Space in Contemporary Cinema

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  • Title: Space in Contemporary Cinema: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Manchester by the Sea, and The Shape of Water
  • Author(s): Abu Haque
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Communication and Media Studies
  • Journal Title: The Journal of Communication and Media Studies
  • Keywords: Cinematic Space, Dominant Discourse, Marginality, Social Space, Representation
  • Volume: 4
  • Issue: 1
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2470-9247 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2470-9255 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2470-9247/CGP/v04i01/23-31
  • Citation: Haque, Abu. 2019. "Space in Contemporary Cinema: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Manchester by the Sea, and The Shape of Water." The Journal of Communication and Media Studies 4 (1): 23-31. doi:10.18848/2470-9247/CGP/v04i01/23-31.
  • Extent: 9 pages

Abstract

The article explores the cinematic spaces in contemporary American film in relation to the triad of spatial practices, representations of space, and representational spaces produced through a variety of exclusions. These exclusions reproduce the dominant discourse. Visual analysis of three contemporary films explores how spaces conceived in cinema (spaces produced through the process of filmmaking) deviate from the social practices of divergent groups within these spaces. The production of these cinematic spaces does not correspond with the lived experience of the margin, as they reinforce racial and gender biases to reproduce the dominant ideologies. The production of the “New South” within these cinematic spaces is reminiscent of the idyllic antebellum South. The representational spaces of these films also conceal the hegemonic power relations between the dominant form of representation and the margin. These spaces re-create the dominant discourse, which are seldom challenged by alternative representations. The production of these representations brings in the ambiguous spaces of heterotopias and in-betweens such as bars, washrooms, city streets and alleys, graveyards, and the fantasmatic, all of which reify the dominant discourse through cinematic narratives.