Pathos of the Privileged

Daniella Lopez, Lucia Meneses, Emmanuel Roberts, and Juliette Sicard

Pathos of the Privileged


Cinema, as a visual narrative, can convey and propagate significant cultural schemas. One of these schemas in early cinematic works was the simplistic depiction of male protagonists as homogeneous figures representing the masculine attributes universal to conceptions of manhood: strength, intelligence, rationality and psychological balance, leaving the emotional realm of personality to be inhabited by the female form. Our group was inspired to focus on the moral dilemma faced by the male protagonist in post World War II cinema due to its counterintuitive nature in the male dominated medium.

Our focus is on the trend of increased complexity in the emotional compass of male protagonists. This trend of increased emotional complexity moves away from objectifying the male protagonist as a symbol of pure masculinity, and rather shines a light on the universal nature of his conflicts as researched in the faculties of Psychology and Philosophy. In universalizing the male protagonist two cornerstones in cinema as a socially conscious narrative are reached: 1) showing a more well-rounded character and 2) a move towards more complex story lines and theatrical techniques to convey them.

Our focus will extended from an extensive analysis on the dilemmas that affect the male protagonist in a series of films that were released after World War II.  Much of the research and discussion on the topic tend to focus on the shift of the portrayal of the male antagonist in terms of masculinity and femininity.


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