Teacher Blogs

A Level Film

IB Film

Film Library

Codes & Conventions

Legacy Resources

Useful Materials

Popular Film & Emotional Response: All That Heaven Allows & Far From Heaven

Rob Miller | Wednesday July 01, 2015

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS A2, FM4, Section B: Spectatorship Topics, Analysis, Film Analysis, Film History, Films & Case Studies, Directors, Douglas Sirk, Todd Haynes, Hollywood Films, All That Heaven Allows, Far From Heaven, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Audience

An Analysis of Two Close Study Films

This resource analyses two close study films All That Heaven Allows (1955) and Far From Heaven (2002) in relation to the FM4 Spectatorship topic, Popular Film and Emotional Response while cross-referencing key points with Imitation of Life (1959). Todd Haynes’ 2002 American drama Far From Heaven makes clear intertextual references to Douglas Sirk’s 1955 and 1959 films All That Heaven Allows and Imitation of Life in terms of style and themes although arguably ‘paints’ using a broader, more contemporary ‘brush’ when representing issues of race, gender roles, sexuality and social class despite being set in the same time period (the 1950s). Class and political representations remain a fundamental theme running through Sirk’s work with himself being Danish/German born and ‘chased out’ of Europe by the film making restrictions of the Nazis – highly regarded by Jean-Luc Godard as a liberal/left wing humanitarian filmmaker Sirk never returned to filmmaking after directing the last of the Universal-International distributed romantic melodrama, Imitation of Life.

It is initially important to define the concept of spectatorship in how we, as an audience are positioned into feeling, thinking and often judgingemotional, sensory and cognitive responses. The idea of mainstream film is also important here with All That Heaven Allows evidencing a Universal-International mainstream theatrical release with Far From Heaven initially drawing critical response, with some commercial success. Both films manipulate the audience with encoded ideology while also allowing the audience to surrender to the film experience – Sirk’s and Haynes’ at time almost identical colour palette’s present a lush visual style which is aesthetically pleasing to the spectator while narratively speaking clearly crosses over both films. Even the enfant terrible of New German Cinema, Rainer Werner Fassbinder...


Please subscribe or log in to access the rest of this resource (including associated media).

This website offers a wealth of enriched content to help you help your students with GCSE & A Level Film. Please subscribe or log in to access this content.

The content of this site has been produced by teachers and examiners. Edusites have similar support sites for English and Media called Edusites English and Edusites Media.

If you would like more information about Edusites Film, get in touch using the contact details below.

Kind regards, Richard Gent
Edusites Ltd

[email] admin@edusites.co.uk
[telephone] 01604 847689
[fax] 01604 843220