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Death and life at the cinematic beach
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2013, 00:00 authored by Sean RedmondSean Redmond
In this article, I will examine the ways in which the beach and its shoreline is designated as both a mortal and immortal location in cinema. On the one hand, I will suggest that the beach and the shoreline can bring death to those who visit it temporarily or who go there to claim it as a permanent home of their own. The beach creates a set of narrative and aesthetic possibilities for tragic endings, murderous encounters, physical and existential suicides, and spectacular battles between opposing forces to take place. The dangerous beach, then, is locatable as a site that participates in, and helps enact, loss and the death wishes of those who come to contemplate endings, kill or fight on its shifting sands, watery edges and lost horizons. On the other hand, the beach and its shoreline will be understood as a liminal place and space, where regeneration possibilities are enacted. In cinema, death at the beach and its shoreline may not always be the end but a new start beyond the life of the frame. At the beach, within the coastal water, mortality becomes immortality, flesh and body becomes transcendence and spirit, and the death of one self can lead to the (re)birth of another.