AbstractsWomens Studies

Noir Guilt Complex. The Death of Women as a Catalyst for Character Development and Plot in the Films of Christopher Nolan

by Sverrir Sigfússon 1990

Institution: University of Iceland
Year: 2015
Keywords: Kvikmyndafræði; Femínismi; Nolan, Christopher, 1965-; Kvikmyndagerð
Record ID: 1220478
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/20377


This essay provides a feminist analysis of Christopher Nolan’s films; examining the complicate role of women in relation to the guilt-ridden protagonists, with their deaths serving as a foundation for the narrative trajectory of the male characters, and how this conveys messages to the audience that propagate the prevailing patriarchal worldview. Nolan actively blends disparate genres, infusing them with film noir influences that predicate his use of this recurrent theme. Arguments will be supported by source material from E. Ann Kaplan, Janey Place, Christine Gledhill, Edward Dimendberg, Richard Armstrong, and Sylvia Harvey, as well as a varied assortment of articles, interviews, and profiles written about Christopher Nolan and his films, along with further material relating to film noir. The essay is split into five segments; an introduction, two theoretical chapters, an analytical chapter split into four sub-chapters, and final words. The first theoretical chapter establishes the traits of film noir and the roles of women in noir films. The second theoretical chapter provides a short biography of Christopher Nolan and then connects his films to the previously established film noir, as well as detailing its revival as neo-noir. In the analytical chapter four films will be examined: Memento (2000), The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), and Inception (2010). The analysis, conducted from a feminist criticism point of view and in a film noir context, will focus on the women in the films and their relationships with the psychologically shattered male protagonists, which leave them dead en masse. To supplement the exploration of this recurrent theme, instances of intertextuality within Nolan’s work will also be noted.