Growing Old at the Movies: Cinema-Going As Spatialised Embodied Practice

Cochrane, Berry (2008). Growing Old at the Movies: Cinema-Going As Spatialised Embodied Practice. MRes thesis The Open University.



In film studies and the geography of film the convention of prioritising the film text as object of analysis has resulted in understandings of cinematic representation that rely on films being a somewhat stable entity with a fixed meaning. Recently both fields have begun to consider the material context of film-viewing alongside the body’s role in our understanding of film texts and the value of abstracted film analyses is being questioned.

Engaging with gerontology and drawing on empirical work with women who attend matinees for the over-60s, this dissertation explores how understanding cinema-going as a spatialised embodied practice might impact on conventional understandings of the politics of cinematic representation.

Working through Bourdieu’s theoretical framework, supplemented by the adoption of the go-along as method, the meaning of the body in the audience comes to be seen as existing in a co-constitutive relationship with the architecture of the cinema and the film on the screen. Film is seen as becoming cinema via the spectatorial body, requiring a more reflexive and situated approach to film analysis in which the politics of cinematic representation are acknowledged as fluid and (re)negotiated in the moment of cinema-going as practice.

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