Subjectivity and the fantastic in cinematic representations of totalitarian states
Flemming, Theresa Marie
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Individuals forced to submit to the mechanisms totalitarian states employ to control their citizens find their identities, sense of reality and ability to act threatened. The expressive potentials afforded by the fantastic prove invaluable as they strive to articulate the surreal atmosphere and states of mind manifesting in such environments. Defamiliarized representations of the mundane similarly allow them to “re-enchant” social and physical landscapes against which they have had to protectively anesthetize themselves. This analysis will explore the balance maintained between the mundane and the fantastic that filmmakers develop to portray the living environment and subjective inner life of those experiencing totalitarian rule. Focusing on films that utilize science fiction and magical realism, it will concentrate on the states of consciousness invoked in viewers by these techniques, and experienced by citizens of regimes as they make sense of the forbidden aspects of their natures in a re-imagined space.