Grand Guignol and new French extremity: horror, history and cultural context

HICKS, Oliver (2020). Grand Guignol and new French extremity: horror, history and cultural context. Masters, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This thesis will investigate and examine the French theatre The Grand-Guignol (1897-1962) and the film movement New French Extremity (1990s-roughly 2008). The theatre and the film movement will be examined in terms of their origins, evolutions and eventual declines. These will be related to French society and culture at the times as well as their historical contexts, for instance the long history of violence on French soil and the rise of the far-right in the 1980s/90s leading to the rise of New French Extremity. There will be an interrogation of the theatre and film movement’s use of ‘othering’, examining how they both alternately exploit the trope and subvert it, allying themselves with the so-called ‘other’. There will also be an examination of the term ‘Grand-Guignol violence’, often used colloquially to describe gruesome violence in entertainment. The term will be examined in relation to the stage violence inflicted during Grand-Guignol plays on stars like Paula Maxa and compared with the violence inflicted upon women in the mainly-female-led New French Extremity films. The escapist, entertaining violence of the theatre will also be contrasted with the nihilistic violence of New French Extremity, which often seeks to reinforce social commentary from the creative teams. The theatre and the film movement are both positioned as key moments in French horror history. This thesis will examine the ways that they are similar and the ways that they fundamentally differ, beyond their obvious stage/film barriers.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis advisor - O'Brien, Shelley
Thesis advisor - Shin, Chi Yun [0000-0002-0629-6928]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Shelley O'Brien and Chi Yun Shin
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 14:46
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 14:50

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