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Committee Members

Hope Jennings (Committee Chair), Donovan Miyasaki (Committee Member), Nicole Richter (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Humanities (MHum)


This thesis will examine how the characters in three contemporary surrealist films, Mulholland Dr. (2001), Under the Skin (2013), and Melancholia (2011), experience the sublime. In each film, the female characters are marked by the "otherness" of femininity along with the consequential philosophical and social alienation due to their marginalized roles within the patriarchal structure. Their confrontations with the otherness of sublimity are disparate from their male counterparts, whose experiences are not complicated by patriarchal oppression. The sublimity the characters are faced with forces them to recognize their subjugated social positioning. All three films will be examined to analyze different methods used by the characters when interacting with sublime forces, and the extent to which those methods aid the characters when confronting oppression. By examining these films alongside each other, it will be argued that they represent a range of feminine subjectivities as they employ varying strategies of confronting sublimity.

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