POSTPONED International Colloquium: French Cinema and the Challenge of Cinematic Genres

April 30, 2020 - 9:00am to May 2, 2020 - 5:00pm

While genre is a widely accepted notion in film and media studies, Raphaëlle Moine argues that in the case of France, “not only are there very few theoretical publications devoted to the notion of genre in cinema, but analytical studies privilege divisions by author, movement and style to the detriment of generic corpuses” (R. Moine, “Film, genre and interpretation,” 2009). One could qualify this observation and recall some of the conferences that have marked the last twenty years, including the 1998 Fifth International Symposium at Udine on the birth of cinematic genres, the colloquium “Literary Genres, Cinematographic Genres, and their Emotions” (Paris, 2014), and the recent study day “What does Cinema do to Literary Genres?” (KU Leuven, 2016). On the side of criticism the situation is equally nuanced. French critics have often been reproached for favoring auteurs at the expense of genres, but the recent publication of André Bazin’s complete works (Hervé Joubert-Laurencin, Macula ed., 2018) demonstrates that he often evaluated films based on their generic membership (“Crise du cinéma français – Scarface et le film de Gangsters,” Esprit, n° 22, mai 1946 ; “L’Homme: Burlesque et existentialisme,” L’Ecran français, n° 77, décembre 1946 ; “Un mélo musical: La Chanson du passé,” Le Parisien libéré, n° 753, janvier 1947, etc.). However, he did acknowledge during a 1957 round table at the Cahiers about auteurs, though these comments leave the realm of aesthetics for that of economics, that “the weakness of the European film industries is that they cannot rely on genres for current production. […] [O]ne of the problems of the French cinema may arise from its inability to sustain good basic genres that thrive, the way they do in America.” These introductory remarks are just so many views on genre, revealing how critical engagement with it has been simultaneously aesthetic and critical, industrial and economic. This colloquium thus proposes to explore the different aspects of genre in connection to the French film industry.

Tentative Program: 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Opening Remarks

Panel 1:  Testing the Limits of the Notion of Genre

“Le cinéma politique peut-il être un genre ? Sur la peur de la normalisation dans la tradition militante française” Raphaël Jaudon (Université Lumière Lyon 2)

“Pierre Clémenti : politique de l’autoportrait cinématographique” Aurel Rotival (Université Lumière Lyon 2)

“L’acteur et le genre : à propos de « Laurent Lafitte de la Comédie-Française »” Hélène Valmary (Université Caen-Normandie)

Reception

 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Panel 2: Genre Traditions à la française

“L’infortune du western à la française : les origines d’un échec patent” Louis Daubresse (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3)

“Le film policier français : à la recherche d’un genre perdu ?” Stéphane Ledien (Université Laval)

“Éclat de la comédie dans la tourmente du cinéma français des années 1960 : perspectives économiques d’un genre” Adrien Valgalier (Université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier)

Lunch

 

Panel 3: Genre Hybridity, Politics, and Intersectionality

La Haine and le cinema de banlieue: A Reassessment” Brett Bowles (Indiana University)

“Inventing Transgender Relationality: The New Girlfriend” Todd Reeser (University of Pittsburgh)

“Writing Fantasies: Freud, Barthes, Foucault, Ozon” Kaliane Ung (University of Pittsburgh)

 

Panel 4: Relating Auteurs and Genres

“Olivier Assayas and auteur genre cinema” Margaret C. Flinn (The Ohio State University)

“« Roubaix, une lumière » ou comment la fiction rachète l’infamie (documentée)” Sébastien David (Université Lumière Lyon 2)

“Des mystères chrétiens à la mystique de Bruno Dumont” Luc Vancheri (Université Lumière Lyon 2)

Reception/Dinner

 

Saturday, May 2, 2020

 

Panel 5: Genres and the Historiography of Film Movements

“Alice ou la dernière fugue (Claude Chabrol, 1977) : l’art d’un fantastique à la française” Hélène Frazik (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

“La tradition littéraire des genres et la pensée française : l’exemple du « réalisme poétique »” Benjamin Labé (Université Lumière Lyon 2)

“What if the qualité française was indeed a film genre? A Non-Territorial Approach to Postwar French Cinema” Tadas Bugnevicius (Yale University)

Lunch

 

Panel 6: The Question of French Horror

“A Certain Tendency in French Horror Cinema: Rhetorical, Aesthetic and Industrial Shifts” Maxime Bey-Rozet (University of Pittsburgh)

“Genre et auteurisme à la lumière du « néo-giallo »” Philippe Met (University of Pennsylvania)

“Horror and French Quality TV: The Case of Les Revenants” David Pettersen (University of Pittsburgh)

 

Panel 7: Genre and The Boundaries of Realism

“Too Much Sex and Violence: Sagat, Histoire du cinéma, and the French Pornographic Documentary” Jonathan Devine (University of Pittsburgh)

“L’avènement du journal filmé au sein du cinéma documentaire français” Rémi Fontanel (Université Lumière Lyon 2)

“Le glissement pornographique dans le cinéma français courant : vers une pornographie de qualité” Lionel Renaud (Laboratoire Lorrain de Sciences Sociales)

 

Closing Remarks

Directions and Parking Information

Organizers: Rémi Fontanel, Maître de conférences, Université Lumière Lyon 2 ; David Pettersen, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh ; Luc Vancheri, Professeur, Université Lumière Lyon 2