The Spaces between the Words

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In this thesis I examine how Spike Jonze’s Her represents the future city of Los Angeles by looking at how the film uses editing and mise-en-scène in order to create space. In the first chapter, I argue that the future city in Her can be characterized by an unmappibility that results in disorientation and alienation, similar to Jameson’s experience in the Bonaventure’s interior. In line with this, the second chapter demonstrates that Her’s postmodern generic urban landscape has no specific reference points, either to its history or to its inhabitants. Rather, it cannibalizes past styles and responds to stereotypes and stylistic connotations from the past. In doing so, the city is reduced to an aesthetic object, conceived to be functional and comfortable, but erased of its history. As I show in the final chapter, however, Jonze regularly creates a frame through the use of close-ups and shallow focus that temporally exclude the familiar flat and depthless landscape. Within the precarious, spherical confines of that frame, Jonze manages to infuse humanity into a simulation and turn the non-place into lived space, imbued with Theodore’s desires, memories and dreams, making affect and authentic connection possible. In this way, we see a postmodern landscape through a metamodern lens.
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