Anglia Ruskin Research Online (ARRO)
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Narrating female trauma and recovery journeys on film: a practice-based research into the therapeutic potential of film through narrative and cinematic devices

posted on 2023-08-30, 20:35 authored by Sara R. Elias
This practice-based PhD narrates filmic representations of female trauma and recovery journeys within the context of Arab cinema, while attempting to identify the most impactful cinematic and narrative techniques for representing and reflecting on lived experiences of trauma recovery. Drawing on trauma theory and existing filmic accounts of female experiences of trauma, the project attempts to create a healing narrative that positions the viewer as a witness within a framework that emphasises the redemptive capacities of film. The research project comprises both a written component and an audio-visual component. The written component revisits trauma theory and the various methods of trauma recovery established by Caruth (1995), Kaplan (2004) and Herman (2005). The thesis also examines trauma cinema and the cinematic representation of female trauma within selected local and global contexts. Case studies are used to inform a theoretical framework by which to understand the stages of trauma recovery in film narrative; Correspondingly, the thesis offers a critical analysis of the data collection methods used for the formation of particular films’ narratives and discusses the different stages of their production to reflect on conceptions of the auteur director and personal regeneration and their occurrence within filmic development. The audio-visual component is a prototype film called Metanoia (beyond fear). The film is based on a collection of healing testimonies shared by Arab women through individual interviews, secondary data, personal recollections and auto- ethnography. This prototype film employs a select range of narrative and aesthetic techniques identified through the research process as part of its practice. The aim is to represent trauma in its different phases, types and symptoms. The overall ambition is to create a redemptive narrative where audiences can share in the protagonists’ journeys of working through trauma from a safe witnessing position.



Anglia Ruskin University

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