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Title: The queer cinema of Jacques Demy
Author: Mulligan, Georgia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 6084
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines the cinema of Jacques Demy through a variety of queer and feminist lenses. It aims to investigate and politicise Demy’s marginalisation in French film culture, and place his cinema in its social and cinematic context in a way that few previous studies have done. Demy’s films trouble hierarchies of cultural value and binary oppositions, and they often include multiple cultural registers and modes of address, and draw from diverse cinematic traditions. In order to account for the films’ hybridity, the thesis uses several methodologies. It performs close analysis on ten of Demy’s thirteen feature films, in order to make arguments informed by theoretical frameworks such as camp, feminist writing on the women’s film, and recent queer theory on failure. Through an engagement with the contemporary reception of Demy’s films, the thesis also investigates the reasons for his marginalisation. The case study of Demy’s cinema is thereby used to challenge and complicate the canons and narratives of French cinema, with the understanding that canon formation reflects the values of dominant groups. The first chapter outlines where the thesis fits in a fairly sparse body of scholarly writing about Demy, and highlights key theoretical and methodological texts. Next, the thesis turns to Demy’s place in the French New Wave canon. This chapter analyses Lola (1961), La Luxure (1962) and La Baie des Anges (1963), and draws out issues of genre and address. Chapter three, on Demy’s ‘failed’ films, acknowledges that most of Demy’s films were critical and box-office failures. It analyses two of these films, Model Shop (1968) and Parking (1985). Chapter four, on camp, uncovers the political project of Demy’s camp aesthetics, by reading Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (1967) and L’Evénement le plus important depuis que l’homme a marché sur la lune (1973) through the lens of camp. Finally, chapter five argues that Demy’s use of Hollywood genres place these films in a specific and historicised emotional register. The case studies in this chapter are the sung melodramas Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964) and Une chambre en ville (1982), and the musical Trois places pour le 26 (1988). This thesis is among the first scholarly works to consistently approach Demy as a queer filmmaker, informed by extensive archival research into his films’ reception. It therefore represents a significant contribution to an emerging body of work on a heretofore neglected filmmaker.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Wolfson Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN1993 Motion Pictures