Zones of Anxiety
Movement, Musidora, and the Crime Serials of Louis Feuillade
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: Wayne State University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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An evening’s screening of Louis Feuillade’s Juve contre Fantômas set in motion a rather remarkable sequence of events for me. The viewing produced an essay for a course on French cinema, and in turn an enthusiastic suggestion from the professor, Judith Mayne, that I pursue Feuillade’s films as a dissertation topic. ...
Introduction: Writing a Feminist Poetic History through the Cinema of Uncertainty
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What would it mean to write a feminist history of the cinema? A number of studies have influenced my thinking on this question since I first began working on the crime serials of Louis Feuillade: for example, Sumiko Higashi’s Cecil B. DeMille and American Culture, Judith Mayne’s Directed by Dorothy Arzner, ...
1. Louis Feuillade and the Cinema of Uncertainty: Scenes of Dislocation in Early Cinema/History
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This book is an effort to situate the crime serials of Louis Feuillade within early film history from an explicitly feminist perspective. To a certain extent, I will argue that a series of six films made by Feuillade between the years 1913 and 1920 can be read as one text. ...
2. The Fantômas Series: Cinematic Vision and the Test of “Immediate Certainty”
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The opening moments of the first episode in the Fantômas film series (1913–14) feature a prescient bit of dialogue when the startled crime victim, Princess Danidoff ( Jane Faber), inquires of the well-dressed thief suddenly before her: “Who are you?” This question is, in effect, the distillation of the epic battle that is to be played out in the series ...
3. “Qui? Quoi? Quand? Où?”: Interrogating Woman in Les vampires and Judex
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The recursive patterns of repetition and reversal are accelerated in Feuillade’s next film series, Les vampires (1915–16), where the blocks of activities and number of characters significantly multiply in a seemingly random fashion. Over ten episodes, Les vampires follows the exploits of Philippe Guérande (Edouard Mathé), ...
4. Stigma and Stigmata: The Cries and Cure of the Fantastic Narrative
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With Judex, Feuillade’s serials make a decided shift toward a more strongly pronounced melodramatic narrative structure. This movement is logical in that melodrama, like the mode of the fantastic, is preoccupied with questions of knowledge and visibility. ...
Afterword: The Cinematic Legacy of Feuillade and Musidora and a Different Way of Knowing
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Olivier Assayas’s invocation of Irma Vep in a 1996 film is but one of many repetitions of the Irma/Musidora character in cinema history. Indeed, the figure is one that haunts not just Feuillade’s texts but marks a significant strain of French cinema and can even be seen in other national cinema contexts (e.g., Fritz Lang’s Spiders, 1919). ...
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Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2005
Series Title: Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series