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Discerning a surrealist cinema

Waters, Alexander (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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La Coquille et le Clergyman (1929), Un chien andalou (1929) and L’Age d’or (1930) are three films that have gained worldwide recognition as being the most salient examples of Surrealist expression in film. While a number of other examples arguably do exist, the limited nature of the Surrealist film programme is well documented. This thesis does not seek to conduct a survey of the Surrealist claims of these films, but to challenge the notion that such a discernable body or genre of films might even exist. By comparing the films’ status with regard to André Breton’s original conception of ‘Surrealism’, Chapter One introduces the debate surrounding authorship and intention which is so central to any discussion of Surrealism in film. Chapter Two focuses on the seminal theories of Antonin Artaud, and the way in which these theories might be applied to the cinema. Artaud’s individual ambition for a film project presents a different conception of cinema as at once seen and unseen. By way of Benjamin Fondane’s plans for a cinema that existed solely on paper, Chapter Three continues this re-examination of the Surrealist project by proposing that the limited number of recognisably ‘Surrealist’ films does not indicate a failure.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Forcer, Stephen
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Subjects:PC Romance languages
PN1993 Motion Pictures
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3092
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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