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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Wandering: Seeing the cinema of Wim Wenders through cultural theory and naturalized phenomenology
by Desiderio, Matthew John, Ph.D., Temple University, 2011, 213; 3440069
Abstract (Summary)

In both form and content, Wim Wenders’s films create a cinema of wandering, tracing a route of intersections between the modern and postmodern visual landscape. The space of the world, its deserted horizons and populated streets, are a kind of visual architecture through which the mobile vision of the film wanders, just as Wenders’s peripatetic characters wander through space and time towards encounters with others. This wandering invites a phenomenological understanding of embodied spectator experience and perception, for as much as Wenders’s films are about the representative image, they are also about the dynamic relationship of the embodied spectator to the visible world. A first avenue of inquiry leads through the deserts and cities that shape the visual terrain of Wenders’s cinema. These locations are always sites (places) and sights (images) of recuperation that offer critique, analysis, and resistance to the hyperreal and the reductive visual practices of postmodernity. A second route follows the journeys of both Wenders’s characters and films. The insistence in existential phenomenology that meaning and intentionality inhere in the body’s motility provides a starting point for elucidating the relationship of cinematic technology to embodied vision. The film and the spectator share a way of being in the world, and the wandering vision and audition that shape the journeys of Wenders’s films are always expressions of the modern experience of space and time. Finally, this dissertation undertakes a third course, applying naturalized phenomenology to a reading of the encounters of Wenders’s wandering subjects. This methodology allows for a clearer understanding of the socially mediated subject, and of the relationship of spectator to film. The dynamic mirroring that constitutes cinematic experience as it occurs neurologically and phenomenologically shapes cinematic encounters. Film is a mirror, but more significantly, the spectator is a mirror. For the spectator, as for Wenders’s characters, wandering is a way of engaging the contingencies of the other and confronting the truths and lies behind cinematic illusion.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gaycken, Oliver
Commitee: Alter, Nora M., Corrigan, Timothy, Singer, Alan
School: Temple University
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 72/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Film studies
Keywords: Germany, Mirror neurons, Modernity, Neurophenomenology, Phenomenology, Wandering, Wenders, Wim
Publication Number: 3440069
ISBN: 978-1-124-46517-3
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