Films of the New French Extremity

Films of the New French Extremity

by Alexandra West


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Films of the New French Extremity by Alexandra West

The films of the New French Extremity have been reviled by critics but adored by fans and filmmakers. Known for graphically brutal depictions of sex and violence, the subgenre emerged from the French art-house scene in the late 1990s and became a cult phenomenon, eventually merging into the horror genre where it became associated with American torture porn. Decidedly French in flavor, the films seek to reveal the dark side of French society. This book provides an in-depth study of New French Extremity, focusing on such films as Trouble Every Day (2001), Irreversible (2002), Twentynine Palms (2003), High Tension (2003) and Martyrs (2008). The author explores the social implications of cinematic cruelty presented not as "violent films" but as "films about violence."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476663487
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 05/20/2016
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Alexandra West has written about genre films for The Toronto Star, Rue Morgue Magazine and Offscreen Film Journal. In 2012, she co-founded the Faculty of Horror podcast, exploring the films’ analytical side. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Foreword Andrea Subissati 1

Introduction 5

1 Vive la Révolution! France's Bloody and Divided History 13

2 Cinéma pour Tous: The Film Industry in France 32

3 Time Destroys All Things: Gaspar Noé's Came (1991), I Stand Alone (1998) and Irréversible (2002) 45

4 Body Commodification: Romance (1999), Pola X (1999) and Baise-moi (2000) 56

5 In Wolf's Clothing: Sombre (1998) and L'Humanité (1999) 70

6 Fine Young Cannibals: Trouble Every Day (2001) and In My Skin (2002) 81

7 Lovers in a Dangerous Time: Criminal Lovers (1999) and Twentynine Palms (2003) 93

8 Without Borders: Intimacy (2001), Demonlover (2002) and Ma Mère (2004) 104

9 I Won't Let Anyone Come Between Us: High Tension (2003) 116

10 Bon Voyage: Calvaire (2004), Sheitan (2006) and Frontier(s) (2007) 124

11 Enfant Terrible: Them (2006) and The Pack (2009) 135

12 It's So Easy to Create a Victim: Martyrs (2008) 147

13 Living Womb: Inside (2007) 154

14 American Remakes in New French Extremity: The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Mirrors (2008), The Eye (2008) and Maniac (2012) 161

Conclusion 175

Appendix: The Business of Violence: An Interview with Colin Geddes 179

Chapter Notes 189

Bibliography 197

Index 201

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