Real Objects in Unreal Situations

Modern Art in Fiction Films

Susan Felleman

Real Objects in Unreal Situations

Susan Felleman

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

216 pages | 16 color plates, 34 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2014
Paper $28.50 ISBN: 9781783202508 Published July 2014 Not for sale in the United Kingdom or Europe
Real Objects in Unreal Situations is a lucid account of a much neglected subject in art and cinema studies: the material significance of the art object incorporated into the fiction film. By examining the historical, political, and personal realities that situate the art works, Susan Felleman offers an incisive account of how they operate not as objects but as powerful players within the films, thereby exceeding the narrative function of mere props, copies, pastiches, or reproductions. The book consists of a series of interconnected case studies of movies, including Pride & Prejudice, The Trouble with Harry, and The Player, ultimately showing that when real art works enter into fiction films, they embody themes and discourses in a way that other objects often cannot. 


Introduction: The Work of Art in the Space of Its Material Dissolution

1. Doubly Immortal: The Song of Songs (1933)

2. Suspect Modernism: Venus von Gericht (1941) and Muerte de un ciclista (1955)

3. The World Gone Wiggy: The Trouble with Harry (1955)

4. Art of the Apocalypse: The Damned (1961)

5. Object Choices: An Unmarried Woman (1978) and The Player (1992)

6. Subjects, Objects, and Erotic Upheaval at Pemberley: Pride & Prejudice (2005)



Review Quotes
“A fascinating study of modern art in a group of American and European films. Felleman adroitly examines how sculptures and paintings hold up in the film medium as much more than props and reproductions. Her perceptive visual analyses of art’s seminal role of her chosen eight films reveals how art evokes such themes as freedom, mystery, playfulness, sexual awakening and passion, existential angst, gender politics, and threats to the status quo. . . .  An important contribution to film studies.”
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