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Anatomy of a metaphor

women of film noir were controlled and punished ultimately by patriarchal figures, the disorientation of such postmodern fiction is that pleasure and danger are inseparable and even the male figures are now ‘petulant, temperamental and uncertain’. 16 In a thorough study of crime film Thomas Leitch associates the idea of the criminal protagonist in gangster films and noir with the passing of the

in Medieval film
The early films

mesmeric sequence of Renoir’s La Bête humaine (1938), which registers the dizzy acceleration of a train on its way to the station at Le Havre. A sense of disorder, apprehension and trepidation is associated with the train’s return journey from the port to Paris, one marked by murder, suicide and increasing speed. Bernard Vorhaus’s low-budget thriller The Last Journey (1936) openly exploits feelings of disorientation and danger in a fast-paced narrative dealing with a suicidal plan to smash a speeding train into a terminus station. The panic associated in these films with

in Humphrey Jennings

to port. Once the ship has survived the disorientating time-warp ‘storm’ and found herself alone in a silent and calm sea, the crew are shown to react swiftly to the call to General Quarters, and the last aircraft is brought aboard in a faultlessly executed crash-barrier landing (initiated by a piped order which, consciously or unconsciously, echoes the ironic call to action on the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack: ‘This is not a drill!’). The captain fears that the strange weather conditions are actually the after-effects of a nuclear attack. He orders a

in The naval war film
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Horror and the avant-garde in the cinema of Ken Jacobs

down a bottomless rabbit hole into a bewildering perceptual wonderland where previous understandings of space and time no longer apply. In making film new and strange again, Jacobs harks back to the disorientation Victorians might have felt the first time they rode on a train, listened to a disembodied voice on the telephone, or first viewed ‘moving pictures’. Jacobs

in Monstrous adaptations
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Identity and culture in Clive Barker’s ‘The Forbidden’ and Bernard Rose’s Candyman

spaces of the flats (the disorientating Gothic castle) offer feminised Gothic spaces (the perfect geometry of the estate is, from ground level, maze-like). The estate of the story is also a feminised space in that it is literally inhabited solely by women and children (Anne-Marie and her son, the two middle-aged women, the older boy who acts as her guide). Despite the class difference, by the end of the

in Monstrous adaptations
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the acid he takes just before arriving logically explains this perverse deformation, but Duke has been in some form of mind-altered state from the outset. Only the twisted reality of Las Vegas, it appears, is sufficiently bizarre to warrant seeing what Duke actually sees. In extreme moments of disorientation the audience is presented with this perspective, but for the most part Duke is a figure in the frame, not

in Terry Gilliam
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Jonathan Rayner

disorientation which accompanies scenes on the Rock. 22 Many of these techniques were also used on The Last Wave to create a similarly nightmarish atmosphere. In mimicking the European art film, Picnic also incorporated or quoted other literary, musical and visual arts. Elizabethan love poetry and Shakespeare’s sonnet number 18 are recited on the morning of the picnic, and the scenes around the Rock are composed and lit in emulation of the Australian Impressionist painters of the Heidelberg School. Graeme Turner has noted the

in Contemporary Australian cinema

its characters). Darko Suvin provides one of the most influential accounts of the productive effects of disorientation in science fiction and dystopias. He designates a group of works ‘whose necessary and sufficient conditions are the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition, and whose main formal device is an imaginative framework alternative to the author’s empirical environment’. 7

in Terry Gilliam