Image, Process, Experience: exploring the landscapes of Chilean cinema (2008-2014)

  • Nicola Runciman

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis explores representations of landscape in Chilean fiction cinema from 2008 to 2014, through a corpus drawn from the so-called novisimo cine chileno, a generation of young filmmakers who have attracted significant critical attention both within Chile and on international festival and arthouse circuits. The thesis is built on close readings of the selected films within a conceptual framework informed by interdisciplinary perspectives from the developing field of landscape studies. It aims to show how these cinematic landscapes function beyond the limitations of narrative setting or symbolic imagery and are instead represented in ways which capture landscape's processual, experiential and polysemic nature, which in turn throws light on landscape as an approach to a wide range of thematic concerns within these films. It begins by placing the selected corpus within a broader cultural history of the Chilean landscape and maps out the conceptual framework which will be applied and developed through the thesis, considering landscape as experience and process, as well as image. The thesis then sets out the foundations for the thesis' close readings by demonstrating how such a conceptual approach can reveal the inherent tensions of film landscapes - between being inside and outside, contemplation and immersion, proximity and distance - and can also uncover the multisensory and embodied aspects of landscapes on screen, with particular attention to the roles of sound and haptic imagery. In the remainder of the thesis, this approach to landscape is developed through further close analysis of selected films in order to demonstrate how landscape functions in relation to certain thematic concerns - what contact between body and landscape reveals about materiality and mortality, how the cinematic landscape both invites and resists its framing as territory, and how film as a medium has a particular capacity to evoke the multiple temporalities at work within landscape. As a whole, the thesis works to illuminate the aesthetic, formal, narrative and thematic functions of landscape in the chosen films and argues for the usefulness of interdisciplinary conceptual approaches in the study of cinematic landscapes in order to reach a more nuanced understanding of film's representation of the relation of people and place.
Date of Award31 Dec 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorChris Perriam (Supervisor) & Ignacio Aguilo (Supervisor)


  • cinematic landscape
  • film
  • Chilean landscape
  • Chilean cinema
  • Chile
  • cinema
  • landscape

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