Explores the philosophical, literary, and psychoanalytic significance of film endings.
Editing has been called the language of cinema, and thus a film's ending can be considered the final punctuation mark of this language, framing everything that came before and offering the key to both our interpretation and our enjoyment of a film. In Cinematic Cuts, scholars explore the philosophical, literary, and psychoanalytic significance of film endings, analyzing how film endings engage our fantasies of cheating death, finding true love, or determining the meaning of life. They examine how endings offer various forms of enjoyment for the spectator, from the momentary fulfillment of desire in the happy ending to the pleasurable torment of an indeterminate ending. The contributors also consider how film endings open onto larger questions relating to endings in our time. They suggest how a film ending's hidden counternarrative can be read as a political act, how our interpretation of a film ending parallels the end of a psychoanalytical session, how film endings reveal our anxieties and fears, and how cinema itself might end with the increasing intervention of digital technologies that reorient the spectator's sense of temporality and closure. Films by Akira Kurosawa, Lars von Trier, Joon-Hwan Jang, Claire Denis, Christopher Nolan, Jane Campion, John Huston, and Spike Jonze, among others, are discussed.
Sheila Kunkle is Associate Professor of Individualized Studies at Metropolitan State University and the coeditor (with Todd McGowan) of Lacan and Contemporary Film.