The heritage film
in Contemporary French cinema
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The quality costume drama of the 1980s and 1990s has been termed the 'heritage film'. Classical in form, historical or literary in inspiration, the heritage genre tends to place a premium on high production values, often relying on international co-productions and famous stars in order to ensure a large audience. Although spectacle is clearly fundamental to the heritage film, it is always a supposedly authenticated spectacle, legitimised by claims to historical accuracy or cultural sources; hence the number of literary adaptations, biopics of forgotten figures, and reappraisals of revolution and empire. The heritage film often takes its subject or source from the 'culturally respectable classicisms of literature, painting, music'. Both temporally and spatially, then, Un long dimanche de fiançailles takes us on a journey into a lost France which is resolutely utopian, despite the context of the war and its aftermath.

Contemporary French cinema

An introduction

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