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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze

Dousteyssier-Khoze, Catherine (2013). La Fille coupée en deux (2007) instabilité générique, théâtralité et « image-cristal » selon Claude Chabrol. Studies in French Cinema 13(1): 47-59.

Author(s) from Durham


This article shows that in La Fille coupée en deux (2007), Chabrol encourages us to reflect on the status of the cinematographic image and its relationship to `reality'. Generically, La Fille coupée en deux is considerably less stable than most of Chabrol's other films, and this generic instability attracts our attention onto the theatrical and reflexive dimensions of the film. Deleuze's concept of the`crystal-image', as discussed in Cinéma 2: l'image-temps (1985), is used to explore the nature of the fluid and playful relationship between illusion and reality in the film, and the resulting opacity. Chabrol develops a type of crystal-image in which reality is fissured, tipping over into the virtual where characters and (generic) identities fragment. Moreover, the extended metaphor of film/magic show and director/magician encourage a radical interrogation of reception. In this respect, Chabrol's penultimate film, La Fille coupée en deux, seems to function as a key that invites us both to re-evaluate the rest of his work and to consider a different perception of cinema.