Macquarie University
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Cinematic subjectivity in first person cinema

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posted on 2022-03-28, 12:59 authored by Diane Busuttil
The main objective of this screen-based research thesis is to investigate cinematic subjectivity in first person cinema, paying special attention to the role of the artist as storyteller, director and filmmaker. My interest is to explore cinematic devices and conventions that underpin first person storytelling. I interrogate what is commonly understood as the device of the subjective point of view (POV) from the first person perspective. I discuss Deleuze's various categories of cinematic subjectivity particularly his referencing of Pier Paulo Pasolini'sfree indirect discourse and Mitry's semi-subjective shot. I focus on the importance of Pasolini' s im-segni theorem and demonstrate the strength and value of his contribution to film theory over and above apparatus theory and film semiotics. This thesis also investigates the contributions to the concept of cinematic subjectivity of key theoreticians and filmmakers such as Metz, Wilson, Pasolini and Varda. I differentiate the ways in which subjective POV is utilised and its implication for the power of narration, including how images are used to extend cinematic language and how a spectator is positioned within the narrative framework. I engage with Varda's approach to first person storytelling in my analysis. T validate the idea that suhjective and objective POV are fluid, sometimes interchangeable categories, attributing this interchangeability to Varda' s imaginative approach to narrative. My practical screen-based outcomes, in the form of two short films about my personal experience of forced adoption in Australia in the late 1960s, are made with different approaches to first person cinematic subjectivity. Moment of Truth (MOT), produced by the ABC, is influenced (with limitations) by Varda's style, whereas Without Consent is more experimental and incorporates Pasolini's im-segni theorem. I compare the production methods of both films and argue that artists and practitioners, through demonstrating their thinking in practice, supersede and extend the notion of first person cinematic subjectivity.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter one: Aspects of cinema tic subjectivity -- Chapter two: Pasolini's im-segni theorem -- Chapter three: Varda and the audience - Conclusion - References - Appendices.


Bibliography: pages 46-48 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Department of Media, Music Communication and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Iqbal Barkat


Copyright Diane Busuttil 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (54 pages: illustrations, colour photographs )

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