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Representations of sexuality in the films of François Ozon

By Alice Stanley

Abstract

This is a study of the shorts and feature films by the young, prolific French film\ud director, François Ozon. The thesis uncovers the impact of Ozon’s oeuvre on\ud cinematic audiences. The films raise questions about death, desire and sexual\ud relationships in unsettling and surprising ways, through a variety of different\ud genres. This thesis focuses on close textual reading of the films, employing\ud feminist and queer theory to underline and echo the implications of Ozon’s\ud representations of sexuality; here it is argued that Ozon’s work presents a\ud challenge to heteronormative ideology and culture. In particular, this study\ud suggests that Ozonian cinema encourages the spectator to take up a fluid and\ud non-normative viewing position often denied in mainstream narrative cinema.\ud This study focuses on analyses of taboo, trauma and loss, as well as\ud generic conventions and gender performances which refer to psychoanalytic,\ud feminist and queer understandings of certain behaviours and situations; quotidian,\ud but intense, experiences in the films emphasize ways in which the human subject\ud struggles with the expression of desire and sexuality. Although not as radical as\ud queer theorists or film critics may wish, Ozon’s films often use comedy and irony to\ud illustrate the problems of a restrictive patriarchal society and the way it can harm\ud individuals, thus unsettling the normative assumptions on which the majority of\ud social structures are still based. Ozonian cinema, this thesis argues, thus presents\ud a compassionate and, indeed, political comment on contemporary French and\ud European society

Topics: HQ, PN1993
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:3195

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