More Moralism from that ‘Wordy Fuck’

James Quandt

in The New Extremism in Cinema

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748641604
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651221 | DOI:
More Moralism from that ‘Wordy Fuck’

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This book began as a brief review of Bruno Dumont's film, Twentynine Palms (France, 2003). It intended to puzzle out the reasons for Dumont's descent into gore and hard core, whether it was a mere exaggeration of the brute corporeality of his previous cinema, or something more disturbing: a submission to fashion. Twentynine Palms felt like a forced anomaly, a freakish excursion into the unknown. Was it sheer coincidence that Twentynine Palms followed a spate of self-styled transgressive French films by Jean-Jacques Beineix, Catherine Breillat, François Ozon, Gaspar Noé and, most unlikely of all, Claire Denis, whose vampire nocturne, Trouble Every Day (France, 2001), seemed a radical departure from her earlier films, even those dealing with such ‘extreme’ subjects as cockfighting and serial killers? What was the New French Extremity? Though the ‘new extremism’ has perforce rejected humanism as false piety, pitilessness should not be mistaken for truth or courage, an error too often made by its reflexive defenders.

Keywords: Bruno Dumont; Twentynine Palms; new extremism; New French Extremity; Jean-Jacques Beineix; Catherine Breillat; François Ozon; Gaspar Noé; Claire Denis; Trouble Every Day

Chapter.  2224 words. 

Subjects: Film

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