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Cinematic Apparatus, Violence and Authoritarianism in The Comfort of Strangers

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2006, 19(2), pp.39-61
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Kyung-Shim Oh 1

1강원대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Oh, Kyung ShimStephanie Tucker insists that authoritarian behavior and its pernicious effects are central concerns in The Comfort of Strangers(1990). He mentions the close interconnection between cinematic techniques and authoritarian behavior. However, he does not explore the dynamic relationship of authoritarianism and cinematic techniques. Another distinguished critic, Michael Billington, also holds that The Comfort of Strangers implies that the whole concept of freedom is at risk from a resurgent crypto-Fascism and it is imbued with an irrepressible concern for the sickness of liberty in Britain itself. Though both critics' perspectives are political, they never go beyond the thematic criticism. This paper will be concerned with exploring the roles of cinematic techniques such as camera and voice-over in effectuating authoritarianism.It is assumed that the nature of cinematic techniques and the nature of authoritarianism have some similarities in exercising power over objects or people. While Harold Pinter gives Robert the absolute authoritarian power over the other three characters by using voice-over and camera, he suggests that voice-over and camera could be alternatively used to strengthen the human bonds through Mary, even though the effect of her voice-over and camera on Venice where they travel plays minor role. Pinter is more concerned with letting people experience the sado-masochistic violence done by Robert than suggesting an alternative. He is eager to let people know individual impotence in the face of violent power in the present world by means of cinematic media. Key Words Harold Pinter, The Comfort of Strangers, story, camera, photograph, powers of the false, authoritarianism, sadomasochism

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