From celluloid to sensor: the role of technology and aesthetics in the films of Lars von Trier

McLean, Rory (2007) From celluloid to sensor: the role of technology and aesthetics in the films of Lars von Trier. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    This dissertation's aim was to investigate the entire film works of director Lars von Trier, exploring his continual development of, and experimentation with, film form and aesthetics. It takes a formalist approach, using comprehensive textual analysis to engage with the films in as much detail as possible. The result of which was to discover the effect of the changing aesthetics that come with different film technologies on the spectator. I argue that old film technologies, namely film stock, enable von Trier to discuss nothing other than cinema itself. Film has an aesthetic that the spectator has come to understand as purely fictional, and is thus more suited to traditional genre filmmaking. I go on to discuss von Trier's desire for stylistic verisimilitude, how he attempts to achieve this with film stock, and how he succeeds in achieving it with digital video. I argue that the digital video aesthetic is a hugely powerful tool in creating tones of realism, and von Trier exploits this to shock his audience out of passivity, prompting them to be involved in the film. On top of this, the dissertation suggests that adopting the digital video aesthetic at that time in cinematic history was a direct confrontation to the traditional notions of film form. The study enabled me to understand the filmic ideologies of Lars von Trier, and how adopting different film technologies made it possible for him to realise them.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:47
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:13

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