Two new PhD in film music in France

1/ Cécile Carayol completed her doctorate degree in musicology in January 2011 (University Rennes 2) :

A specific musical language in the cinema : about the American model to the emergence of a new form of symphonism in the contemporary French movies.

The existence of a specific musical language in the cinema is put in perspective by the study of two forms of symphonisms – the rehabilitation of the American model and the "intimist symphonism" – in the French contemporary features films since the end of the 1990s. The analysis of the scores composed for Angel and Huit femmes shows a return to the tradition of the American melodramas of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Through the dimensions - epic, lyric and fantastic – present in movies such as Les Rivières pourpres, Nid de guêpes, Joyeux Noël or Jeux d'enfants, we notice an assimilation of the musical characteristics of neo-hollywoodism. Besides, the emergence of a new form of symphonism observed in scores such as Swimming Pool, Sous le Sable, Sur mes lèvres, De battre mon cœur s'est arrêté, Confidences trop intimes or Hell expresses itself by a symphonic orchestration that privileges the “transparency” of the instrumental color, a restrained lyricism and develops an emotional empathy with the action of the movie by avoiding a descriptive synchronization. The appropriation of the characteristics coming from the minimalism and impressionism intensifies the concision and the working drawing of this symphonism. This musicological approach allows to clarify the way the original symphonic music is outlined in the beginning of twenty-first-century and how, in the eyes of what preexist in the history of the music of the French cinema, it distinguishes itself.

Examining committee: Gilles Mouëllic (Supervisor, Rennes 2 University), Michel Chion (Paris III), Pierre Berthomieu (Paris VII), Jean-Jacques Velly (Paris IV), Hervé Lacombe (Rennes 2).

Contact : cecile.carayol@gmail.com

2/ Séverine Abhervé completed her doctorate degree in cinema studies in February 2011 (University Paris 1) :

Film composers within the French Film Industry. Definition, characterization and issues of a profession in transformation.

This PhD explores the profession of the composer of film music within the French film industry using a transverse and complementary approach (labor laws, sociology, social psychology, and economics).
The first part provides an overview of the profession and describes the film composer's status as a co-author of a film (1957 law). It defines the relationship between the composer and the film crew so as to understand the position of the composer in the film industry, and in particular his or her relationship with the director.
The second part presents the results of a survey of one hundred and nine composers of music for French feature films, allowing the profession to be defined and characterized based on their own views of it. The dynamics of the profession are also measured at three key times (the years 1985, 1995, and 2008) in order to arrive at an understanding of what the future of the profession might be within the French film industry. The aim is to measure the changes in the profession during the period analysed, 2000-2008. The representation of the profession is outlined from the perspective of French film makers, the film industry, and the composers themselves.
The third and final part focuses on the economics of the profession, on the support of the profession on the part of institutional policy such as the CNC (Centre National de la Cinématographie) and SACEM (Société des Auteurs Compositeurs et Éditeurs de Musique) offer to the film music industry, and on issues related to training for director and composer, teaching them how to work together.

Examining committee: Daniel SERCEAU (Supervisor, Paris I University), Frédéric GIMELLO-MESPLOMB (Supervisor, Paul Verlaine University, Metz), Laurent CRETON (Paris III), Fabrice MONTEBELLO (Metz), Jaume RADIGALES, (Ramon Llull University, Barcelona – Spain), Frédéric SOJCHER (Paris I).

Contact : severine.abherve@gmail.com