Transnational Fantômas: The Influence of Feuillade’s Series on International Cinema during the 1910s

Federico Pagello

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The influence of Fantômas novels and films on global popular culture is widely acknowledged. From the 1915 Spanish musical "Cine-fantomas" to the 1960s Italian comic book series "Diabolik," "Kriminal" and "Satanik," from Turkish B-movies such as "Fantoma Istanbulda Bulusalim" (dir. Natuk Baytan, 1967) to Julio Cortazar’s anti-imperialist pamphlet "Fantômas contra los vampiros multinacionales" (1975), Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain’s original literary series have engendered uncountable translations, adaptations, imitations and plagiarisms that have spread the character’s fame worldwide since its first appearance in 1911.
    By focusing on the influence of Louis Feuillade’s film adaptations during the first decade of Fantômas’ long history as a transnational and transmedia icon, this paper aims to contribute to the growing interdisciplinary field that deals with the history of the supranational cultural sphere created by modern media culture. As a sort of archaeology of contemporary cultural globalization, this form of study intends to enrich previous historical surveys that had only taken into consideration specific national contexts. Moreover, it might also rebalance certain “colonizing” accounts that overemphasize the role of the cultural superpowers such as France, the UK or the US, often forgetting the appropriation of the products of international popular culture to be found in other countries. Therefore, this paper examines the transnational circulation of Fantômas films and, in particular, the creative processes engendered outside of France their origin country. As a controversial character and a central player in the relationship between cinema and literature in the crucial years when the feature and serial film boosted and legitimized the film industry, Fantômas represents an exemplary case study to discuss the cross-cultural and cross-media dynamics engendered by popular fiction.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBelphegor: Litterature populaire et culture mediatique
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2013


    • Tranational popular culture
    • Film Adaptations
    • Crime Fiction

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