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Four films: crossing the boundaries of modernism and postmodernism

Eyuboglu, Selim (1992) Four films: crossing the boundaries of modernism and postmodernism. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86123) (KAR id:86123)


This work is based on studying films from the perspective of modernism, late-modernism, postmodernism and film theory. The introduction on the major issues and debates on late-modernism and postmodernism will be followed by the textual analysis of four films: Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice, Michaelangelo Antonioni's L'avventure, Alfred Hitchcock's Blackmail and David Lynch's Blue Velvet.

I argue that Death in Venice is a wholly intended modernist film that inscribes itself into the tradition of modernism by rewriting other modernist texts, notably the literary work of Thomas Mann and the modernist theories of Theodor Adorno. In this respect, the film is a late-modern, as it embodies the discourses of modernism.

L'avventura both presents a modernist narration and departure from European cinematic tradition. Its shifting between post-neorealism, an ironic authorship and an organization of desire that propels the narrative suggest a postmodern departure from late-modern cinema.

Blackmail parodies modernism from within. By quoting the styles of modernist movements the film establishes an ironic distance from modernism itself; at the same time, it ironically assimilates an institutionalized narrative that suggests the impossibility of a fully modernist narration.

Finally, I argue that as a postmodern film Blue Velvet surrounds its story material with meta-textual references that subverts the unity between the story and its narration. However, the author's intention to 'master' his narrating by a network of extra-diegetic references inscribes a modernist strategy into a postmodern film.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86123
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: modernism; postmodernism; film studies
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:29 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 08:08 UTC
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