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The power of story and ecological consciousness : five twentieth-century films


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Jenkins, M 2000 , 'The power of story and ecological consciousness : five twentieth-century films', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This interdisciplinary thesis explores ecological issues and values in relation
to five films and associated literature, thereby including film as an extension
of the recently consolidated field of ecocriticism, also known as ecological
literary (or film) criticism.
The main purpose of the thesis is to highlight the ways in which stories,
particularly filmic stories, affect our culture and our ecology. The five
films examined in the thesis, The Crucible, Oscar and Lucinda, The Piano,
Jesus of Montreal, and Blade Runner, are mainstream but they do not
necessarily reflect Hollywood mainstream values. Any work, fiction or
non-fiction, novel or film, may be viewed through the prism of ecocriticism,
but the denser, more layered and intertextual a film, the greater the
opportunity it provides for the study of ecological issues and values.
Biblical stories encompass the life cycle of humanity and are major sources
of material in mythology, literature, and film, all of which have a powerful
effect on our society, our culture, and our understanding of the world in
which we live. Our attitudes and actions are shaped by stories, but not
always for the better. Chemical and genetic engineering corporation~ and
their public relation experts, for example, do not usually create stories that
benefit ecological systems.
Each of the films is anthropocentric, presented for entertainment and
box-office success, with nature sometimes seen as background to the story,
and sometimes playing a stronger role. A combination of factors are
likely to contribute to a viewer's response to nature and the ecological
issues and values in the under-layers of the films, including the
contribution of multi-media information related to local and global
ecological issues. The truism that nothing works in isolation is relevant.
The ongoing popularity of the films studied has attracted numerous and
various opinions and deepening insights -- hence the ongoing debates,
websites, essays, novels and anthologies. Because stories have power and
film is a popular mediator of story, the thesis concludes that ecocritical
analysis of mainstream film is one of many ways that can contribute to a
deepening of ecological consciousness.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Jenkins, M
Keywords: Environment in motion pictures, Motion pictures
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2000 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2000. Includes bibliographical references

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