The 1990s witnessed an explosion in women's writing in France, with a particularly exciting new generation of writer's coming to the fore, such as Christine Angot, Marie Darrieussecq and Regine Detambel. This book introduces an analysis of new women's writing in contemporary France, including both new writers of the 1990s and their more established counter-parts. The 1990s was an exciting period for women's writing in France. The novels of Louise Lambrichs are brilliant but troubling psychological dramas focusing on the traumas that inhabit the family romance: incest, sterility, the death those we love and the terrible legacy of mourning. The body of writing produced by Marie Redonnet between 1985 and 2000 is an unusually coherent one. The book explores the possibility of writing 'de la mélancolie' through focusing on the work of Chantal Chawaf, whose writing may be described as 'melancholic autofiction', melancholic autobiographical fiction. It places Confidence pour confidence within Constant's oeuvre as a whole, and argues for a more positive reading of the novel, a reading that throws light on the trajectory of mother-daughter relations in her fiction. Christiane Baroche was acclaimed in France first as a short-story writer. Unable to experience the freedom of their brothers and fathers, beur female protagonists are shown to experience it vicariously through the reading, and the writing of, narratives. Clotilde Escalle's private worlds of sex and violence, whose transgressions are part of real lives, shock precisely because they are brought into the public sphere, expressed in and through writing.
Through its focus on secular Muslim public intellectuals in contemporary France,
this book challenges polarizing accounts of Islam and Muslims, which have been
ubiquitous in political and media debates for the last thirty years. The work of
these intellectuals is significant because it expresses, in diverse ways, an
‘internal’ vision of Islam that demonstrates how Muslim identification and
practices successfully engage with and are part of a culture of secularism
(laïcité). The study of individual secular Muslim intellectuals in contemporary
France thus gives credence to the claim that the categories of religion and the
secular are more closely intertwined than we might assume. This monograph is a
timely publication that makes a crucial contribution to academic and political
debates about the place of Islam and Muslims in contemporary France. The book
will focus on a discursive and contextualised analysis of the published works
and public interventions of Abdelwahab Meddeb, Malek Chebel, Leïla Babès, Dounia
Bouzar and Abdennour Bidar – intellectuals who have received little scholarly
attention despite being well-known figures in France.
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 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 great American film critic Manny Farber memorably declared space to be the most dramatic stylistic entity in the visual arts. He posited three primary types of space in fiction cinema: the field of the screen, the psychological space of the actor, and the area of experience and geography that the film covers. This book brings together five French directors who have established themselves as among the most exciting and significant working today: Bruno Dumont, Robert Guediguian, Laurent Cantet, Abdellatif Kechiche, and Claire Denis. It proposes that people think about cinematographic space in its many different forms simultaneously (screenspace, landscape, narrative space, soundscape, spectatorial space). Through a series of close and original readings of selected films, it posits a new 'space of the cinematic subject'. Dumont's attraction to real settings and locality suggests a commitment to realism. New forms and surfaces of spectatorship provoke new sensations and engender new kinds of perception, as well as new ways of understanding and feeling space. The book interrogates Guediguian's obsessive portrayal of one particular city, Marseilles. Entering into the spaces of work and non-work in Cantet's films, it asks what constitutes space and place within the contemporary field of social relations. The book also engages with cultural space as the site of social integration and metissage in the work of Kechiche, his dialogues with diasporic communities and highly contested urban locales. Denis's film work contains continually shifting points of passage between inside and outside, objective and subjective, in the restless flux.
From the past to the present: parameters
of Jewish identity
As the Introduction established, there are many reasons why
the representation of Jewishness in contemporaryFrench visual
culture merits consideration. First, France has the largest Jewish
population in Europe – approximately 600,000 people – and third
largest in the world: this number is exceeded only in the United
States and Israel (Winock 2004: 352; de Lange 2000: 4). Equally
there is a long history of Jewish settlement within France; it takes
pride in being the first European nation to grant
92–5 and 150), and the adaptations of Izzo’s books hark back to
John Frankenheimer’s French Connection 2 (1975), with Marseille
portrayed as a city controlled by warring Italian Mafia and
Maghrebi criminal gangs and now also under siege politically due
to the electoral success of the National Front in southern France,
with fear of crime and intolerance towards migrants settled in the
city fuelling racism among its white French inhabitants.
Furthermore, the city’s ethnic diversity has often been emphasised across contemporaryFrench visual culture, where such
self is also clearly manifest and, indeed, foregrounded in the work
of a signiﬁcant number of the contemporaryFrench women writers discussed in this volume. The authorial self as narrator or protagonist is
subject to the same tensions and negotiations as other aspects of the self –
above all, in relation to her readers. Sophie Calle’s experiments with
her/self both challenge and implicate the reader in an ethical relation to the
text, in which respect for the other and the self is precisely at stake. In
Detambel’s L’Ecrivaillon, the writing self is embodied, only to
remains uncertain. Perhaps, then, the distinctive evolution of a French middlebrow – what we called in the Introduction a ‘high popular’ – may ultimately be read as a kind of therapeutic
compromise. At any event, given that interactive democracy remains an
evolving, elusive and contested condition in twenty-first-century France,
the study of popular culture needs to be central to any understanding of
contemporaryFrench society, and thus to French Studies as an ongoing
1 The model of the active consumer holds true for language (Chapter 6) in the