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Title: Concentrationary cinema : aesthetics and the camps
Author: John, Matthew Gareth
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis analyses what I will define as a concentrationary cinema in post-war France. It assesses the impact of the French surrealist poet Jean Cayrol on this cinema, via his theoretical writing on what he calls Lazarean art or 'un art concentrationnaire'. I use Cayrol's theory to re-read a number of films produced by Anatole Dauman's Argos Films in the period 1955-1982, thus extending Cayrol's thesis of 'un art concentrationnaire' beyond its original application to art. Concentrationary cinema is any form of cinema which, through specific aesthetic mechanisms, provides a politics of resistance to what the French political deportee David Rousset first defined as 'l'univers concentrationnaire'. It suggests that the threat of the concentrationary universe does not stop with the historical specificity of the Nazi concentration camp, but continues to migrate and return across different sites and different times in the landscape of our modernity. Consequently, the thesis shifts the focus on the camps away from the event now understood as the Holocaust, and its specific racial crime against the Jewish people, to the political violence against the human posed by what Cayrol terms 'la peste concentrationnaire'. Re-reading elements of the 'nouvelle vague' via the lens of Cayrol's concentrationary aesthetic provides a way of re-thinking the political motivation behind its cinematic production, and allows a reconciliation of poetics and political commitment that Sartre's thesis on committed art posits as diametrically opposed. My approach provides a way of re-thinking Cayrol's own influence in the period; it not only suggests a new relationship between the 'nouveau roman' and the 'nouvelle vague', but, given the links between his writing on the Lazarean and much of the critical theory of the Tel Quel group, suggests that what defines much of the artistic and intellectual activity of the period is a shared concern for the human.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available