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PhD thesis succesfully defended by CLIC member Catherine Thomas

  • June 11, 2020

CLIC congratulates Dr. Catherine Thomas, who succesfully defended her PhD thesis on May 27. The research, entitled "Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg. Intermedial study of the œuvre of two singers-songwriters who became filmmakers", was part of a joint PHD between Université de Valenciennes and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, under the supervision of Stéphane Hirschi and David Gullentops.


This thesis examined Jacques Brel’s and Serge Gainsbourg’s works from an intermedial perspective. In addition to having both been singers-songwriters, these two artists share an intermedial pratice, having confronted themselves with Radio, Television, Painting, Literature, and especially Cinema. They have integrated the camera within their works, namely by making videoclips and/or films. Yet their journeys differ: while Jacques Brel stopped performing on stage to dedicate himself to filmmaking, Serge Gainsbourg simultaneously maintained his singing-songwriting career and his cinema projects. Accordingly, the intermedial approach proposed here aims to cast a new light on the creative mechanisms of these two artists and their operating modes, and this in order to assess if and how Brel and Gainsbourg use the tools of Chanson to (re-)consider Cinema, and vice versa. This research required the development of an innovative methodology, capable of covering the multiplicity and diversity of the intermedial relations at play. In this respect, the model presented here is the result of a dynamic dialogue between theory and practice