Alone together: Cinematic (re)presentations of masculinity, friendship, and grief
This project examines the links between masculinity, friendship, and grief in a combination of creative work and critical analysis. The creative component consists of a thirteen-minute short dramatic film entitled 'Brothers' (2014). This film explores the different ways in which three young men react to the death of a close male friend. The film contains no dialogue and emphasises the importance of gestures, actions, and other forms of behaviour. The thesis is comprised of three main sections. The first situates masculine experiences of grief and friendship in a critical context by drawing on discourses from sociology and psychology. I argue that the feelings of individual men in relation to traumatic events such as bereavement are often hidden or repressed because of the need to present a stoic exterior, even during grieving rituals such as funerals. This kind of behaviour preserves the invulnerability often associated with dominant or idealised versions of masculinity. However, this tendency arguably inhibits male emotional intimacy and friendship, particularly during times of crisis. The second part of the thesis considers how these interrelated issues are represented cinematically through a close reading of the John Cassavetes film 'Husbands' (1970). 'Husbands' is concerned with the dissolute behaviour of three male friends in the aftermath of the death of a friend. Although the men are garrulous, they struggle to articulate their feelings. I employ research on performance in cinema, as well as criticism of Cassavetes’ work to interpret the slips in their masculine bravado. The final section engages in an exegesis of 'Brothers'. I reflect on the influence of Husbands on my project. I also discuss the ways in which 'Brothers' can be understood in terms of the critical frameworks established in the previous chapters. A Note About 'Brothers': The creative component of this project, the film 'Brothers', is included alongside this thesis on a DVD. The film can also be accessed online at https://vimeo.com/99519967 using the password 'masterscut'. A copy of the final shooting script is also included in the thesis as an appendix.