Cinema and the Republic

Cinema and the Republic: Filming on the Margins in Contemporary France

Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    Cinema and the Republic
    Book Description:

    A thought-provoking study of what contemporary French cinema has to say about immigration and social cohesion.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2597-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Series Editors’ Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Hanna Diamond and Claire Gorrara
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    Jonathan Ervine
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    The year 1995 was highly significant for both political protest and political cinema in France. Whilst the mass demonstrations that took place in this year initially focused primarily on opposing pension reforms, the movement swiftly sought to provide a more generalised criticism of Alain Juppé’s government. Martin O’Shaughnessy argues that ‘it was the mass mobilisations of 1995 which signalled a change of the socio-political climate in France, and which created the conditions for the rebirth of a committed cinema and for subsequent mobilisations such as that around thesans-papiers’.¹ This newly re-engaged model of film-making lacked a unifying political discourse....

  6. Chapter One Cinema and the Republic
    (pp. 15-30)

    Any exploration of contemporary political cinema in France needs to address the specificity of the political and cinematic context in which French films are produced. France’s republican ideals play a major role in determining how groups such as immigrants andbanlieueresidents are perceived and treated, and there are contrasting ways in which the Republic itself is represented as either a source of inclusion or exclusion. it is also important to ask to what extent the structure of the French film industry influences films about immigrants andbanlieueresidents. These two categories of often marginalised figures have increasingly been given...

  7. Chapter Two The Sans-papiers on Screen – Contextualising Immigrant Experiences in Film
    (pp. 31-57)

    The participation of film-makers in campaigns in favour of thesans-papiersin the mid-1990s is closely associated with the renewal of social and political film-making in France that emerged around this time, although it often involved their taking action as politically engaged intellectuals rather than as film-makers per se.¹ Their use of public appeals and open letters replicated forms of protest that have been used in France in response to other major political issues such as the Algerian War in 1960 and abortion laws in 1971. the involvement of intellectuals in such campaigns raises important issues about agency similar to...

  8. Chapter Three Double peine: The Challenges of Mobilising Support for Foreign Criminals via Cinema
    (pp. 58-84)

    Thedouble peine(double penalty) law, like the subject of thesans-papiers, raises important questions about how France treats foreign residents. Film-makers played a big part in campaigns to defendsans-papiersfrom the mid-1990s onwards, and the same is true of their involvement in the national campaign against thedouble peinefrom 2001 to 2003. Thedouble peinelaw makes it possible for people who are not French citizens to be deported ‘back’ to their so-called country of origin if they have served a prison sentence of at least one year. It can be applied even when someone has committed...

  9. Chapter Four Challenging or Perpetuating Clichés? Young People and the Police in France’s Banlieues
    (pp. 85-110)

    Relations between young people and the police in France’sbanlieueshave been an important theme within the renewal of social and political film-making in France since 1995, both in fictional and documentary films. Mathieu Kassovitz’sLa Haine(Hate, 1995) provides an iconic example of this topic that has continued to interest French film-makers in the subsequent decade and a half. Interactions between young people and the police in France’sbanlieuesshow how power relations are maintained or challenged. The police – as representatives of the state – symbolise its values and are responsible for upholding them. how they do so, and especially...

  10. Chapter Five Challenging Stereotypes about France’s Banlieues by Shifting the Focus?
    (pp. 111-139)

    Although the films analysed in the last chapter all tried to challenge ways in which young residents of France’sbanlieuesare represented, several unwittingly confirm negative stereotypes that associate these areas with crime and violence. Some films also failed to adequately explore the origins of important stereotypical visions and fell into a further trap identified by Rosello: ‘The decision to pronounce a stereotype leads inexorably to a moment when the stereotype has to be uttered and . . . even this type of meta-utterance, this distanced repetition of a framed stereotype involves a minimum, unconscious yet unavoidable element of allegiance.’¹...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 140-151)

    The films on which I have concentrated here demonstrate the diversity that exists among works made since 1995 that explore how and why immigrants andbanlieueresidents often appear to be living on the margins in contemporary France. The fact that the films lack a common overarching ideology is in keeping with O’Shaughnessy’s characterisation of post-1995 political film-making in France and mirrored by their lack of a shared cinematic vision as to how such subjects should be represented in an effective political film.¹ However, most of them are united by three key elements. The first of these is an at...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 152-172)
  13. Filmography and Bibliography
    (pp. 173-190)
  14. Index
    (pp. 191-196)