Gemma King
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A brief history of multilingualism in French cinema
in Decentring France
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French multilingual cinema is primarily a contemporary phenomenon. The twentieth century may have seen comparatively few French films featuring other languages, yet multilingual films have in fact existed since the advent of sound cinema. The official contracts of co-productions, through which France and at least one other country create a film in collaboration, also implicitly promote multilingualism through their multinationality. The first period of French cinema history to produce a noteworthy selection of multilingual films is the prolific inter-war period of the 1930s. While le cinema du look was a key moment in the development of twentieth-century French cinema in general, it remains one of the less diverse and experimental periods for multilingual filmmaking. Beur and banlieue films of the mid 1980s and 1990s rarely, if ever, represent a multiplicity of languages in the same way as contemporary multilingual films.

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Decentring France

Multilingualism and power in contemporary French cinema


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