This master‘s thesis examines sociological film interpretation. It focuses in particular on the question of how film as an instrument of subversion can influence society and can reflect socially generated fears. In order to apply the considerations of social fears, subversive strategies and film-sociological theories two socially critical films will be analysed. First of all fear is defined as a human phenomenon and a short summary on the most important forms by Sigmund Freud is given. Furthermore, the terms “ideology” und “ideological state apparatus” are examined using the social-psychological research approaches by Louis Althusser and Sigmund Freud, with a focus on how they generate fear in culture and society. Additionally, the features of “affirmative culture” are elaborated on based on the research from Herbert Marcuse, Dieter Duhm und Erich Fromm. After the “ideological structural analysis” there is a short summary of the current social situation in western industrialized countries according to the social generated fears. These fears are divided into main groups of economic institutions and mass media. Their description serves for a further analysis of the development of fear within individuals.
The second chapter examines the meaning of “subversion” and its artistic strategies. After giving a historical review of the four most important fields of meaning of “cultural grammar” this phenomenon is explained in more detail. On this basis different forms of subversive communication strategies are discussed. In this connection the term “taboo” is analysed with regard to social, categorical und cinematic aspects. In addition, different research content according to perceptual psychology and formally aesthetic features is used in order to develop approaches for specific subversive strategies of design.
The third chapter presents different research approaches of current film sociology in preparation for my film analysis. It will be discussed how a film can reflect conscious or unconscious social conditions. The film-sociological study by Andrew Tudor provides a crucial basis of research on how film expresses ideological values and social fears. The ability of film to influence the collective memory in society is considered on the basis of the concept of cultural grammar.
The last chapter adopts the theoretical findings to two selected film examples. The main focus is a close look at the society-critical film “Fight Club” by David Fincher and the analysis of our documentary film “My identity is open”. Both films have a current connection to society and a highly subversive potential and are thus thematically relevant for the theories presented in this master`s thesis.