Extreme art film
: text, paratext and DVD culture

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Extreme art cinema, has, in recent film scholarship, become an important area of study. Many of the existing practices are motivated by a Franco-centric lens, which ultimately defines transgressive art cinema as a new phenomenon. The thesis argues that a study of extreme art cinema needs to consider filmic production both within and beyond France. It also argues that it requires an historical analysis, and I contest the notion that extreme art cinema is a recent mode of Film production. The study considers extreme art cinema as inhabiting a space between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art forms, noting the slippage between the two often polarised industries. The study has a focus on the paratext, with an analysis of DVD extras including ‘making ofs’ and documentary featurettes, interviews with directors, and cover sleeves. This will be used to examine audience engagement with the artefacts, and the films’ position within the film market. Through a detailed assessment of the visual symbols used throughout the films’ narrative images, the thesis observes the manner in which they engage with the taste structures and pictorial templates of art and exploitation cinema. Through this methodological direction, the thesis is able to assess how the films are sold to an audience, how this relates to the historical progression of extreme art cinema, and the way the entire practice is informed by an ongoing tradition of taste fluidity.
Date of AwardSept 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorDeborah Shaw (Supervisor)

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