Female Transcendence: Approaching the "Experiénce Extrême" in Contemporary French Horror Cinema

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McGillvray, Maddison




The horror genre has not historically been popular amongst critics, scholars, and feminist writers, and is often criticized for sensationalizing physical and sexual violence. Building off the preexisting literature on the problematic representation of gender in horror, this thesis looks at New French Extremity films that assault audiences with scenes of violence, torture, rape, and self-mutilation, which are performed almost exclusively upon or by women. Although the films of the New French Extremity have been dismissed as excessive and exploitative, this thesis argues for the feminist potential of these texts through their correlation of the female body and what Georges Bataille calls the “expérience extrême”. Through an examination of Inside, Martyrs, Trouble Every Day, and In My Skin this thesis will examine how women are the sites and agents of the expérience extrême, arguing that this embodiment contributes to feminist narratives that challenge notions of female victimhood in the genre.






Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Film Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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