Niels Niessen F'12

Niels  Niessen
Media and Culture Studies
Utrecht University, Netherlands

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2012
Doctoral Candidate
Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
A North Wind: The New Realism of the French-Walloon "Cinéma du Nord"

This project identifies a cinematic movement from the North of Francophone Europe that it calls the "Cinéma du Nord" (Cinema from and of the North). The "Nord" to which this movement owes its name is constituted by the French administrative region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and by Wallonia. These bordering regions have in common that they have suffered economic crises since the 1950s, when their coalmines became depleted and their industries antiquated. Subsequently, since the 1990s, they have been the source of a stream of cinematic productions that has captivated an international audience. This dissertation argues that this "Cinéma du Nord" emerges out of these regions’ endeavor to reimagine themselves after decades of recession and to relocate themselves at the crossroads of Europe.