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Representations of suicide in cinema 

Representations of suicide in cinema
Chapter:
Representations of suicide in cinema
Author(s):

Gérard Camy

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198570059.003.0071
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date: 25 August 2019

In this chapter, representations of suicide in fiction film from the United States, Europe and South East Asia will be presented. Cinematic representations are helpful in addressing discourses on suicide worldwide. Typically, the sufferings of the characters that consider suicide or take their lives occupy a minor part of the plot in scenarios that highlight action, cultural and social reflection, or existential interrogations. In typical Hollywood dramas, redemption, punishment, lost love and solitude are the prime reasons for suicides; often as a consequence of genuine injustice. In the European films discussed, suicides on screen often attempt to open the screenplay to comments and reflections on the various tragic circumstances that bring the protagonists to such extremities. Refusal to recognize oneself in and by society appears to be an important reason for suicide. Another recurring theme is the wish to understand the motives behind the voluntary death of a peer. Much South East Asian cinema reflects the malaise of a society, its interiorized violence, fascination with death and the distress of a youth lacking excitement.

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