A Portrait of the Spectator...

A Portrait of the Spectator as a Cannibal

A written and audiovisual exploration of what film memories are made of, and what they are for



This research project explores how cinema spectators re-invent the films they see, as they progressively incorporate their images, sounds and stories into the fabric of their own life narratives. Because of the elusive nature of its object, this research project has mobilized methodologies borrowed from social and cognitive sciences, as well as literature and film studies.


Here are some of the results of my attempts to explore film memories through the means of performative audiovisual research:



The Eye was in the tomb and started at Daney

Starting from the memory that French critic Serge Daney kept of the movie Eyes without a Face (George Franju, 1960), this video essay explores questions such as: does anticipating an emotion make it weaker or stronger? how do music and sound effects register in our memories, when our attention is mainly focused on images?

The four video essays presented below are experimental explorations of some of my personal film memories (only the Wild at heart video has English subtitles).

Wild at Heart (David Lynch, 1990)

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975)

Teorema (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968)

Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick, 1987)


This research has led to several publications:

"Émotions et souvenirs de films: entre l'intime et le collectif", Théorème (upcoming)

"Mille et une raisons de se souvenir de Shining aujourd'hui", in Anne Lété (ed.), ... (upcoming)

"Vous vous souvenez de Titanic ? Le film populaire, entre souvenir personnel et mémoire collective", Le Pardaillan, 2017


I also wrote an unpublished master thesis on the matter, exploring the memories of cinemagoers from my hometown in the North of France. It can be read here.

Pieces from this research puzzle have been presented at venues including Harvard University, Université de Liège, University of Calabria, Université de Caen, and the École normale supérieure de Paris.