The hidden faces of World War One: representing disfigurement in film.

Liddle, S., 2019. The hidden faces of World War One: representing disfigurement in film. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This study uses a creative-critical-archival approach to construct the first British, feature-length screenplay depicting the experiences of facially-injured World War One servicemen: 'The Battalion of Dandelions.' This screenplay is an historical war drama, written in the form of a shooting script and informed by archival, filmic and theoretical studies. Its narrative is inspired by research into the experiences of a small number of the 60,500 British servicemen who suffered facial injuries during World War One.

Facial injury was viewed as one of the strongest symbolic manifestations of the ‘horror’ of the Great War. A century later, this study has been conducted in the context of a British World War One film genre that has, thus far, omitted facial injury as a primary subject, and a film culture that has repeatedly reinforced disfigurement as belonging to an aesthetic of horror. 'The Battalion of Dandelions' challenges this using cinematic devices, including shot scale, focus and sound, chosen in order to encourage audience members to slow down their perceptions and reconsider their responses to techniques used to signal monstrosity.

Elements of trauma theory and haptic cinema are also included in The Battalion of Dandelions to encourage a stronger connection between character and viewer. 'Hiroshima mon amour' (1959) and 'A Quiet Place' (2018) are particularly strong studies in the deployment of narrative and cinematic devices to represent the unrepresentable and elicit empathy from the viewer.

The deep-rooted existence of visual prejudice is beginning to be challenged within our society. This thesis offers an original contribution to knowledge by outlining how film can play a significant part in supporting a humanised aesthetic of disfigurement, whilst filling a gap within British film culture concerning the commemoration of the facially-injured servicemen of World War One.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Liddle, S.
Date: September 2019
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 11 Sep 2020 08:54
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:17

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