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Making Room for Horror: The Adversity of Genre in the French Film Industry

Ben Hadj Ben M'Barek, Emmanuelle (2021) Making Room for Horror: The Adversity of Genre in the French Film Industry. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation examines the lack of legitimacy that French horror cinema encounters within France’s domestic industry. In a country dominated by a cultural elitism that values art films over genre films, French horror faces multiple challenges from its initial funding to its final reception as a result of rigid television broadcast rules, strict exhibition visa authorizations, and moral conflicts regarding their use of violence. Building on historical and theoretical research as well as empirical data from institutional reports, roundtables, interviews and audience surveys, this dissertation investigates the invisibility of horror in the processes of the French film industry and seeks to find alternate circuits of production, distribution and exhibition that could benefit the genre. The second chapter (the introduction being the first) delves into the history of the horror genre in France in order to understand the lack of recognition it suffers from. Chapter 3 discusses the modes of financing and production operating in France and draws a comparison with the American film industry through the dual experience of director Alexandre Aja who has worked in both countries. Chapter 4 analyzes the regulation of cinematic violence imposed by the state and its unfortunate consequences on the distribution of horror films while considering the notion of affect that is especially relevant to the visceral content of the genre. Chapter 5 deconstructs the French preference for theatrical release by focusing on other modes of distribution like festivals, video-on-demand and streaming platforms. It also includes an interview of Frédéric Garcia who developed a French horror show with Netflix. The last chapter shifts the focus to spectators and addresses their viewing habits and appraisal of French horror by way of a survey distributed online.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ben Hadj Ben M'Barek, Emmanuelleemb183@pitt.eduemb183
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPettersen,
Committee MemberLowenstein,
Committee MemberMecchia,
Committee MemberHalle,
Date: 8 October 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 April 2021
Approval Date: 8 October 2021
Submission Date: 8 July 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 201
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Film Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: horror, cinema, French, production, distribution, exhibition, history, censorship, Netflix
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2021 19:20
Last Modified: 19 May 2023 13:50


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