Representations of Gay, Lesbian and Queer Sex in Contemporary French and North American Cinema

Winterton, Connor (2020) Representations of Gay, Lesbian and Queer Sex in Contemporary French and North American Cinema. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Independent French and North American cinema over the last decade have been offering increasingly explicit but also exploratory representations of gay male and lesbian sex and sexual practices, in films ranging from I Want Your Love(USA, 2012) to Blue Is the Warmest Colour(France, 2013) to Paris 05:59 Theo and Hugo(France, 2016). This is as well as some contemporary mainstream films, especially those produced in America, stirring controversy for the avoidance of gay male sex acts, as evidenced in Call Me by Your Name(2017). This thesis, then, responds to this increase in representations of mainly gay male and lesbian sex by critically interrogating and examining: how the acts are stylistically and narratively represented; to what extent the representations either sustain or challenge normative notions of what typically constitutes sex (or that sex directly connects with intimacy, romance and love); and finally to what extent the representations connect with the normalising impulses evident within movements such as ‘homonormativity’ (Duggan 2002).Using textual analysis, para-textual analysis and theories centred on sex and sexuality (mainly Queer Theories), this extensive research has identified that most representations are in dialogue with, or relate to themes and arguments, revolving around: the politics of representation, explicitness, narrative purposes of sex, and notions of realism and idealism. However, the main theme that cuts across the entire research is the broader issue of ‘normativity’, and the central research finding of this thesis is that although representations of gay male and lesbian sex acts in French and North American cinema are now, arguably, more varied, explicit and nuanced, these films’ messages in regards to sex are more limiting than they seem at face-value. This is because, as I identify in the thesis, the normalising impulses of homonormativity are pervading not only general representations of gay male and lesbian identities in contemporary, popular film cultures, but also their sexual activities and desires.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
15 April 2020Completed
Uncontrolled Keywords: French cinema, North American cinema, gay sex, lesbian sex, queer sex, queer cinema, gay and lesbian cinema, queer media, sex media
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-04 - cinematics and photography
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Media and English > Birmingham School of Media
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2021 12:28
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:59

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