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Shakespeare on Film: Looking through Space and Time

Author Matthias HEIM
Director of thesis Prof. Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis

Shakespeare films expose the illusion of a realistic space and time continuum onscreen; they open up by abandoning the coherent sensori-motor experience in favour of a breakdown of space and time. This is a movement from the regime of the eye (with its dependence on commonsense coordinates) to one of a self-conscious gaze that realises unseen images.

I hope to show that the most interesting aspect of Shakespeare films is not the interpretation of the plays, but their reflection of how we see time and space. If the truth-value of what is seen onscreen is undermined at the basic level of the sensori-motor schema, the spectators cannot delegate the interpretation of the images to the camera. So, one aim of this project is to propose a way of looking at films which does not attempt to commodify them into a coherent spatio-temporal gaze, but offers ways of looking at films as an expression of a fluid time and space that is already latent in Shakespearean drama itself.

Administrative delay for the defence