Crossing every barrier
The decade of the conte de L’Estaque
in Robert Guédiguian
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This chapter considers the change in direction of Guédiguian’s career in the 1990s, where pessimism and apocalyptic thematics give way to local politics and utopianism, making Guédiguian a leading filmmaker in France during the period. The first two films emphasise the creative imagination as a mode for thinking ways of overcoming difficult political and economic situations. It provides in particular a long analysis of Marius et Jeannette, Guédiguian’s best-known film, emphasising mise en scène and style and themes of globalisation and local renewal. In these films Guédiguian develops a highly original style, based in the fairy tale and the Blochian ‘happy ending.’ With some tempering of the period’s optimism, partly through self-critique and partly in response to other critics, the end of the nineties includes an acknowledgment of the need for more diverse thinking about politics.

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