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Title: From paternal hegemony to the ethics of fraternity :the place of absent fathers in Le Jeune Cinéma Français
Authors: Park, Eun-Jee
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: In the 1990s a new generation of socially engaged filmmakers came to be known as le jeune cinéma français. Many of these filmmakers examined a whole range of social issues, with a particular aim of focusing on the representation of the French family. In these family portraits, the father, both as the traditional head of the family institution and as a stand-in for the State, is notably missing. This thesis inquires into the paternal absence in le jeune cinéma, and traces how the paternal crisis is related to the filmmakers’ practice of auteur cinema. The jeunes auteurs, rather than participating directly in political debate, make a case for cinema as a tool for an ethical engagement with the reality of those left behind by socio-economic change. Drawing on philosophical thinking developed by Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, this thesis discusses the ways le jeune cinéma seeks to move away from the oedipal association of the father with the law, and thereby to articulate the recognition of an ethical fraternity as opening up to the care and hospitality towards the Other. This thesis outlines specific ideals of new paternal models that le jeune cinéma proposes. Starting with an Introduction which develops the points made above and sets out the theoretical framework, this study then moves on to consider six emblematic films which alter the way the father is conceived through diverse paternal reconfigurations. Chapter 1 focuses on the figure of postcolonial father in Bye-bye (1995), while chapter 2 looks at dysfunctional patriarchy and the phantasmal return of the father in Y aura-t-il de la neige à noël? (1996). Chapter 3 then links the rural dystopia of La Vie de Jésus (1997) to its recourse to the paternal. Chapter 4 recuperates the disappearing working-class fathers of Marius et Jeannette (1997) by contextualising the film’s famille recomposée. In chapter 5, we see how Rosetta (1999) reconstructs the filial relation as a form of fraternal proximity and becoming-friend. Finally, chapter 6 explores the shift from paternal search to fraternal positioning written in the dynamics between the auteurs and the star of Drôle de Félix (2000). I conclude that le jeune cinéma must be understood as an articulation of changing landscape from paternal hegemony to the ethics of fraternity, and as such it replaces the way the auteurs are conceptualised from masters of their own narrative to the rendered vision of alterity and otherness.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Modern Languages

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