Claire Demoulin

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Claire Demoulin is a Ph.D candidate in Film Studies at Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis University (France). She works under the supervision of Prof. Christian Delage and Prof. Suzanne Liandrat-Guigues.

As a 2018 Fulbright grantee, she has been affiliated with Yale University’s Film Studies Department and German Department. She will pursue her visiting scholarship under the supervision of Prof. Brigitte Peucker and Prof. Kirk Wetters.

PhD dissertation (in progress) : « Life story through film fiction: the biographical work of William Dieterle between 1931 and 1942

Overview :

She investigates a series of biographical pictures directed by a German-born director named William Dieterle, who emigrated in the U.S. in 1930 and who is considered to be a pioneering figure in the biopic genre. She focuses on the circulations between a 19th-century European legacy and the 1930s American film industry practices which are intertwined in Dieterle’s biopics. As opposed to a majority of the 1930s-1940s films that often trace the journey of young subjects from their first hardships to historical recognition, she argues that Dieterle’s biographies do not reveal a chronology of youth but open on the conflicting relationships that structure its fictions. Dieterle’s films are not about the historical progression of their great characters, but about portraying 19th-century men and women fighting against the received orthodoxy of their days, picturing this century for its historical and cultural background, as for its social trends. In this specific research area, her thesis aims at detailing the cultural crossings that shaped a Classical Hollywood film history at the intersection between American society and European influences.

Peer-reviewed publications :

Is Pasteur American? (The Story of Louis Pasteur, William Dieterle, 1936), From 19th-century laboratories to 20th-century trials: a transnational perspective. In : West of Everything, New Media, Visual Culture and Law, Edimbourg University Press, Edimbourg 2018. (to be published this year)

’Un seul mot nous sépare’, Juarez (William Dieterle). In : « Faire l’histoire », in : L’Art du Cinéma, n°94, printemps-été 2017, Paris, p. 75-87.

Les biopics d’hommes politiques : des « films de discours » ? Croisements esthétiques, rhétoriques et politiques autour du film Le Discours d’un roi. In : LETORT,D., TUHKUNEN, T., (dir.), in : « Inspiré d’une vie : le genre biopic en question », in : Revue LISA/LISA e- journal, vol. XIV, n°2, 2016.