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Existentialism and Contemporary Cinema

A Beauvoirian Perspective

Edited by Jean-Pierre Boulé and Ursula Tidd

198 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-729-5 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Published (September 2012)

ISBN  978-1-78238-903-3 $27.95/£19.00 Pb Published (February 2015)

eISBN 978-0-85745-730-1 eBook


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“This is a lively collection of [challenging and enriching] essays which thoroughly demonstrates the importance of de Beauvoir’s thought to film studies.” · Journal of American Studies of Turkey

“This volume emerges at a time of reinvigorated interest both in the work of Simone de Beauvoir and in its implications for screen studies and film philosophy…The revitalization of Beauvoir’s thought comes from the capacity of the films themselves to stage, choreograph, and reframe the complex possibilities of feminine and, by extension, human experience. This book aptly stages such an encouraging philosophical aspiration.” · French Studies

“The volume convincingly demonstrates the enduring value of Beauvoir’s work, and makes a very  distinctive contribution to contemporary French film studies.” · Modern and Contemporary France

“[The editors] accomplish this genre’s most important task: framing the collection with an urgency that leads a reader to wonder how such a book didn’t already exist…By the time I’d reached the end of the book, I wanted more [which] suggests the strength of this book, its provocative existential claims a compelling reason for its own existence.” · H-France Review

“This collection of essays on the relationship between Simone de Beauvoir's philosophy and film studies is very welcome and long overdue… The book achieves the [editors'] stated aim and demonstrates beyond question the potential for exciting and illuminating film thinking that lies in the bringing together of Beauvoir's work and cinema…. The alignment between Beauvoir and films may not always be so direct, but the possibilities for what the relationship might yield are excitingly indicated by this collection.” · Journal of Contemporary European Studies

“This book makes an original and valuable contribution to film studies and to French studies... Its intellectual agenda is innovative and worthwhile.” · Diana Holmes, University of Leeds

“This is an excellent volume of essays which addresses a relatively neglected topic and conceptual approach, and is of relevance across a range of interrelated areas, specifically film studies, French studies, existentialist studies, philosophy, modern cultural and media studies.” · Edmund Smyth, Manchester Metropolitan University

Simone de Beauvoir’s work has not often been associated with film studies, which appears paradoxical when it is recognized that she was the first feminist thinker to inaugurate the concept of the gendered ‘othering’ gaze. This book is an attempt to redress this balance and reopen the dialogue between Beauvoir’s writings and film studies. The authors analyse a range of films, from directors including Claire Denis, Michael Haneke, Lucille Hadzihalilovic, Sam Mendes, and Sally Potter, by drawing from Beauvoir’s key works such as The Second Sex (1949), The Ethics of Ambiguity (1947) and Old Age (1970).

Jean-Pierre Boulé is Professor of Contemporary French Studies at Nottingham Trent University and the author of a number of books, notably on Sartre, including Sartre médiatique (1992) and Sartre, Self-Formation and Masculinities (2005). He is the co-founder of the U.K. Sartre Society and executive editor of Sartre Studies International. His most recent books include Jean-Paul Sartre: Mind and Body, Word and Deed, co-edited with Benedict O’Donohoe (2011) and a companion volume to the present one, Existentialism and Contemporary Cinema: A Sartrean Perspective, co-edited with Enda McCaffrey (2011).

Ursula Tidd is Senior Lecturer in French Studies at the University of Manchester. She is the author of three monographs: Simone de Beauvoir, Gender and Testimony (1999); Simone de Beauvoir, Routledge ‘Critical Thinkers’ series (2004) and Simone de Beauvoir Reaktion ‘Critical Lives’ series (2009) as well as articles and chapters on Beauvoir’s autobiographies, fiction, and philosophy. She is currently writing a monograph on the Francophone Spanish Holocaust writer Jorge Semprún (forthcoming with Legenda/MHRA 2013).

Subject: Film Studies
Area: France



Contents

Acknowledgements

Introduction
Jean-Pierre Boulé and Ursula Tidd

Chapter 1. Beauvoir’s Children: Girlhood in Innocence
Emma Wilson

Chapter 2. Devenir Mère’: Trajectories of the Maternal Bond in Recent Films starring Isabelle Huppert
Ursula Tidd

Chapter 3. Claire Denis’s Chocolat and the Politics of Desire
Jean-Pierre Boulé

Chapter 4. Revolutionary Road and The Second Sex
Constance Mui and Julien Murphy

Chapter 5. Simone de Beauvoir, Melodrama and the Ethics of Transcendence
Linnell Secomb

Chapter 6. La Petite Jérusalem: Freedom and Ambiguity in the Paris banlieues
Claire Humphrey

Chapter 7. ‘How Am I Not Myself?’ Engaging Ambiguity in David O. Russell’s I ♥ Huckabees
Bradley Stephens

Chapter 8. Encounters with the ‘Third Age’: Benguigui’s Inch’Allah dimanche and Beauvoir’s Old Age
Michelle Royer

Chapter 9. Eastwood Reading Beauvoir Reading Eastwood: Ageing and Combative Self-Assertion in Gran Torino and Old Age
Oliver Davis

Chapter 10. Les Belles Images? Mid-Life Crisis and Old Age in Tamara Jenkins’ The Savages
Susan Bainbrigge

Chapter 11. Feminist Phenomenology and the Films of Sally Potter
Kate Ince

Notes on Contributors
Index

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