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  • 2019glewphd

    Rights statement: Copyright Billy Glew 16th February 2020

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Screen Dreams: a practice-based investigation of filmic dream sequences, using the dream theories of Freud, Jung, Revonsuo and Hobson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Billy Glew
Publication date2020
Number of pages281
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis is a practice-based investigation into the production of filmic dream sequences. The research aims to demonstrate how the dream theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Allan J. Hobson and Antti Revonsuo, incorporated into film-making practice, affects the production of dream sequences. The thesis asks: Which techniques denote a film sequence as depicting a dream and how closely do filmic dream sequences correlate with the dream theories of Freud, Jung, Revonsuo and Hobson? In support of answering this question, the thesis investigates what variations in styles of dream sequence are produced by using different combinations of dream-denoting elements. As part of the practice-research, I explore methods for incorporating representations of latent dream content.

After reviewing and comparing the selected dream theories, I compare two opening film sequences with similar content, 8 ½ (Federico Fellini, 1963), depicting a dream, and Falling Down (Joel Schumacher, 1993), depicting waking reality, discovering eight dream-denoting film-making techniques. Building on these findings, I analyse a further 49 dream sequences, revealing four additional dream-denoting techniques. I then analyse the dream sequences for correlation with the selected dream theories, including to discover if latent content is ever explicitly represented. I use the findings from my analyses to inform the production of a series of filmic dream sequences, with each film incorporating one or more of the selected dream theories into each stage of production.

The thesis addresses several gaps in theoretical and practice-based film research. In film theory, the thesis provides a structured, repeatable methodology for filmic analysis specific to dream sequences and summarises the form and content of dream sequences up to the present, identifying twelve dream-denoting elements. In practice, the thesis researches detailed methods for producing dream sequences in narrative film including representing latent content, by creatively interpreting and using different combinations of psychoanalytic and neurocognitive dream theories.