Speaker: Dr Joe Hardwick, French Lecturer, School of Languages and Cultures, UQ

Joe Hardwick’s research interests include French cinema, narrative theory, queer theory and French cultural studies.

His current research projects include:

•            Mobility, marginality and identity in le jeune cinéma français

•            The representation of gay and bisexual male characters in French cinematic love triangles

He teaches French language, cinema and cultural studies in the School of Languages and Cultures.  Despite teaching in this school, he is in no way involved in the Ramsay Centre.

Title: The New Rules of the Game: the homme fatal in French cinema.

Abstract: Studies abound on the femme fatale, a figure prevalent in the films noirs of the 1940s and 1950s and in neo-noir films of the 1980s and 1990.  Critics explain her prominence at these two moments through the femme fatale being closely linked to, if not entirely a product of, her environment.  Her presence has coincided with moments of crisis in masculinity such as during and after World War II when women were entering previously male-dominated workplaces in larger numbers and in the 1980s and 1990s when more women were moving into managerial positions.  The femme fatale is read as a danger to men both through her seductiveness and her appropriation of masculine power.  Far fewer studies exist, however, on the homme fatal, those male figures seen as both sexy and dangerous who have made their presence increasingly felt on cinema screens since the 1960s.  So what rules govern the homme fatal?  Is he simply a male version of the femme fatale and, if not, in what ways is he different?  This paper will explore these questions in looking at some key examples of the homme fatal in French cinema in films as diverse as René Clément’s Plein soleil/Purple Noon (1960), Anne Fontaine’s Nettoyage à sec/Dry Cleaning (1997), Yann Gozlan’s L’Homme idéal/The Ideal Man (2015) and François Ozon’s Dans la maison/In the House (2012).  It will propose that two different models exist for the homme fatal in contemporary French cinema--Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley (1955) and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Teorema/Theorem (1968)—but that at least one recent film, notably Alain Guiraudie’s  L’Inconnu du lac/The Stranger by the Lake (2013), seems to break these moulds completely.

About Studies in Culture Seminar Series

Through the scholarly analysis of many different kinds of cultural products, texts and phenomena, Studies in Culture brings together researchers who seek to understand how the world is understood differently by people coming from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Researchers in this cluster work on literature, film, music, theatre, the visual arts, intangible heritage, testimonies and historical narratives.

Research in Studies in Culture within the School centres around four broad sub-themes of Heritage, memory and trauma studies; Intellectual and cultural history; Literature; and Film and visual cultures.

To view more on the research and interests of the Studies in Culture cluster, please click here.