Art, Architecture and Visual Culture
This chapter analyses how Jewishness has been represented across a wide range of works since the 1980s in French visual culture. It probes especially how contemporary Jewish experience has been represented via photography and popular cinema, but also considers films set during the Occupation era, which foreground anti-Semitism and interrogate the legacies of history and memory of World War Two in contemporary France.
By considering a range of different works from across contemporary visual culture, this chapter explores in detail how Marseille – and the ethnicities of its inhabitants – has been represented since the 1980s. It assesses the extent to which case studies taken from auteur and popular cinema, photography and television soap opera both conform with – and deviate from – traditional visions of this Mediterranean metropolis. It argues that Marseille has increasingly been deployed as a means by which to showcase ethnic diversity in contemporary France and French visual culture.
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 chapter builds on existing studies of how Algerian heritage has been represented across cinema by considering a range of case studies taken from different media, including visual arts, a TV film franchise by the director Yamina Benguigui and autobiographical trilogy by the author Leïla Sebbar. It pays particular attention to how gender and ethnicity interact in this area by focusing on works that have probed the role of women among Algerian diasporas and people of Algerian heritage more generally. As such it additionally aims to counteract the implicit focus on men and masculinity that has characterised many cinematic representations of people of Algerian heritage.
The longitudinal documentary, as objects of study and investigation, teach us a good deal about documentary representation in a wider sense. Barbara and Winfried Junge in their comprehensive survey of the Children of Golzow project provide one of the more detailed accounts of the reception of a long doc by reproducing a number of letters and emails sent in by viewers. Likewise with Seven Up, most observers agreed that much of the series' enduring appeal lies in the way it succeeds in combining the attributes of a compelling social history and the more homespun qualities of a soap-like drama of everyday life. As long docs develop, so each of them seems to veer away from an earlier preoccupation with society-oriented issues such as the formative influence of particular social environments and becomes far more concerned with tracking the twists and turns of individual lives.
This chapter explores how longitudinal documentary develop after they have achieved initial lift-off. The long doc work includes Michael Apted's Seven Up films, Winifred and Barbara Junge's The Children of Golzow and Swedish director Rainer Hartleb's The Children of Jordbrö. In 21 Up, almost half the film is given over to extended accounts of just four of the Seven Up subjects (Tony, Bruce, Nick and Neil). The chapter focuses on the role played by various institutions in the origination and nurturing of these projects. It discusses the developments in the working relationship of Junge with two of his subjects, Marieluise and Elke, who are the two leading female participants in The Children of Golzow. The Jordbrö Children and Living in Jordbrö put a clear marker down for all the Jordbrö films that follow in that they introduce us to the characteristic features of Hartleb's filmmaking style.
This chapter explores the conditions under which the longitudinal documentary under review came to be produced. It considers the role played by particular organisations and institutions in the nurturing of these works. The long doc work includes Michael Apted's Seven Up films, Winifred and Barbara Junge's The Children of Golzow and Swedish director Rainer Hartleb's The Children of Jordbrö. The World in Action tone is immediately detectable in the original Seven Up programme, which certainly does not pull any punches when setting out its agenda. Just like Junge and Apted with their long doc projects, Hartleb was still at an early stage in his filmmaking career when he began working on The Children of Jordbrö. Like his two fellow long doc filmmakers Apted and Hartleb, Junge was still relatively inexperienced when he started out on the Golzow project.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines some of the principal generic features of longitudinal documentary and considers the highly significant role that particular broadcasting institutions have had on their production, promotion and dissemination. It presents the examples of long doc works which resulted in the discovery of Seven Up's two best-known international 'competitors', the German series The Children of Golzow and the Swedish series The Children of Jordbrö. The book explores how the individual works originated, with a special emphasis on the nurturing role of particular institutions. It also explores the affinities that long docs have with soap opera texts, which have similar aspirations to never-endingness. The book concerns to explore the variety of ways in which long doc filmmakers contrive to bring their work to a satisfactory conclusion.