Discuss the Representation of ‘Hard Bodies’ in Two Films of Your Choice. What Do You Understand the Term to Mean? How Does This Notion Help to Construct the Narrative of the Film?

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Discuss the representation of ‘hard bodies’ in two films of your choice. What do you understand the term to mean? How does this notion help to construct the narrative of the film? In this essay I will discuss the importance of the body in film. I will analyse the signifying factors a body has and the changing definition of the term ‘hard body’. I will discuss how the hard body can influence a films narrative whilst using relevant research to support my work. I chose to look at Fight Club (David Fincher - 1999) as well as Rebel without a Cause. (Nicholas Ray - 1995). A characters body plays a vital role in film, an audience are easily able to recognise certain stereotypes, partially through the differences in a characters body. This is due to the body acting as a signifier. Chris Shilling suggests that ‘The body offers potential boundaries to the self and presents both the uniqueness of each individual and a site for the marking of difference.’ (1997.p65) The bodies used in film alter over time in correspondence to changes in society. In Trainspotting (Danny Boyle – 1996) the skinny male body is used to reflect the economic depression in parts of Scotland in the 1980’s. The representations of gender roles also change in relation to society, the definition of masculinity and what makes a man, changes over periods of time and widely varies cross-culturally. In the 1980’s, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis were two major masculine stereotypes, their bodies conformed to everything that it meant to be a man. Stallone and Willis were used as they were muscular, powerful and strong, they were also shown as working class. Neo-Marxist theorists believe that it is the higher classes who have control over the media output and therefore would suggest that the masculine stereotypes of Stallone and Willis were created through people with a
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