A Cinema of Infidelity: François Truffaut's Antoine Doinel cycle and Eric Rohmer's Contes moraux

Loreta Gandolfi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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In this thesis I analyse a selected body of work by the French filmmakers François Truffaut and Eric Rohmer in terms of their portrayals of infidelity. Between the late- 1950s and late-1970s Truffaut and Rohmer both made a series of films which took the structure of a cycle: Truffaut made what became known as the Antoine Doinel cycle and Rohmer made the Contes moraux. This study investigates the emergence and development of the theme of infidelity in these two cycles, a theme which though present in much French cinema of the time and others, remains nevertheless underexplored by film criticism. This theme is examined with reference to writing on film, possible socio-historical preconditions, the French literary heritage and critical theory as I aim to explore what phenomena are revealed in relation to infidelity and the artistic engagement of the two auteurs. Along these lines, this study explores the various facets of infidelity in the chosen films, taking into account ways in which they conform to the influences and traditions that surrounded them, especially politics of gender and feminism. Taking into consideration changes that took place in French intellectual and cultural life that had an enormous impact on the investigation of subjectivity and of male and female identity, it explores the politics of the representation of gender relations through the subject of infidelity as reflected in the relevant films, using close textual analysis as its primary tool. This thesis analyses how the treatment of infidelity in the cinema of Truffaut and Rohmer engages with changes in social mores in post-Second World War France, as well as how infidelity is used to address the changes in social relations and to question the use of power structures in determining the dynamics of male/female relationships. Through the subject of infidelity this thesis seeks to re-evaluate the legacy of Truffaut’s and Rohmer’s films and issues around feminism, gender, sexual behaviour and family.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Bruzzi, Stella, Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Nov 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

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