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Le Regard Tactile chez Jean Cocteau:
Une analyse esthétique de la trilogie orphique.

BEWICK, SARAH,CATHERINE (2010) Le Regard Tactile chez Jean Cocteau:
Une analyse esthétique de la trilogie orphique.
Masters thesis, Durham University.



This paper is a detailed aesthetic study of three of Jean Cocteau's films known collectively as the Orphic Trilogy: Le Sang d'un Poète (1930), Orphée (1950) and Le Testament d'Orphée (1960). It defines and explores the concept of a “ tactile gaze” as a new aesthetic term, which finds its roots in the work of Maurice Blanchot, particularly in the problems outlined in the section entitled L'image of his influential essay L'espace Littéraire. Blanchot's observations on poetic creation, the Orphic gaze and visual fascination are also analysed in this work. His writings and recorded interviews on the subject of cinematic poetry are considered and compared with the visions of writers and philosophers such as Jacques Aumont, François Truffaut or Jean-Paul Sartre. Blanchot and J.B. Barrère's conception of the Orphic gaze is also compared with Salvador Dalì's concept “Phœnexology”. This cyclic pattern of destruction and rebirth is essential to Cocteau's vision of poetic creation. The body of this work is however focused in the three final chapters, each carrying the title of a defining element of the “tactile gaze”: “Le Regard”, “Le Fond sans Profondeur” and “Le Mouvement Immobile”. It proposes an embodied tactile vision of the film trilogy that emphasises the grain, texture and touch of visuality. It draws particularly on the works of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Azoury and Lalanne and Georges Didi-Huberman. The first of these three sections focuses on an analysis of visual perception, blindness and the instability of the Gaze. In the second section films such as Pier Paolo Pasolini's L'Évangile de Saint Mathieu enable a discussion about the surface and texture of an image as well as the existence of the “non-lieu” in Cocteau's work. The final part of this study further develops the concept of the “non-lieu” and analyses its relation to Cocteau's representation of time. For Cocteau the question of the finite, the infinite and the atemporal in his films is intimately linked with his poetry. It is through Cocteau's treatment and distortion of filmic space and time that the “tactile gaze” may most clearly be experienced.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:Cocteau, cinema, esthétique, poesie, poetry, Blanchot, Merleau-Ponty, fascination, gaze, regard
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Oct 2010 15:07

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