Transfigurations: Violence, Death and Masculinity in American Cinema by Asbjørn Grønstad

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In many senses, viewers have cut their teeth on the violence in American cinema: from Anthony Perkins slashing Janet Leigh in our most infamous of shower scenes; to the 1970s masterpieces of Martin Scorsese, Sam Peckinpah, and Francis Ford Coppola; to our present-day undertakings in imagining global annihilations through terrorism, war, and alien grudges. Transfigurations brings our cultural obsession with film violence into a renewed dialogue with contemporary theory, challenging the orthodoxies of previous research on film violence and contributing a fresh perspective to how we might reconceptualize fictional forms of this particular kind of aggressive cinema. Asbjörn Gronstad argues that the use of violence in Hollywood films should be understood semiotically rather than viewed realistically; Tranfigurations thus alters both our methodology of reading violence in films and the meanings we assign to them, depicting violence not as a self-contained incident, but a convoluted network of our own cultural ideologies and beliefs.

Amsterdam University Press, 2008.
ISBN: 9789089640109. 274 pp.
Softcover. Near fine.