A video essay on classical and post-classical representations of death in cinema.

This video essay focuses on Edmund Goulding’s Dark Victory (1939; Bette Davis, George Brent, Humphrey Bogart, Ronald Reagan) and Patrice Chereau’s Son frere (2003; Bruno Todeschini, Eric Caravaca), respectively.

Essay written by Elysse Leonard, edited by Christopher Heron, sound recording by Brian Robertson and narrated by John Cohen.


This video essay was first published on May of 2012.

Works Cited:

Bronfen, Elisabeth. Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic. Manchester: Manchester University, 1992.

Hansen, Miriam. “”With Skin and Hair”: Kracauer’s Theory of Film, Marseille 1940.” Critical Inquiry 19.3 (1993): 437-69.

Kracauer, Siegfried. Theory of Film: the Redemption of Physical Reality. New York: Oxford UP, 1960.

Lederer, Susan E. “Dark Victory: Cancer and Popular Hollywood Film.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 81.1 (2007): 94-115.

Russell, Catherine. Narrative Mortality: Death, Closure, and New Wave Cinemas. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1995.

Sobchack, Vivian. “Inscribing Ethical Space: Ten Propositions on Death, Representation, and Documentary.” Carnal Thoughts: Embodiment and Moving Image Culture. Berkeley: University of California, 2004. 226-57.

Tanner, Laura E. “Terminal Illness and the Gaze.” Lost Bodies: Inhabiting the Borders of Life and Death. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 2006. 19-39.