Puzzling Pictures: Game Structures and Playful Spectatorship in Hitchcock, Resais and Tati Open Access

Roberts, John William (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/n009w2721?locale=en
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Abstract

This study seeks to examine the relationship between play activity and film spectatorship. Operating on the premise that all spectatorship is necessarily a subset of play activity, but that in certain cases film can solicit a mode of spectatorship more closely akin to game-playing, this study analyzes the ways in which particularly ludically oriented films and filmmakers rhetorically and aesthetically engage with the spectator's own strategic spectatorial activity. In doing so it also traces a discursive arc between the three filmmakers whose films comprise the primary objects of study. Chapter one discusses the Hitchcock cameo and its function in suggesting the existence of other secret images, and using The Wrong Man (1956) and Vertigo (1958) as primary examples, argues that the process of identifying the cameo and audiovisual rebuses incentivizes a resistance to classical viewing norms. Chapter two examines Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet's Last Year at Marienbad (1961), looking specifically at how that film, following Hitchcock, renders the spectatorship as an agonistic game through its challenging spatiotemporal construction. Finally, an analysis of Jacques Tati's Playtime (1967) explores how the ludic strategies of both Hitchcock and Resnais are synthesized into one film, and how the interpretative anxieties implicit in those earlier strategies are transformed and redeemed as elements of a joyful and explicitly playful relationship between the spectator and the screen.

Table of Contents

Introduction.......................................1

Chapter One: The Wrong Man.............23

Chapter Two: Last Year at Marienbad...49

Chapter Three: Playtime.....................70

Conclusion........................................92

Bibliography......................................98

Filmography....................................103

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