Aesthetics: beauty and the sublime in the representation of violence: an analysis of contemporary film and novel in Spain and Latin America

by Reyes, Clara Irene

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation examines the aesthetic concepts of beauty and the sublime in the representation of violence, in several Latin American novels and films (Fernando Vallejo's La virgen de los sicarios (1994); Jorge Franco Ramos's Rosario Tijeras (1999); La virgen de los sicarios (2000), directed by Barbet Schoeder, and Rodrigo-D No Futuro (1990) directed by Víctor Gaviria, and Amores Perros (2000) directed by Alejandro González Irárritu); as well as in Spanish novels and films (Juan Marsé's, Si te dicen que caí (1973); Si te dicen que caí (1989), Amantes (1991) and Libertarias (1996), directed by Vicente Aranda). In the above-mentioned works, violence is a central theme. Through close analysis of these films and novels I explain how the violence depicted in them clearly serves an aesthetic purpose. To explain the aesthetic value of these films, I analyze them by means of classical definitions of the concepts of beauty and the sublime. I argue that these concepts relate to the aesthetics of pleasure, which are used by the authors and filmmakers to suture their readers and viewers into the text. I explain how the violence, cruelty, and brutality of war remain in the collective memory of the people of Colombia, Mexico and Spain and permeate their cultural representations. I also explain that cruelty is necessary for artistic creation and finally, I argue that this aesthetic creation serves a political purpose for a specific cultural identity. The works of Longinus, Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant provide a theoretical framework to understand the identification of art and violence. Sigmund Freud’s theory of the libido and Jacques Lacan’s theory of the mirror stage, are examined to explain how film narratives and novels of violence can work at the unconscious level to suture the viewer to the text, providing a pleasurable experience closely tied to the sublime. Finally, Friederich Nietzsche's postulates on the need of the true artist to devoid himself of morality to be able to create serves to understand the task of these filmmakers and novelists who want to portray the crude reality of their countries.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:colombia espana mexico contemporary film novel representation of violence beauty and the sublime


Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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