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Medvetet/omedvetet och filmberättande : en studie i Akira Kurosawas film Sju samurajer

Wernström, Göran (1996)
Abstract
A close reading of Akira Kurosawa's film <i>Seven Samurai</i> (1954), constitutes the core of this dissertation. The hermeneutic method worked out by Fredric Jameson in <i>The Political Unconscious. Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act</i> (1981), is applied.

An argument is developed to the effect that Kurosawa's much reputed humanism is shown to have its main source, not in the Western philosophical tradition such as existentialism - in vogue at the time the film was made - but rather in a certain Neo-Confucianist tradition labelled Yomeigaku (the Japanese word for it). In addition, a Marxist penchant for classlessness is inscribed in <i>Seven Samurai</i>. By way of Jameson's method is shown -... (More)
A close reading of Akira Kurosawa's film <i>Seven Samurai</i> (1954), constitutes the core of this dissertation. The hermeneutic method worked out by Fredric Jameson in <i>The Political Unconscious. Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act</i> (1981), is applied.

An argument is developed to the effect that Kurosawa's much reputed humanism is shown to have its main source, not in the Western philosophical tradition such as existentialism - in vogue at the time the film was made - but rather in a certain Neo-Confucianist tradition labelled Yomeigaku (the Japanese word for it). In addition, a Marxist penchant for classlessness is inscribed in <i>Seven Samurai</i>. By way of Jameson's method is shown - through repeated readings of the film - that an intentional drive illogically strives to amalgamate these two incompatible social values. This impossible wish can only be achieved symbolically. The analysis demonstrates that the film performs this socially symbolic act - its political unconscious. Jameson's hermeneutics distinguish between three levels, or horizons, of interpretation. The first part of the dissertation accomplishes an interpretation of the film according to the requirements of the first two horizons.



Part II deals with the third horizon which involves a close scrutiny of the complexity of the film's form. <i>Seven Samurai</i> is shown to harbour formal qualities derived from several sources such as western realism and melodrama, aesthetic elements from Japan's traditional arts etc. The analysis concludes that although the film appears to narrate in the smooth classical Hollywood tradition, its <i>Darstellung</i> is, in effect, of a very heterogeneous kind. This finding is consistent with the demand that Jameson's third horizon makes.



Part III offers a psychoanalytical exploration of the film; therefore it does not apply Fredric Jameson's hermeneutics. Methodologically an analysis of the film text is achieved. Thierry Kuntzels psychoanalytical approach in his interpretation,of <i>The Most Dangerous Game</i>, accounted for in an essay of his, "Film-Work 2", serves as a model. This model is combined with a comparative study involving a symptomatology derived from Karon and VandenBos' book <i>Psychotherapy and Schizophrenia.</i> It is demonstrated that this symptomatology is inscribed in the film. Finally, the analysis applies Jameson's dialectical use of A. J. Greimas' semiotic rectangle; now in a different psychosexual, context. This alternative application demonstrates that the film text in <i>Seven Samurai</i> not only performs a socially symbolic act but also a psychosexually symbolic one. The film has difficulties in achieving both acts to the full. This finding contributes to an understanding of the reason why the film's ending is indeterminate.



Finally, the form of the political fantasy in the film is claimed to be influenced by a certain kind of psychosexual strategy of defence. Whether or not this means a problematization/complication regarding Jameson's position that the social or the political is the most fundamental drive propelling narratives is a question this dissertation leaves open. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • unknown], [unknown
alternative title
Conscious/Unconscious and Film Narrative. A Study in Akira Kurosawa's Film Seven Samurai
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
literature criticism, neoconfucianism, literary theory, Political unconscious, psychosexual unconscious, litteraturkritik, Allmän och jämförande litteratur, litteraturteori, General and comparative literature
pages
350 pages
defense location
Hörsalen, Humanisthuset, Lund
defense date
1996-12-14 13:00
external identifiers
  • Other:ISRN: LUHFDA/HFLI--96/1047--SE 350 pp
ISBN
91-628-2240-3
language
Swedish
LU publication?
no
id
d680c9d8-c34f-4f81-819f-eb50f814a26d (old id 17764)
date added to LUP
2007-05-24 10:50:33
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:18
@misc{d680c9d8-c34f-4f81-819f-eb50f814a26d,
  abstract     = {A close reading of Akira Kurosawa's film &lt;i&gt;Seven Samurai&lt;/i&gt; (1954), constitutes the core of this dissertation. The hermeneutic method worked out by Fredric Jameson in &lt;i&gt;The Political Unconscious. Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act&lt;/i&gt; (1981), is applied.<br/><br>
An argument is developed to the effect that Kurosawa's much reputed humanism is shown to have its main source, not in the Western philosophical tradition such as existentialism - in vogue at the time the film was made - but rather in a certain Neo-Confucianist tradition labelled Yomeigaku (the Japanese word for it). In addition, a Marxist penchant for classlessness is inscribed in &lt;i&gt;Seven Samurai&lt;/i&gt;. By way of Jameson's method is shown - through repeated readings of the film - that an intentional drive illogically strives to amalgamate these two incompatible social values. This impossible wish can only be achieved symbolically. The analysis demonstrates that the film performs this socially symbolic act - its political unconscious. Jameson's hermeneutics distinguish between three levels, or horizons, of interpretation. The first part of the dissertation accomplishes an interpretation of the film according to the requirements of the first two horizons.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Part II deals with the third horizon which involves a close scrutiny of the complexity of the film's form. &lt;i&gt;Seven Samurai&lt;/i&gt; is shown to harbour formal qualities derived from several sources such as western realism and melodrama, aesthetic elements from Japan's traditional arts etc. The analysis concludes that although the film appears to narrate in the smooth classical Hollywood tradition, its &lt;i&gt;Darstellung&lt;/i&gt; is, in effect, of a very heterogeneous kind. This finding is consistent with the demand that Jameson's third horizon makes.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Part III offers a psychoanalytical exploration of the film; therefore it does not apply Fredric Jameson's hermeneutics. Methodologically an analysis of the film text is achieved. Thierry Kuntzels psychoanalytical approach in his interpretation,of &lt;i&gt;The Most Dangerous Game&lt;/i&gt;, accounted for in an essay of his, "Film-Work 2", serves as a model. This model is combined with a comparative study involving a symptomatology derived from Karon and VandenBos' book &lt;i&gt;Psychotherapy and Schizophrenia.&lt;/i&gt; It is demonstrated that this symptomatology is inscribed in the film. Finally, the analysis applies Jameson's dialectical use of A. J. Greimas' semiotic rectangle; now in a different psychosexual, context. This alternative application demonstrates that the film text in &lt;i&gt;Seven Samurai&lt;/i&gt; not only performs a socially symbolic act but also a psychosexually symbolic one. The film has difficulties in achieving both acts to the full. This finding contributes to an understanding of the reason why the film's ending is indeterminate.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Finally, the form of the political fantasy in the film is claimed to be influenced by a certain kind of psychosexual strategy of defence. Whether or not this means a problematization/complication regarding Jameson's position that the social or the political is the most fundamental drive propelling narratives is a question this dissertation leaves open.},
  author       = {Wernström, Göran},
  isbn         = {91-628-2240-3},
  keyword      = {literature criticism,neoconfucianism,literary theory,Political unconscious,psychosexual unconscious,litteraturkritik,Allmän och jämförande litteratur,litteraturteori,General and comparative literature},
  language     = {swe},
  pages        = {350},
  title        = {Medvetet/omedvetet och filmberättande : en studie i Akira Kurosawas film Sju samurajer},
  year         = {1996},
}