Bill Marshall
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Itineraries of Frenchness
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Interrogations of Frenchness are a crucial part of the mix in Téchiné's explorations of modern life. Plural itineraries of Frenchness echo Téchiné's refusal when dealing with sexuality to alight upon stable ‘gay’ identities. Just as homosexuality serves to heterogenise the sexual, journeys and margins serve to heterogenise ‘France’. Téchiné's films prompt the question, ‘which France?’ A word of which Téchiné is fond is dépaysement, whose literal meaning is that of being made to change country (pays), to be exiled, uprooted, lost, and thus in general to change place or milieu. For Téchiné it is a kind of ontological category, describing the nature of human existence. This chapter examines its more literal dimension of dépaysement, exploring Téchiné's Alice et Martin (1998). There are many remarkable aspects to Alice et Martin, and the messiness of its overall edit is to some extent the flip side of the film's pluralism, which constantly tugs at, and even runs away from, the central narrative thread.

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