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Academic journal article Post Script. What we are calling a hybrid construction is an utterance that belongs, by its grammatical syntactical and compositional markers, to a single speaker, but that actually contains mixed within it two utterances, two speech manners, two styles, 'two languages,' two semantic and axiological belief systems.
We repeat there is no formal--compositional and syntactic--boundary between these utterances, styles, languages, belief systems. The very first sequence of Les Demoiselles de Rochefort --which opens with a classic establishing shot of the Rochefort transporter bridge--announces and sets into motion Jacques Demy's distinctly postmodern approach to art and representation.
The image of the travelling bridge signifies not only a space between, but also a movement through that space; it is here a literal embodiment of "hybrid construction" in the Bakhtinian sense. Les Demoiselles, a Hollywood-inspired but also locally grounded and profoundly French musical comedy, can itself be seen as fundamentally hybridic or carnivalesque in that it, too, "bridges" low and high art, classical and experimental aesthetic conventions, and an appreciation for local and global influences.
This essay thus proposes a Bakhtinian reading of Demy's film as a highly sophisticated, though no less entertaining, commentary on the dynamic, interactive, and generative nature of artistic representation. It is arguably the hybridic quality of Demy's films, particularly his musicals, that has disadvantaged his work with critics and scholars over the years. As Robert Stam points out in Subversive Pleasures: Bakhtin, Cultural Criticism, and Film, failing to recognize the carnivalesque tradition can lead and indeed, has led to misreadings in cinema studies: "A number of filmmakers [ Defying easy categorization within cinema studies, Demy's films have, until fairly recently, been relatively ignored or dismissed as less serious and out of sync with the grittier, more realist-seeming New-Wave works of filmmakers such as Godard, Resnais, or Truffaut.
In addition to shedding new light on Demy's significant contribution to world cinema, this research makes the case that, far from being out of touch or irrelevant, his work reveals profound engagement with the preoccupations of its time.