Pruning roses, producing space: representing the social bond in the melodramas of Claude Chabrol

Gergely, Gabor (2012) Pruning roses, producing space: representing the social bond in the melodramas of Claude Chabrol. Studies in French Cinema, 12 (1). pp. 47-57. ISSN 1471-5880

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Abstract

In a career that spanned over 50 years and as many films, Claude Chabrol regularly dissected the bourgeoisie, its modes and mores in numerous melodramas - some more conventional, others less so - including La Femme infidèle/The Unfaithful Wife (1969), Juste avant la nuit/Just Before Night Falls (1971), La Fleur du mal/ The Flower of Evil (2003) and La Fille coupée en deux/The Girl Cut in Two (2007). This article examines this auteur's work in the field of a specific genre, the bourgeois melodrama, with particular attention to the recurring motif of gardening and its significance in the French context as a remarkably complex metaphor. The article focuses on the pruning of flowers in the grounds of stately homes as a long-running filmic representation of the maintenance of a socially acceptable facade masking deeply disturbing sins of the past. The article explores the issues of class and masquerade through a close reading of gardens as representations of space and as representational spaces in an interdisciplinary approach informed by Lefebvre's The Production of Space (1991), Gilman's Health and Illness (1995) and Seale's Constructing Death (1998).

Keywords:bourgeois melodrama, Chabrol, gardening, masquerade, pathology, space
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
ID Code:22764
Deposited On:25 Mar 2016 19:46

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