Update to Research Page and to my Doctorate

December 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve updated the research page on this site with relevant links to latest research activity and to samples of my doctorate (sample of first 16 pages, bibliography) which I’m happy to say I successfully defended last month: it talks of hokum, ballyhoo, and the pleasures of silent cinema….Reel Journal, 20 nov. 1926

You need to contact me for the whole dissertation (right now it’s in French only, sorry). Here’s the official summary in English:

In the 1920s, as Hollywood cinema is undergoing industrial institutionalization, critical and advertising discourses maintain active a spectatorial pleasure derived from the sensational presence of reality in fiction films. The notion of « realism » used in those discourses is a « cluster concept » aiming on the one hand to derive cinema’s legitimacy from the serious purpose of realistic arts, and on the other to emphasize the relationship between film and the reality of on location or studio shooting, of the manufacturing of films, and of the tricks behind the realistic illusion. Those discourses therefore reveal all that is real in how fiction works in films and support a realistic project to construct an active and non-illusionistic spectatorial gaze that is invited to analyze film as an artifical illusion. These discourses are extended to spectators’ daily life through advertising practices that aim to create a playful space of reception where reality and romance merge in circus-inspired ballyhoo, in lobby decorations, and in on-stage prologues before, or during, the film. This realistic gaze developped by such discourses and practices allows us to analyze the reception of Hollywood silent films as a playful and participative moment. Aiming to awaken spectators’ senses and sharpen their attention, such discourses and practices allow us to raise the question of a Hollywood realism that would aim to create an active, conscious and critical game with the filmic illusion.

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