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Enunciative Devices of the European Francophone Essay Film

Project description

A closer look at the French essay film format

Blurring the lines between fiction and non-fiction, the essay film can be described as a self-reflective documentary cinema. The European francophone essay film is one example. The EU-funded EDEF project will study its audiovisual procedures and the thinking process and self-reflexiveness that defines it. It will investigate the themes addressed by the essay films and the artistic movements they belong to, from its birth in modern cinema to the very present. The function of the spectator in this dialogic filmic form will also be explored. The findings will be published in a scholarly monograph that will be widely disseminated within the scientific community and the general public.


This challenging and ambitious research project aims to analyse the enunciative devices of the European francophone essay film in order to determine the audiovisual procedures that materialise the expression of subjectivity, the thinking process and self-reflexiveness, which define this stimulating filmic form. Starting from the concept of francophony, and through an innovative interdisciplinary and intermedial approach that relates cinema to philosophy, semiotics to aesthetics and cinema history to cultural and gender studies, the research will establish firstly a typology of the different enunciative devices: audiovisual materials, intermedial forms and filmic procedures. Secondly, the research will analyse the relationship between them and the themes addressed by the essay films and the artistic movements they belong to, since its birth in modern cinema to the very present, in which this essayistic practice has known a great proliferation due to the digital revolution, facilitating the experience of subjectivity and intimacy of this filmic form. Thirdly, the research will determine the functionality of the different enunciative devices, exploring how identity –individual, social, political, gender, artistic– thinks through cinema. The EDEF proposal, considering the essay film as a social, political and artistic developer that fosters society’s critical thinking, will also analyse the function of the spectator in this dialogic filmic form. The project includes a dissemination plan and a communication strategy that will ensure the spread of the research results to both the widest scientific community and the largest general public, following the guidelines of the fully open-access policy of Horizon 2020. The principal output will be a scholarly monograph with a prestigious international publisher. Thus, the EDEF proposal will contribute concretely to European excellence in Film Studies and to the creation of a common, current and widespread European culture.


Net EU contribution
€ 184 707,84
Place du Pantheon 12
75231 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 184 707,84