Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Interdisciplinary Studies in Film Studies and French and Francophone World Studies

First Advisor

Charles Altman

First Committee Member

Louis G Schwartz

Second Committee Member

Rosemarie Scullion

Third Committee Member

Steven Ungar

Fourth Committee Member

Roland Racevskis


At the turn of the 1960s, citation - a figure until then relatively rare in the fiction film - began to appear, if not frequently, at least with an insistent regularity. In breaching the self-contained world characteristic of most genres in the era of the classical fiction film, citation called forth spectators who would assume a much more significant share of hermeneutic work - not simply as the addressees of filmic narration, but also, alternately or simultaneously, as the witnesses of a certain type of representation unfolding in the present tense. While such double, or mixed spectatorial position has frequently been described and defined as a distinct sign of modernity in world cinema, citation has rarely found itself at the center of critical inquiries. Nor has it been defined with much precision comparatively with other intertextual modes.

"Citation in the French Fiction Film from the New Wave to the Present: Imagining a New Spectator" engages in this work of definition, underlining the specificities of a film citation with respect to literary citation, but also more generally to citation in discourse and language. Conceived as involving enunciation in part or as a whole, and affecting the expressive materials of cinema, citation thus goes beyond a mere diegetic appearance or a shared narrative form, by contrast to the reference or the remake, for instance. This in turn makes it possible, through the close analysis of a dozen fiction films, to isolate three major objects, the foci of a general function called "monstration." Citation points to the reality recorded and used for fiction; it uncovers the gestures and technologies, but also the textualization and discursive production at work in the fiction film; finally, it inscribes the present of spectatorial interpretation in the fiction film.

In examining the development of these critical faculties of citation over a period of a half-century, "Citation in the French Fiction Film from the New Wave to the Present: Imagining a New Spectator" opens further lines of questioning: first, the permanence, through citation or other figures, of dissociation and monstration in the fiction film, and ultimately a form of narrative fiction film more open to negotiation with the spectator - a type of work and a way to attend to images and sounds that may increasingly define cinema itself; second, the hypothesis that what citation involves within the fiction film may extend to the relation a certain understanding of citizenship has had with nationality in France historically, from the conception of signs to the model of community they implied. This early intuition explains the national scope of this corpus, and its ulterior developments constitute an investigation into the role played by cinema in the construction of French citizenship in the second half of the twentieth century.


citizenship, France


2, vi, 226 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 220-226).


Copyright 2010 Franck Le Gac