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Multilingualism and power in contemporary French cinema

In a world defined by the flow of people, goods and cultures, many contemporary French films explore the multicultural nature of today's France through language. In a cinematic landscape increasingly characterised by multiculturalism and linguistic diversity, a number of contemporary French films are beginning to represent multilingualism as a means of attaining and exerting social power. This book is the first substantial study of multilingual film in France. Unpacking the power dynamics at play in the dialogue of eight emblematic films, it argues that many contemporary French films take a new approach to language and power. The book begins in central Paris in Polisse and Entre les murs, then travels to the banlieue in Un prophete and Dheepan. It then heads to another culturally loaded but very different space with Welcome and La Graine et le mulet, whose border-crossing stories unfold in the port cities of Calais and Sete respectively. Then, in London River and Des hommes et des dieux, the book steps off French soil, travelling to the English capital and former French colony of Algeria. It explores characters whose lives are marked not only by France, but by former colonies, foreign countries and other European states. In its depiction of strategic code-switching in transcultural scenarios, contemporary French multilingual cinema shows the potential for symbolic power inherent in French, other dominant Western tongues, and many migrant and minority languages. The book offers a unique insight into the place of language and power in French cinema today.

Lifestyle migration and the ongoing quest for a better way of life

This is a study of how lifestyle choices intersect with migration, and how this relationship frames and shapes post-migration lives. It presents a conceptual framework for understanding post-migration lives that incorporates culturally specific imaginings, lived experiences, individual life histories, and personal circumstances. Through an ethnographic lens incorporating in-depth interviews, participant observation, life and migration histories, this monograph reveals the complex process by which migrants negotiate and make meaningful their lives following migration. By promoting their own ideologies and lifestyle choices relative to those of others, British migrants in rural France reinforce their position as members of the British middle class, but also take authorship of their lives in a way not possible before migration. This is evident in the pursuit of a better life that initially motivated migration and continues to characterise post-migration lives. As the book argues, this ongoing quest is both reflective of wider ideologies about living, particularly the desire for authentic living, and subtle processes of social distinction. In these respects, the book provides an empirical example of the relationship between the pursuit of authenticity and middle-class identification practices.

Châteaux and landed estates, family portraits, names, titles and coats of arms are symbols of aristocratic identity and integral to the collective memory of nobility. In this study of tangible and intangible cultural heritage Elizabeth Macknight explains the significance of nobles’ conservationist traditions for public engagement with the history of France. During the French Revolution nobles’ property was seized, destroyed, or sold off by the nation. State intervention during the nineteenth century meant historic monuments became protected under law in the public interest. The Journées du Patrimoine, created in 1984 by the French Ministry for Culture, became a Europe-wide calendar event in 1991. Each year millions of French and international visitors enter residences and museums to admire France’s aristocratic cultural heritage. Drawing on archival evidence from across the country, Macknight presents a compelling account of power, interest and emotion in family dynamics and nobles’ relations with rural and urban communities.

This book, which is about what ‘popular culture’ means in France, and how the term's shifting meanings have been negotiated and contested, represents a theoretically informed study of the way that popular culture is lived, imagined, fought over and negotiated in modern and contemporary France. It covers a wide range of overarching concerns: the roles of state policy, the market, political ideologies, changing social contexts and new technologies in the construction of the popular. But the book also provides a set of specific case studies showing how popular songs, stories, films, TV programmes and language styles have become indispensable elements of ‘culture’ in France. Deploying yet also rethinking a ‘Cultural Studies’ approach to the popular, it therefore challenges dominant views of what French culture really means today.

The issue of ethnicity in France, and how ethnicities are represented there visually, remains one of the most important and polemical aspects of French post-colonial politics and society. This is the first book to analyse how a range of different ethnicities have been represented across contemporary French visual culture. Via a wide series of case studies – from the worldwide hit film Amélie to France’s popular TV series Plus belle la vie – it probes how ethnicities have been represented across different media, including film, photography, television and the visual arts. Four chapters examine distinct areas of particular importance: national identity, people of Algerian heritage, Jewishness and France’s second city Marseille.

