Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Film Studies


Richard Lowry

Committee Members

Arthur Knight

Robin Ellis


Filmmakers have regularly engaged the tension between fact and fiction in representing both the past and the present in their works. Attempting to better understand how the film form functions, this honors thesis examines three self-reflexive works (Opening Night (1988) by John Cassavetes, F for Fake (1973) by Orson Welles, and The Beaches of Agnès (2008) by Agnès Varda) that can be understood as “meta-films.” In these films, the auteurs construct their presence by including themselves on screen, but also by building a diegetic discourse around the issues that concern them, which include aging, the idea of “the end,” and film’s abilities (and failures) in creating a space where these issues are best represented. In establishing a theoretical frame that engages questions of memory, theater, photography, film, to name a few, this thesis draws especially on the works of Walter Benjamin, Jacques Lacan, and Jane Gallop, to complement its own analysis of the selected films. The thesis attempts to show how each of the creators eventually presents film as the solution to their problems (and as the best medium for self-expression and remembrance) despite explicitly acknowledging its limitations within their works, and how the auteurs’ use of doubles might tell us about them as individuals.

On-Campus Access Only