Requiem for a city
The symbolics of space in the cinema of Robert Guédiguian
in Space and being in contemporary French cinema
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No other contemporary filmmaker in France has been so identified with one particular city as Robert Guediguian with Marseilles, and it has inspired most of his sixteen films. Guediguian's work is inspired to varying degrees by the engaged materialist aesthetics of Bertholt Brecht, the political commitment of Pier Paolo Pasolini, and his own advanced studies in sociology. This chapter establishes whether space can withstand the powerful political and symbolic currents driving Guediguian's work, and ultimately whether it can ever operate simply as 'space'. To do that, the chapter compares the visual strategies of La Ville est tranquille with the key elements of spatial representation in his other major films of the last twenty years. There is, in fact, a profound formal disconnect at work in Guediguian: characters are effectively alienated, exiled and ejected by Marseilles in the detached, often ironic way it is framed.

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