This book is about the lives of refugee women in Britain and France. Who are they? Where do they come from? What happens to them when they arrive, while they wait for a decision on their claim for asylum, and after the decision, whether positive or negative? The book shows how laws and processes designed to meet the needs of men fleeing political persecution often fail to protect women from persecution in their home countries and fail to meet their needs during and after the decision-making process. It portrays refugee women as resilient, resourceful and potentially active participants in British and French social, political and cultural life. The book exposes the obstacles that make active participation difficult.

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Negotiating the national popular

5 French television: negotiating the national popular Lucy Mazdon A Introduction s has been argued in previous chapters, discourses relating to what constitutes popular culture in France have experienced a sweeping paradigm shift in the last fifty or so years. This has been witnessed across a range of cultural practices and philosophical and political debates. This period of change and negotiation coincides to a great extent with the development and gradual entrenchment of television in French cultural life, from its early days as a little-watched curiosity

in Imagining the popular in contemporary French culture
An introduction

This book provides an introduction to French film studies. It concentrates on films which have had either a theatrical or video release in Britain, or which are available on video or DVD from France. Most avant-garde film-makers, including Germaine Dulac, were unable to continue in the 1930s, faced with the technical demands and high production costs of the sound film. Exacerbated by the Depression, and above all by the financial collapse of both Gaumont and Pathé, film production fell from 158 features the previous year to only 126 in 1934, and 115 in 1935. While poetic realism was at its height, a talismanic figure in post-war film was faced with a generally lukewarm reception from critics and audiences. Thanks largely to German finance and also to an influx of filmmakers replacing those who had departed, after 1940 French film. If 1968 marked a watershed in French cinema's engagement with politics and history 1974 did the same for representations of sexuality. In that year, pornography entered mainstream French cinema. Although film-making remains male-dominated in France as elsewhere, 'more women have taken an active part in French cinema than in any other national film industry'. A quarter of all French films made in 1981 were polars, and many of those were box-office successes. French fantasy has had a particular national outlet: the bande dessinée. The heritage film often takes its subject or source from the 'culturally respectable classicisms of literature, painting, music'.

The morphogenesis of an African regional capital

This book deals with the planning culture and architectural endeavours that shaped the model space of French colonial Dakar, a prominent city in West Africa. With a focus on the period from the establishment of the city in the mid-nineteenth century until the interwar years, our involvement with the design of Dakar as a regional capital reveals a multiplicity of 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' dynamics. These include a variety of urban politics, policies, practices and agencies, and complex negotiations at both the physical and conceptual levels. The study of the extra-European planning history of Europe has been a burgeoning field in scholarly literature, especially in the last few decades. There is a clear tendency within this literature, however, to focus on the more privileged colonies in the contemporary colonial order of preference, such as British India and the French colonies in North Africa. Colonial urban space in sub-Saharan Africa has accordingly been addressed less. With a rich variety of historical material and visual evidence, the book incorporates both primary and secondary sources, collected from multilateral channels in Europe and Senegal. It includes an analysis of a variety of planning and architectural models, both metropolitan and indigenous. Of interest to scholars in history, geography, architecture, urban planning, African studies and Global South studies – this book is also one of the pioneers in attesting to the connection between the French colonial doctrines of assimilation and association and French colonial planning and architectural policies in sub-Saharan Africa.

Open Access (free)
Exiles in the British Isles 1940–44

It is widely assumed that the French in the British Isles during the Second World War were fully fledged supporters of General de Gaulle, and that, across the channel at least, the French were a ‘nation of resisters’. This study reveals that most exiles were on British soil by chance rather than by design, and that many were not sure whether to stay. Overlooked by historians, who have concentrated on the ‘Free French’ of de Gaulle, these were the ‘Forgotten French’: refugees swept off the beaches of Dunkirk; servicemen held in camps after the Franco-German armistice; Vichy consular officials left to cater for their compatriots; and a sizeable colonist community based mainly in London. Drawing on little-known archival sources, this study examines the hopes and fears of those communities who were bitterly divided among themselves, some being attracted to Pétain as much as to de Gaulle.