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Gender in the Films of Alexander Kluge

Gilbert, Joanna Lucy (2015) Gender in the Films of Alexander Kluge. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the portrayal of gender in a selection of feature films by the German filmmaker Alexander Kluge. These films are Abschied von Gestern, released in 1966, Der starke Ferdinand, released in 1976 and Die Macht der Gefühle, released in 1983. It is argued throughout this work that despite previous critical reception which has seen Kluge's attitude to gender in his films as patriarchal, they can in fact be shown as progressive in gender terms, and even to fit with some feminist aims. In the Introduction to this thesis, the critical reception to Kluge's films is historicised by discussing and re-evaluating the feminist credentials of his 1973 film Gelegenheitsarbeit einer Sklavin, before the evidence of a somewhat feminist viewpoint in Kluge's theory is re-examined. The first chapter then analyses how Kluge uses words and language, as well as discourse in Abschied von Gestern to both show the construction of patriarchal power and how this power can be subverted and challenged by women in this film. The second chapter goes on to discuss how Kluge's presentation of gendered bodies in Der starke Ferdinand undermines patriarchal norms, gender stereotypes, and the ability of men who represent patriarchy to be taken seriously. The third chapter examines what impact Kluge's theory concerning emotions has on his portrayal of gender relations in Die Macht der Gefühle, arguing that he appears to give his optimum approach to emotions to women and those characters who are in non-conventional relationships. Throughout all of these chapters it is argued that Kluge consistently challenges institutions of conventional gender norms, and supports female victims of patriarchy, showing that his films have the potential to be read as more progressive in terms of gender than previous commentators have argued them to be.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Gender, film, Alexander Kluge, New German Cinema, feminism, femininity, masculinity
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds) > German (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.665005
Depositing User: Ms Joanna Gilbert
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2015 08:34
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 13:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9701

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