Don’t worry when you are not recognised, but strive to be worthy of recognition: an exploration into the biopic: how different moments in history and popularised iconic figures have been present in mainstream Hollywood Cinema

Everly, Jank Simon (2015) Don’t worry when you are not recognised, but strive to be worthy of recognition: an exploration into the biopic: how different moments in history and popularised iconic figures have been present in mainstream Hollywood Cinema. MA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Over the last thirty years the popularity and rise in stature of the biopic genre within mainstream cinema has rocketed, quickly becoming one of the most in-demand genres in Hollywood, contributing to the majority of award season successes, and box office records. This dissertation examines the biopic genre, analysing whether various influential figures and moments in history have been represented differently in American mainstream Hollywood cinema over the last thirty years, and whether any of the sub-genres analysed distinctively pose any contemporary relevance to the time the pictures were set. The sub-genres depicted will be; ethnic inequalities within American cinema, depicting pictures 12 Years a Slave (McQueen, 2013), Mississippi Burning (Donner, 1988), Django Unchained (Tarantino, 2012), and Lincoln (Spielberg, 2012), the representation of Apartheid in South Africa, using pictures Lethal Weapon 2 (Donner, 1989), District 9 (Blomkamp, 2009), Invictus (Eastwood, 2009) and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Chadwick, 2013), and American war biopics, and whether mainstream Hollywood pictures frame their countries war veterans in a bias, one sided light, using Zero Dark Thirty (Bigalow, 2012), Lone Survivor (Berg, 2013) and American Sniper (Eastwood, 2014). The sub-genres and pictures were chosen because they not only allow my study to vary in different genres within the biopic format, but also because in my opinion these are the three leading sub-genres taken from the biopic format over the last thirty years in relation to both box office takings, as pictures like case study American Sniper gained $547,126,372 worldwide. This dissertation will examine all three sub-genres, discussing different ways in which moments in history and different well known figures have been portrayed in mainstream cinema in ways that are relatable and digestible for modern day spectators. As well as this the date of certain biopics release will be taken into consideration, as the themes and messages within each picture could correspond directly to ideals or ideologies at the time of its distribution, or bare some sense of a cultural significance to contemporary society. The representation of different ethnicities within each sub-genre will also be covered, signalling how mainstream Hollywood biopics present different cultures, and traditions in an easily relatable way for American spectators, as well as America’s representation on their own society. My findings will be supported with the use of other academic books, journals, and newspaper articles enabling me to get a fully rounded spectrum over the representation of different moments in history are presented mainstream American cinema, and whether certain links can be drawn between each sub-genre.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2017 10:03
    Last Modified: 09 Jan 2017 10:03
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/22742

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