Legacy
Un héros très discret, Le Promeneur du Champ-de-Mars, Indigènes and Diplomatie
in Reframing remembrance
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Chapter 4 considers the topic of legacy. After analysing Resnais’s Nuit et brouillard and Lanzmann’s Shoah, it discusses four French films engaging with the legacy left by les années noires of the Occupation. In Un héros très discret, the story of a young man who takes advantage of post-war confusion to falsely assume the status of a former Resistant, Audiard interrogates the reliability of testimony and how the public can be manipulated for different political and personal purposes. It also challenges the ‘official’, Gaullist retelling of the Occupation. Le Promeneur du Champ-de-Mars is based on the last few months of François Mitterrand’s life, focusing closely on the ambiguity of his wartime allegiances and teasing out what legacy can mean on both a grand and personal scale. Another politically charged film is Bouchareb’s Indigènes, which actively aimed to right wrongs of the past and ongoing injustices faced by Second World War veterans from previous colonial territories in North Africa. An effort to rectify a lack of recognition but also an appeal for compensation, this film illustrates the relevance of films telling stories from the past and their potential impact on the contemporary society viewing them. Finally, Diplomatie is a dialogue debating the importance of a nation’s cultural heritage, one that is worthy of respect and protection.

Reframing remembrance

Contemporary French cinema and the Second World War

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