Thursday 21st June, 1-2.30 pm, Room B06, School of Arts, 43-46 Gordon Square
The moment a serious diagnosis is announced creates an important crisis for a patient, as it shifts their sense of self and of their future potential. This presentation discusses the creative representation and use of the diagnostic moment in film narratives. It combines a sociological framework to understand diagnosis with the tools of film analysis. Using Still Alice, A Late Quartet, Wit and Cléo from 5 to 7 as examples, we describe how each of these uses the diagnostic moment in relation to narrative construction and characterisation in recognisable ways. We associate the diagnostic moment with certain narrative and visual devices as means for character development, and for managing the audience’s empathy. This is the case whether or not the diagnosis is contested or accepted, and if the diagnostic moment is the frame for the narrative, or a closing device. By analysing its representation in film we emphasise the cultural significance of diagnosis as a life-transforming event and the terms by which narrative explores the modalities of individual, social and cultural transformation.
Annemarie Jutel, is Professor of Health at Victoria University (NZ). She is a critical diagnosis scholar who is best known for her work on the sociology of diagnosis. She is author of the JHUP published Putting a Name to It: Diagnosis in Contemporary Society, and of a forthcoming book “Telling it like it is?” about the diagnostic moment and its transformative power.
Thierry Jutel is Associate Professor in the Film Programme at Victoria University (NZ). Thierry writes on cinema as an aesthetic, cultural, social, technological, and industrial object. His recent work includes an exploration of the diagnostic moment as a story-telling device in film and television.
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Image: Dr Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) receives her Alzheimer’s diagnosis in Still Alice (dir. Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland, 2014)