- June 3, 2020
Date of submission
Karlyn, Kathleen Rowe. "" Too close for comfort": American Beauty and the incest motif." Cinema Journal 44.1 (2004): 69-93.
This article explains how thestructure of father and daughter incest works (Karlyn 96). The authortreats incest as a cultural development that has taken the society bysurprise. By providing a narrative that seeks to define therelationship between culture and sex, the author looks at scenariosthat involve white men who have wealth and power. He does well tomake reference to other films that touch on similar cultural matters,such as Armageddon. Alsosignificantly, the author discusses matters such as the‘sexualization’ of young girls in the society, the way thatcinema creators have erased the sense of mothers and career women,and the ongoing effort to make the middle-aged white man lookmasculine once again. All these are important socio-cultural elementsthat are captured in the film.
The paper is chosen partly becauseof the authority of the author. Kathleen Rowe Karlyn is an associateprofessor of English at the University of Oregon. She has beenteaching film studies for a long time, and is considered by peers asone of the most decorated film-studies professors, having published anumber of other film-studies articles. Given that she is dedicated tostudying women and gender conflicts in films, her articles areconsidered to be highly relevant to film studies. Also, the papersets a good pace for the study as the author urges the audience toconsider some facts that are associated with the topic she discusses.These include the plot of the film Armageddon,the culturalunderpinnings of the film AmericanBeauty and emergingsexual conduct among the elite of the society.
Ning, Wang. "Cinematic Cultural Diffusion: American and Chinese Films." Intercultural Communication Studies 25.1 (2016).
The article looks at the manner inwhich directors diffuse cultural norms and make them into film (Ning1). Taking an example of the American and Chinese films, the authoraddresses the issue of borrowing from one culture to another, whichis a complex doing. He focuses on two films, one from the Americanculture, and the other from the Chinese culture, and explains theprocess of diffusing norms from one culture into another, throughfilm. Technically, the author asserts that the cultural elements thatthe audience sees on film are manipulated by the directors and madefit to be included in film
This article is chosen not onlybecause of the content, but also because of the analytical approachto understanding culture in film. The film AmericanBeauty madeinternational headlines and has been adapted by other directorsoutside America to diffuse societal norms into film. Critically, theauthor comes up with a framework of “diffusion and adaptation”,which involves the principles of internationalization anddiversification. Using the framework, it will be possible to explainhow the film AmericanBeauty became aninternational piece that depicts the American culture, which has beenreplicated in many other parts of the world. While the author doesnot make direct mention of the film AmericanBeauty, the content andstructure of the paper are key to analyzing its cultural meaning.
Weeks, Mark. "American Beauty: The art of work in the age of therapeutic masturbation." European Journal of American Culture 34.1 (2015): 49-66.
The author analyzes the theme ofsexuality in the film AmericanBeauty (Weeks 49).He approaches theanalysis with the presumption that there has been a lot of emphasison the portrayal of erotic fantasy in film. However, most of theanalyses fail to consider elements that accompany the sexualfantasies, principally physical autoeroticism. Base on this, theauthor observes the uneasiness among many scholars towards thediscussion of the subject of autoeroticism, and fronts an assertiveargument. Accordingly, the author argues about the depiction ofmasturbation in film, asserting that is a consolidated andsignificant cultural movement. As well, the paper analysesmasturbation in film and in reality, emphasizing that it is aliberalization of the concept of sex. The paper therefore puts acrossan argument that in the cultural-historic context, the film AmericanBeauty depictsmasturbation as a neo-liberal change to the concept ofindividual-self and relations with the society.
This paper is chosen for theresearch because of the author’s apparent understanding of one ofthe core themes of the film AmericanBeauty, masturbation.The author does not only present a plain argument about masturbation,but also puts it in the context of socio-cultural development. Aswell, the author is not biased in approach, and avoids to eitherdenounce or approve masturbation. This is a show of analyticalmaturity, which accompanies high quality analysis of classic films.At the same time, the researcher uses a wide variety of resources tosupport his arguments, and does not narrow down to those that onlysupport his stance. Besides making reference to relevant sources, theauthor does use excerpts of speech from the film, hence improving theintegrity of the paper. Therefore, the article’s content holdssignificant in the discussion of the film AmericanBeauty’s culturalmeaning.
Zauderer, Elizabeth. "Is a rose is a rose is a rose? Appropriating polysemy in film: The case of rose imagery in American Beauty." Semiotica 2015.205 (2015): 191-205.
The author looks at the issue ofcultural appropriation in film (Zauderer 191). Using the filmAmerican Beauty, shetakes the perspective that cultural appropriation is the root ofadaptation studies in film and literature. The author emphasizes onhow cultural junctures make up the cinematic renditions of texts, atechnique that is seen in the film AmericanBeauty. A unique aspectabout the analysis by the author is that she does not consider theformality of the process that facilitates contextual andinter-textual overlap, hence giving the paper an insightfulunderstanding of the topic. At the same time, the author looks untothe processes that are needed for textual polysemy in film. Sheapplies the technique of evaluating the classical semiotics and filmsemiotics. At the end of the paper, the author proposes a theoreticalmodel for reorganizing the effect of contextual complexity. Whenapplied, the model enables the audience to understand the visualsignification in film, making special reference to the film AmericanBeauty.
The paper is useful to the researchbecause it analyzes a critical element of film making, which iscontext. Instead of relying on a simple analytical process, theresearcher uses film-specific analytical tools, which are classicalsemiotics and film semiotics. This makes the content of the paperhighly relevant and critical for application in the analytical studyof the film AmericanBeauty. As well,considering the recurrent rose imagery in the film, it is criticalfor the researcher to apply the theoretical model that is suggestedin this paper for the research. The paper, therefore, holds boththeoretical and practical implications in the research of theclassical film AmericanBeauty.
Karlyn, Kathleen Rowe. ""Too close for comfort": American Beauty and the incestmotif." CinemaJournal 44.1(2004): 69-93.
Ning, Wang. "CinematicCultural Diffusion: American and Chinese Films." InterculturalCommunication Studies 25.1(2016).
Weeks, Mark. "American Beauty:The art of work in the age of therapeutic masturbation." EuropeanJournal of American Culture 34.1(2015): 49-66.
Zauderer, Elizabeth. "Is arose is a rose is a rose? Appropriating polysemy in film: The case ofrose imagery in American Beauty." Semiotica 2015.205(2015): 191-205.