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'Playing' cultural identities in and out of the cinematic nation: popular songs in British, Spanish, and Italian cinema of the late 1990s

Boschi, Elena (2010) 'Playing' cultural identities in and out of the cinematic nation: popular songs in British, Spanish, and Italian cinema of the late 1990s. Doctoral thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract

The questions I set out to address in the thesis originate at the point where film music scholarship on identifications via popular songs and film scholarship on the necessity to look beyond national identity in cinema, intersect. By analysing the processes through which popular songs bring meaning into films, and focussing on how their meaning and other textual factors intersect in the film, I argue that soundtracks construct identities that are not uncovered through considerations of films as visual texts. To explore these processes, I chose to focus on films from three European national cinemas – British, Spanish, and Italian – and show how considering popular songs can reveal the paths audiences tread when they not only see but also hear the differences soundtracks construct in films. After situating my study in relation to the literature on film music studies and film studies, I discuss the concept of cultural identities used in the thesis and highlight its relevance to the study of films as audiovisual texts. In the nine case studies presented in the three central chapters, I illustrate how songs participate in the construction and positioning of cultural identities in films. Via connections between different musical groupings and the cultural identities these articulate, songs can acquire further meaning, which often changes during the course of the films and can situate cultural identities in relation to the cinematic representations of a dominant national culture. The possibilities for identifications offered through popular music in films are being explored in interesting ways in the field of film music studies. By applying these theorists’ ideas to British, Spanish, and Italian films, I propose to show the readings that a consideration of films as visual texts alone does not account for. In addition to illustrating how an audiovisual approach to films can inform other neighbouring disciplines, I build on existing ideas in film music studies and propose a basic model for understanding how songs can map cultural identities in the cinematic representation of nations as well as be influenced by their textual voyages through films. In this project, I ultimately aim to argue for the necessity to listen beyond national identity in order to understand where these narratives allow audiences to situate themselves in relation to the nations they inhabit.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords:film music; popular music; British cinema; Spanish cinema; Italian cinema
Subjects:M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Arts > School of Music
Status:Unpublished
ID Code:3515
Deposited On:06 Dec 2011 09:17
Last Modified:07 Dec 2011 11:05

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