Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
T. Kim-Trang Tran
© 2022 Ellen Schoenfeld
San Bernardino Lullaby investigates misogyny, restriction, and freedom through the female gaze. Inspired by fiction and non-fiction examples of the reclamation of space and power by women, I explore these ideas by portraying an unconventional toxic relationship between an unnamed male and female character. I reflect on and process these unhealthy dynamics and the restrictive forces of domesticity, highlighting the dreams that misogyny crushes into bits. What solutions do women have in these situations? How do they remove themselves from unhealthy, unstable environments? How far will they go to achieve freedom? The male character is domineering and aggressive, correcting and controlling the helpless female character. The film highlights her powerlessness and the restriction of their relationship by featuring no dialogue. This action places importance on the body language and physicality of the characters to relay the story. As tension builds, demonstrated through their physical interactions, aggravated behaviors, and a duet on the piano, the female character becomes overwhelmed. Fearing for her safety and overcome with anger, she murders the male character. She frees herself from her situation and can start her life anew; the film concludes with her playing the piano at peace. Through the female character’s journey, San Bernardino Lullaby explores the complicated forms of justice that result from violent freedom and reflects on the catharsis of that act, which media allows us to experience as viewers. It claims that violence is not the only solution, but if possible, removing oneself is the best way to achieve liberation.
Schoenfeld, Ellen, "Processing Toxicity: Investigating Unhealthy Relationships Through Narrative Film" (2022). Scripps Senior Theses. 1821.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.