Abject Spaces in American Cinema: Institutional Settings, by Frances Pheasant-Kelly

By Frances Pheasant-Kelly

American cinema abounds with motion pictures set in prisons, asylums, hospitals and different associations. instead of orderly areas of restoration and rehabilitation, those institutional settings come to be abject areas of keep watch over and repression within which grownup identification is threatened as a story impetus. Exploring the abject via concerns as varied as racism, psychological ailment or the maintenance of our bodies for organ donation, this ebook analyses quite a number movies together with 'The Shawshank Redemption' (1994), 'Full steel Jacket' (1987) and 'Girl, Interrupted' (1999) via to cult movies comparable to 'Carrie' (1976) and 'Bubba Ho-tep' (2002). via studying scenes of horror and disgust in the context of abject house, Frances Pheasant-Kelly finds how threats to identification happen in scenes of torture, horror and psychosexual repression and are resolved both although dying or via tense re-entry into the skin global. This readable and interesting journey of the abject within the establishment movie may be immensely priceless to scholars of movie reviews, serious concept and Cultural Studies.

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For example, in the opening sequence she is at the back of the volleyball court, in class she sits at the rear, and at the prom she is positioned at the outer edges. These spatial scenarios therefore seem to correlate with a lack of ego. Most of the spaces in the school are highly regulated. Typically, classroom scenes show desks in orderly rows, while on the athletics field, the authoritarian Miss Collins enforces a rigid physical discipline as she choreographs and coordinates the girls’ bodies during fitness sessions.

Bodily regulation therefore concerns not only suppressing links with function, but also with food intake and exercise. Gail Weiss12 links these two aspects via her discussion of anorexia, which, in the female, controls body image and simultaneously negates menstruation. It is with the regulation of the ‘lower body stratum’ that Carrie is concerned, while Full Metal Jacket and Remember the Titans explore the articulation and mastery of the physical body in space. In this part, therefore, I examine three different types of training institution – that concerned with education and the social control of the body; sport and the physical development and control of the body; and the precise ordering typical of the military institution.

Margaret White’s comment to Carrie that ‘after the blood come the boys, like dogs, trying to find out where that smell comes from’, again lends 35 ABJECT SPACES IN AMERICAN CINEMA support to Creed’s claim of the abject feminine body. Carrie’s highly feminized and angelic appearance, however, discounts her as monstrous. Moreover, the pairing of Carrie with Tommy Ross, who is blond, romantic and similarly angelic in appearance, is antithetical to the cruel and barbaric, dark-haired Billy Nolan and the sexually aggressive Chris Hargenson.

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