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One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Rain Man - Dissertation Example

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One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Rain Man

Theoretical debates on the subject are summarised, and the ambivalence of contemporary society towards mental illness is explained in the light of these at times conflicting perspectives. This review, therefore, provides a firm theoretical foundation for analysis of the representation of madness in films.
 The empirical part of this study starts in section 3. Two films are selected for close analysis. Section 3 deals with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Forman, 1975) and section 4 deals with Rain Man (Levinson, 1988). In each case, the film is set in its context, and the representation of madness, or mental illness, is carefully analyzed. Evidence from the film is collated and discussed. The reception of each film is also presented and discussed, revealing how these issues were perceived both by audiences and by academic critics. Finally in section 5 the two films and their reception are compared, showing how an evolution in social attitudes towards mental illness has taken place over the last fifty years in the United States, and arguably also across the Western world which is heavily influenced by mass market films such as the two under discussion in this study. The implications of this change for modern Western societies are considered, as well as the limitations of these filmic representations and the considerable tensions and ambiguities which still remain and are carried into the new millennium.
 There is a vast literature on the way that madness has been defined and dealt with throughout history, and another huge amount of material available on literary and cinematic representations of madness. It would not be feasible to cover all of this ground and so for the purposes of the present study, a two-part literature review will suffice. ...Show more
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Summary

This study “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Rain Man” examines the concept of mental illness, sometimes labeled as madness, deviance, or disability, with particular reference to the way that these issues are represented in two films…
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