Art, Architecture and Visual Culture

Coline Serreau and intertextuality

This chapter begins with the idea of utopia which was the original theme of Coline Serreau's first documentary and which is central to her first fiction film, Pourquoi pas!. The 'community' created by the three bachelors could be seen as another alternative to accepted gender roles, and a variation of the ideal society created by the trio of Pourquoi pas!. The chapter examines the ways Serreau endlessly rewrote and re-created her ideal communities from one film and one play to the next. Taking intertextuality in its wider sense, the chapter analyses the direct and indirect influences and quotations from the 'philosophical century' and to a lesser extent from the seventeenth century. It demonstrates Serreau's originality and skilful synthesising of a number of inherited genres, from the conte philosophique to the fairy-tale.

in Coline Serreau
Abstract only

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book is devoted not only to some relevant biographical aspects of Coline Serreau's personal and artistic life, but also to the social, historical and political context of her debut. It deals with the 1970s' flavour of Serreau's work and more especially with the importance of politics. Taking intertextuality in its broadest sense, it assesses the strong literary influence on the tone, genre and content of Serreau's films and dramas. The book is concerned with the cinematographic genres Serreau uses. It provides a description and an analysis of Serreau's comedies, within the wider perspective of French comedies. The book also deals with the element of 'family' or community which is recurrent in Serreau's films and plays.

in Coline Serreau
Abstract only
in Coline Serreau
Abstract only
Coline Serreau and politics (1972–96)

This chapter considers the specificity of French cinema in the 1970s before analysing in more detail Coline Serreau's first film. Serreau's work on stage and on big or small screens was strongly influenced by the political mood which succeeded May '68 in France. In France, the Utopian tradition in literature is particularly marked in the period preceding and following the 1789 Revolution. The presence in the background of a huge reproduction of a painting by the French seventeenth-century painter Lorrain reinforces in a way the idea of performance since the rebellious artists appear in some long shots to be part of the painted background. What J. P. Jeancolas calls the 'vague contemporary', which for him characterises French cinema before the 1970s, became much more precise afterwards. The 'contemporary' was mostly expressed through socio-political films.

in Coline Serreau
Comedy and humour

Women of more ordinary physique were to occupy a new space, first of all on the stage, and sometimes on the big screen, since many plays mounted by the Splendid Company were to become films. Female humour and laughter cannot be considered without another powerful element: the motivation of often transgressive laughter. This chapter examines a few examples of Coline Serreau's humour in her comedies in order to assess whether or not she offers an alternative to the traditional male comedy, before considering in more detail and from a more general perspective the devices she uses to create humour. The golden age of French comedy was cut short by the First World War. Although the comedy was by and large a minor genre in the cinema of the Occupation, other forms of light film entertainment either remained (the farce) or emerged (the film zazou).

in Coline Serreau

This chapter outlines the framework which is used to differentiate mock-documentary texts from each other. It aims to promote discussion on mock-documentaries which acknowledges the evident complexity of the form, and especially the degree of reflexivity which these texts construct towards the documentary genre. The chapter focuses on the range of audience research traditions which have emerged particularly from the post-structuralist developments within sociological theory. It argues that an integral part of the 'mock-docness' of a text is the extent to which it encourages audiences to acknowledge the reflexivity inherent to any appropriation of the documentary form. The chapter suggests an initial schema of three degrees, a model which approaches mock-documentaries according to the intersection between the intention of the filmmakers, the nature and degree of the text's appropriation of documentary codes and conventions, and the degree of reflexivity consequently encouraged for their audience.

in Faking it
Abstract only
Hybridity, indigenismo and the discourse of whitening

This chapter examines how the concept of hybridity mediates the post-Revolutionary discourse of indigenismo (indigenism) in its cinematic form. It looks specifically at how malinchismo, which is also figured as a 'positive, valorisation of whiteness,' threatens the 'purity' of an essential Mexican in María Candelaria, Emilio Fernández's most famous indigenist film. This chapter looks at the contradictions of indigenism in Fernández' often cited as exemplary María Candelaria, suggesting that the film's representation of the indígena embodies a hybrid incoherent identity. The chapter also argues that the representation of indigenismo in Maria Candelaria is predicated on a pre-Revolutionary racial ideology that comes not just from a residual European influence but also from Fernandez' borrowings from Hollywood. This chapter also looks at the contradictions of indigenism in Fernández' two other Golden Age indigenist films Maclovia and La perla (The Pearl).

in Emilio Fernández
Abstract only

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the key concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book develops a theoretical framework through which mock-documentary can be analysed, and in particular through which it can be distinguished from other fact-fiction screen forms such as drama-documentary, Reality TV and docu-soap. It describes and identifies the range of mock-documentary texts and in the process to illuminate the differing relationships such texts build between texts, audiences and the discourse of factuality. The book provides an initial schema to begin the process of identifying and analysing the ways in which mock-documentary relates to, and critically comments upon, the documentary form. It examines the intentions of the filmmakers, the specific textual strategies which they adopt and the roles constructed for the audience in order to understand fully the distinctiveness of the mock-documentary form.

in Faking it
Situating the mock-documentary

This chapter positions the mock-documentary form in relation to one of the fictional forms which similarly works to complicate any apparent divisions between fact and fiction. It argues that part of the process of defining what mock-documentaries are by necessity involves identifying what they are not. The chapter discusses the differences between mock-documentaries and drama-documentaries. Both drama-documentary and mock-documentary are fictional forms which seek to establish particular relationships with the documentary genre. Drama-documentary is best described as the form that attempts to stay closest to the actual historical event or persons. Like drama-documentary, mock-documentaries are fictional texts, but they position themselves quite differently in relation to the discourses of fact and fiction. In making a drama-documentary the filmmaker's intention is to operate within the expectations of factual discourse and to produce a text that is historically accurate. The chapter looks at examples of dramadocumentaries which could be mistaken for mock-documentaries.

in Faking it
Abstract only

This chapter positions texts according to three general textual tendencies; a nostalgic frame directed towards a fictional subject; the group of texts which could be termed 'mock-rockumentaries'; and a third group which we have termed 'mock-docu-soap'. The first of the degree 1 'nostalgic' texts is an early effort at mock-documentary, and interesting especially as an example which is not consistent in its construction of the mock-documentary form. The mock-documentary text offers a more seamless simulation of documentary form than either The Rutles, or Woody Allen's early effort at mock-documentary, Take the Money and Run. The Rutles follows the parodic model of the Monty Python's Flying Circus television series, and it features both Python regulars and Saturday Night Live comics. The film uses the mock-documentary form to present the story of the Rutles, a detailed parody of the mythology of the British musical group the Beatles.

in Faking it