Memory, language, utopia: deferred idylls in three films by Jacques Rozier
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This thesis analyzes three films made by director Jacques Rozier in the decades following the French New Wave: Du côté d’Orouët (1971), Les Naufragés de l'île de la Tortue (1976), and Maine Océan (1986). I pay special attention to the development of the theme of illusory or unreachable idylls and utopias over the course of the three films. Paralleling Rozier’s status as a late modernist, kept due to bad timing from profiting off the New Wave boom, the films center on the frustration of utopian dreams. They conceptualize various idylls, ranging from perfect times in one’s life to imagined paradises of self-sufficient labor, as being distant and impossible to realize through the use of various cinematic techniques to simulate memory, create distance, or establish a parodic sensibility. Then, in the last of these films, Rozier finally envisions a utopia that can exist, one of cooperative labor among workers that transcends linguistic boundaries. This thesis employs close analysis based on the work of celebrated film theorists like Siegfried Kracauer and Stanley Cavell to better understand the modernist techniques employed to develop this theme and to make the case for Rozier as a neglected master of cinematic modernism.