Matthew Bruce

Matthew Bruce

Department of Modern Languages
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

PhD Title: Les plaisirs démodés: the portrayal of “anachronistic heroes” in French comedy cinema
Supervisors: Professor Kate Ince and Dr Andrew Watts
PhD French Studies


  • MA by Research in French Studies (2019, University of Birmingham)
  • BA Modern Languages (French and Spanish with Film Studies, 2017, University of Birmingham)


I moved to Birmingham in 2013 to undertake my Undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham (BA Modern Languages (French and Spanish) with Film Studies). After graduating in 2017, I proceeded to undertake an MA by Research in French Studies degree at the University, under the principal supervision of Prof. Kate Ince, and co-supervision of Dr. Andrew Watts. After graduating in 2019, I took some time away from academia to build up my work experience, in both freelance language tutoring and Marketing and Communications. I have returned to the University as of September 2021 to undertake a Part-Time PhD in French Studies (with the same supervisory team) and, eventually, to pursue an academic career.


  • PGTA - College of Arts and Law Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS)
  • PGTA - Research Skills Team, Libraries and Learning Resources


I am conducting research into the portrayal of so-called “anachronistic heroes” in French comedy cinema which ranges from the 1950s to the present day. I am investigating how the status of “anachronistic hero” is influenced by these characters’ occupational statuses, as well as their gender and sexuality, and their attitudes towards nationhood. The films in my corpus include: the Monsieur Hulot series (Jacques Tati); Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet); the OSS 117 films (Michel Hazanavicius; Nicolas Bedos); Potiche (François Ozon); Populaire (Régis Roinsard); and the French-US co-production, The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius).

Other activities


  • Society for French Studies (SFS) (Ordinary Member)
  • BAFTSS (British Association of Film, Television, and Screen Studies) (PGR Rep)
  • Midlands Network of Popular Culture (Ordinary Member) - Matthew Bruce

Research trips:

  • Doctoral Research Trip, May 2023: La Cinémathèque Française (Bibliothèque du film); BnF (Bibliothèque François Mitterrand)
  • Postgraduate Research Assistantship (PGRA) for Prof. Louise Hardwick, 2023 - Analysis Work on the Films of French Director, Euzhan Palcy
  • Postgraduate Research Assistantship (PGRA) for Prof. Louise Hardwick, 2024 (BnF Bibliothèque François Mitterrand, Paris) - Analysis Work on the Films of French Director, Euzhan Palcy


  • June 2024 - Postgraduate Research Festival (University of Birmingham) - Research Poster
  • April 2024 - BAFTSS Conference (University of Sussex) - "Monsieur Hulot and His ‘Travails’: The Portrayal of Labour in the Films of Jacques Tati"
  • October 2023 - French Screen Studies and BAFTSS French and Francophone Cinema SIG Study Day Screen Comedy from the Coming of Sound to the SVOD era (University of Warwick) - "The ‘Anachronistic’ Hero: Gender and Sexuality in the OSS 117 Films"
  • June 2023 - Society for French Studies (SFS) Annual Conference - "Anachronistic 'heroes' in French comedy cinema: When work ends (if it, indeed, begins...)" / Research Poster
  • June 2023 - B-Film 6th Annual PGR Symposium (University of Birmingham) - "The Portrayal of the Anachronistic ‘Hero’ in the OSS 117 films"
  • April 2023 - BAFTSS Conference (University of Lincoln) - Research Poster
  • October 2022 - Modern Languages Forum (University of Birmingham) - "Anachronistic Female Heroism in François Ozon’s Potiche and Régis Roinsard’s Populaire"


  • Matthew Bruce, "French B Movies: Suburban Spaces, Universalism, and the Challenge of Hollywood." By David A. Pettersen, French Studies, 2024;, knae088,
  • Matthew Bruce, "Anachronistic Heroes in French Comedy Cinema: When Work Ends (If, Indeed, it Begins…)", French Studies Bulletin, Volume 45, Issue 169-170, Spring 2024, Pages 14–17,