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Troubled Everyday

The Aesthetics of Violence and the Everyday in European Art Cinema

Alison Taylor

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Investigates the framing of the ordinary and the everyday in extreme European art film

Extreme violence in contemporary European art cinema is generally interpreted for its affective potential, but what about the significance of the everyday that so often frames and forms the majority of these films? Why do the sudden moments of violence that punctuate films like Catherine Breillat’s Fat Girl (2001), Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible (2002) and Markus Schleinzer’s Michael (2011) seem so reliant on everyday routines and settings for their impact? Addressing these questions through a series of case-studies, and considering notorious films in their historical and philosophical context, Troubled Everyday offers the first detailed examination of the relationship between violence and the everyday in European art cinema. It calls for a re-evaluation of what gives these films such affective force, and such a prolonged grip on our imagination.

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Contents

Acknowledgments
List of figures

Chapter One: ‘A lightning that illuminates the banal’: Violence and the Everyday
From extremism to everyday
Approaching Disturbing Aesthetics

Chapter Two: Everyday Moments
Discourse of immediacy
Towards the everyday
Salò
Come and See

Chapter Three: Everyday Style
Reframing Everyday Style
Style Versus Content in Money and The Seventh Continent
Everyday Style and the ‘Fruitful Ambivalence’ of the Ordinary

Chapter Four: Everyday Structures / Everyday Language
Fat Girl, Twentynine Palms, and the Critics
Authorial personas
Generic expectations and generic breaks
Orientation beyond genre
Twentynine Palms
Fat Girl

Chapter Five: Return to the Everyday
Everyday Time
I Stand Alone
Michael

Conclusion: Looking Back
Mourning the world: the everyday as transcendent, the everyday as lost in Irreversible
Works Cited
Filmography

About the Author

Alison Taylor is Senior Teaching Fellow at Bond University. In 2014, she received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research Higher Degree Theses at the University of Queensland.

Reviews

So often we are dazzled by spectacle; in Troubled Everyday Taylor makes a compelling case for the importance of paying attention to the quotidian. A beautifully written, carefully observed account of the relation of the everyday to violence in film, Taylor not only reframed my thinking about the films in question, but about film as a medium.

- Catherine Wheatley, KCL

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