderson, A Critique of Film Theory (1980). This review allows us to draw parallels between such right-hemisphere processes as primary-process thinking, gestalt mechanisms, image-dominant input, musical structures, the affective domain, the grasping of part/whole relations in the text, and nonverbal images (visual, tactile, auditory, and kinetic) to surrealist films that heighten those same processes. / The study focused on how modernist film questions the constructed reality of patriarchy through formal and thematic means. In this context, we explored human motivation (the desire to change, to see, etc.) and cognitive functions as these relate to the neurophysiological processes involved in perception in normal and altered states of consciousness. / The approach to solving the problem of how we question reality requires defining reality in terms of a cultural context. Reality, in other words, only has meaning in the context of culture. In the West, the process of reality-testing results in the repression of the potentially autonomous "other" mind, source of expansive emotion and the irrational, primary-process thinking. / We conclude that modernist films involve competing mindstreams that correspond to the left-hemisphere speech track and the right-hemisphere (nonverbal) image track. The former corresponds to what we term the perverse voyeur and the latter to the surreal seer. / The perspective of the perverse voyeur allows the viewer to conserve and habituate the status quo by engaging the mind in stories through verbal dialogue about the fate of characters. The irrational perspective of the surreal seer is compatible with Roland Barthes' zero-degree writing that questions bourgeois reality. Other of Barthes' writings, such as The Pleasures of the Text, reinforce our hypothesis that the surreal seer merges with the text in an erotics of reading that leads to new insights. / Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 42-01, Section: A, page: 0001. / Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Florida State University, 1981.
ContributorsRAMSEY, CYNTHIA., Florida State University
Source SetsFlorida State University
Detected LanguageEnglish
Format431 p.
RightsOn campus use only.
RelationDissertation Abstracts International

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