Human Anatomy in Cinema

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Adriano Ferreira da Silva; Catia Helena de Almeida Lima Massari & Edson Aparecido Liberti


A corpse is the body's final destination and, as a social construction, it challenges Western cultural taboos and practices around the corpse, having been shown in cinema. The present paper aims to analyze 17 films that portray Human Anatomy, identifying which themes specifically related to morphological sciences are addressed, namely: a) reactions to first contact with a cadaver, b) medical school and dissection classes, c) origin of cadavers, d) anatomy and suspense or horror movies, e) romance, drama and comedy, f) body snatchers/ resurrectionists, g) anatomical techniques, h) racism, prejudice and anatomy. This is a critical review of films in which, after thorough triple- blind analysis by the authors, it was observed that the encounter with the cadaver provides a series of emotions to the characters participating in the practical anatomy classes shown in the films, such as apprehension, fear, disgust, curiosity, etc. Generally, this surprising contact between the living and the dead is associated with the practice of dissection, which often results in the accentuation of emotions previously reported. From all this, it is concluded that the history of the teaching of Human Anatomy has been interestingly portrayed in cinema from different points of view.

KEYWORDS: Medical Education; Gross Anatomy; Corpse; Cadaver; Movies.

How to cite this article

DA SILVA, A. F.; MASSARI, C. H. A. L. & LIBERTI, E. A. Human anatomy in cinema. Int. J. Morphol., 41(5):1421-1426, 2023.