Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Philip Sipiora, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marc Santos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Margit Grieb, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Amy Rust, Ph.D.


Film Studies, Kenneth Burke, Rhetoric, Rogue Cinema, Slavoj Zizek


The purpose of this project was to articulate a definition and understanding of the emerging genre of rogue cinema through the lens of rhetorical theory. To this end, I lay out a theoretical groundwork based principally on the works of Kenneth Burke and Slavoj Zizek to build a definition and to analyze the works of four filmmakers whose work could be considered rogue: Alejandro Jodorowsky, Dusan Makavejev, Lars von Trier and Werner Herzog.

The first chapter is dedicated to articulating the theorists I use and showing how they can be used to examine rogue films. The second chapter is dedicated to the films of Jodorowsky, focusing in particular on his films Fando y Lis, El Topo and The Holy Mountain, looking at how these films form a critique of our conventional views of religion and spirituatity. Chapter three looks at Makavejev's films WR: Mysteries of the Organism and Sweet Movie and discusses how they undermine the capitalist/communist dichotomy that has defined most of 20th century politics. Chapter four examines Lars von Trier's films Europa and Dancer in the Dark, framing them in particular with the Dogme movement and looking at how von Trier rebels against cinematic convention. The last chapter looks at Herzog's films Aguirre: Wrath of God and Stroszek and discusses how Herzog blends fiction and reality in ways that question our cultural and moral values.

Since little has been written on rogue cinema to date my aim here has been to help develop rogue cinema as a concept and begin the work of building a theoretical basis for the idea of this as a genre. In my conclusion I suggest avenues for future scholars to expand on this idea and discuss what further work needs to be done for rogue cinema to become an accepted idea.