Modes of masculinity
in Patrice Leconte
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A large number of Patrice Leconte's films, particularly those made in the middle part of his career to date (the 1980s and 1990s), focus thematically and generically upon male relationships and foreground certain male actors, such as Jean Rochefort, Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo, in such a way as to contribute to, exploit or skew their existing star images. There are two principal means by which Leconte denaturalizes filmic signifiers of masculinity in order to present masculine performativity or 'males in masculine drag' as an excess of signification and as a source of anxiety. The first involves a fragmentation and exaggeration of certain generic conventions that codify men in ways acceptable to, and commensurate with the aims of, the heterosexual order. The second relies upon a self-conscious manipulation of actors' performance styles and star images.


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