Moment centered cinema: uniting Flannery O'Connor's "haunting moments" and Sergei Eisenstein's "intellectual montage" in the screenplay of 'A severe mercy'

Harrington, B.R (2017) Moment centered cinema: uniting Flannery O'Connor's "haunting moments" and Sergei Eisenstein's "intellectual montage" in the screenplay of 'A severe mercy'. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

Abstract

In the summer of 2014, I was hired to adapt the best-selling spiritual memoir, 'A Severe Mercy', into a feature film screenplay. My task was complicated by the nature of the source material, as Sheldon Vanauken's largely philosophical testimony was unsuited to the visual nature of cinematic storytelling. I faced further difficulty in that I needed to respect the essence of the original faith-based material, yet make it palatable for the mainstream marketplace. This dissertation contributes to a new movement in Hollywood in which the action and spectacle-driven movie loses its prominence. My adaption of 'A Severe Mercy' is, I hope, part of the next generation of visual stories, particularly those that deal with spiritual or faith-based material. My method of doing this is to emphasize the key narrative moments that occur in characters, allowing these moments to take precedence over external beats, or actions in the plot. By deconstructing the work of writer Flannery O'Connor, I identify a method of heightening the key lynchpins of a character's arc of transformation. O'Connor used radical juxtapositions in the narrative, a technique I have name "haunting moments". The practical application of my theoretical framework owes much to Sergei Eisenstein's work on cinematic narrative. His technique of "intellectual montage" is akin to O'Connor's "haunting moments" and the new interventions I am seeking to realize with 'the beat' in my own creative practice. I argue that cinema offers exciting possibilities for radical juxtapositions due to the affinity for paradox inherent in the multiple layers of the medium (e.g., sound, visual, linguistic). I demonstrate this by drawing on examples of how this works in other cinematic projects and in my own.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2018 10:31
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2018 10:32
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