Art & Photography Books:

The American Cinema of Excess

Extremes of the National Mind on Film



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The American Cinema of Excess by Mike King
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This book develops a new critical framework for exploring the excesses portrayed in American cinema. Each culture has its own excesses which taken together add up to a unique "madness." American cinema reveals these excesses, painting a portrait of the specifically American madness, and, when these excesses are rolled back a little, reveals the unique strengths and genius of the American mind. The critical methods of both Left and Right are shown to have programmatic biases that make them unsuited to analysis of this transgressive material; instead a method of dramatic criticism is developed here based on Aristotle's theory of tragedy and its cathartic possibilities. This framework is applied across a range of cinematic themes including paranoia, aggression, oedipal/Freudian themes, sexual obsession, the Apocalypse, Native Americans and cultural genocide, new age narcissism, nihilism and self-destruction, cultural autism, and virtual reality/fantasy. Finally, a look at American sanity is provided through films where dramatic excess is balanced with critical awareness.
Release date Australia
October 31st, 2016
black & white illustrations
Country of Publication
United States
Stochastic Press
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