Gesture in French post-New Wave cinema
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Embargo end date09/07/2020
Giraud, François Luc Pascal
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This thesis examines gesture in French post-New Wave cinema. This overlooked period in French film history emerged in the wake of the decline of the New Wave from the second half of the 1960s onwards. Made by Francophone filmmakers, writers, and artists such as Georges Perec, Bernard Queysanne, Chantal Akerman, Jean-Luc Godard, Pierre Klossowski, Pierre Zucca, Fernand Deligny, Renaud Victor, and Jacques Rivette, the films of my corpus reaffirm the primacy of gestures in talking cinema and explore new manners of filming, performing, and/or editing them. The post-New Wave develops a profusion of cinematic approaches and styles to represent the body as well as the ritualisation of attitudes, postures, and gestures. Drawing on the origins of cinema and, to a certain extent, on other arts such as painting and sculpture, the filmmakers under discussion reveal the pivotal position of gesture in the aesthetics of cinema. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the thesis aims to understand the role of gesture in post-New Wave cinema, by analysing its interplay with film technology, its relationship with the visual and performing arts, as well as its reception by the spectator. Gesture is a non-verbal form of expression and communication which enables us to consider, on the one hand, the ontology and the medium specificity of cinema, and, on the other hand, the concept of intermediality, that is, the relations between the moving image and other arts and media.