The construction of culture in Scottish and Czech contemporary cinema: a comparison of the films The Winter Guest and O rodičích a dětech

Tomšů, Hana (2013) The construction of culture in Scottish and Czech contemporary cinema: a comparison of the films The Winter Guest and O rodičích a dětech. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis aims to examine the construction of culture in two cinematic works: the Scottish film The Winter Guest and the Czech film O rodičích a dětech (Of Parents and Children). It examines the research question of how the two cultures present themselves in their narratives. The analysis focuses on images of space, identity of the characters and the structure of the events in these two films. At first, the two films are analysed separately, then comparatively. The methodological approach of this thesis combines narratology, semiotics and cognitive science.
The chapter interpreting space in the Scottish film finds that the environment is perceived as immense and insecure. In the Czech film, the environment creates an impression of being enclosed and safe. The following chapters focus on the identity of the characters. The Scottish film shows the female protagonists with a loose relation to their relatives and people living in their area. The Czech film features male protagonists with strong bonds to their male relatives but weak relationships to other people living in their surroundings. Gender issues are examined as well. The analysis of the structure of the events in the two films reveals an emphasis on interiority in the Scottish film, and a tendency to influence perception of the self through telling stories of a person’s past in the Czech film. The analysis also identifies the conceptual metaphors which construct the narratives, mainly the metaphors seeing life as a journey and the metaphor seeing mental change as a change of a location. The thesis also discusses the significance of the choice of genre for the particular image of culture in these two films.
The main findings of the thesis are summarised in the comparative chapter. The thesis has discovered that images of space participate in creating a social reality for the characters and they shape the characters’ perception of the world. Therefore, the environment together with the identity of the characters and with the events creates coherent images of the cultures in the films. The thesis has identified characteristic features of infinity, freedom, risk, activity, individualism and uprootedness in the Scottish film and characteristic features of enclosure, limits, safety, passivity, belonging and continuity in the Czech film. Apart from these contrasting features, it has been discovered that there are many similarities in the depiction of social roles and narrative conventions in the two films, which confirms their common cultural heritage.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Czech cultural identity, Scottish cultural identity, cultural identity Czech Republic, cultural identity Scotland, comparative cultural studies, comparative film studies, Central European Cinema, Central and East European Studies
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PG Slavic, Baltic, Albanian languages and literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Slavonic Studies
Supervisor's Name: Culik, Dr. Jan and Bates, Dr. John
Date of Award: 2013
Depositing User: Mgr. Hana Tomsu
Unique ID: glathesis:2013-4092
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2013 15:51
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 08:30

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