The introduction outlines the social and political context of shifting borders within post-2004 (EU enlargement) Europe. It engages with concepts from cultural geography, border studies, sociology, and film studies to define the concept of a ‘screen border’. It introduces the concept of cinéma-monde, which appears in the book’s title. It also argues that screen media play a contemporary role similar to that of mass-produced maps in the nineteenth century. The introduction closes with a literature review of related works and a chapter summary.
While discussing Godard’s works in general, this chapter focuses most closely on four films: A Married Woman (1963), Passion (1982), Hail Mary (1984) and In Praise of Love (2000), while also offering some reflections on Prenom Carmen (1983). The guiding argument of the chapter is provided by the number two: love, for Godard, is a matter of ‘seeing the world as two’ rather than one. (Philosophically this idea of love comes from Alain Badiou, noting that Badiou’s reflections were to a large extent inspired by Godard’s In Praise of Love.) The chapter engages extensively with Leo Bersani’s (with Ulysse Dutoit) writings on Godard, especially on Passion. Bersani argues that Godard’s films offer what he calls a ‘new mode of relation’ based on connectedness and correspondences between humans and the world. The chapter turns Bersani’s observations in the direction of two key statements from Godard’s films of the early 1980s: ‘If I love you, that’s the end of you’ (from Prenom Carmen) and ‘One’s better as a pair’ (from Hail Mary). Ultimately, the chapter argues that Godard’s films show us a version of love that is always ‘over there’, elsewhere, just out of reach.
This chapter examines a range of Antonioni’s films from the perspectives of the key female characters in those films. For these characters, the dominant conflict is between a quest for aloneness or isolation, on the one hand, and the search for love and companionship, on the other. This is typically the result of the woman’s having been treated badly by the man she loves, whether this be Claudia’s betrayal by Sandro in L’avventura, Giuliana’s difficulties with her husband, Ugo, and her lover, Corrado, in Red Desert, or – in the chapter’s key example – Lidia’s increasingly fraught relationship with her husband, Giovanni, in La notte. The chapter argues that the guiding mood of the endings of these films is positive. Antonioni’s films provide their female characters with the hope that their lives and loves will be rewarding and worthwhile, and that genuine love will be possible in this world.
Modern European cinema and love examines the work of nine European directors working from the 1950s onwards whose films contain stories about and reflections on romantic love and marriage. The directors are: Ingmar Bergman, Alain Resnais, Michelangelo Antonioni, Agnès Varda, François Truffaut, Federico Fellini, Jean-Luc Godard and Eric Rohmer. There is also an opening chapter on Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game. The book is informed by theories on love and marriage proposed by American philosopher Stanley Cavell. Two of Cavell’s main concepts, acknowledgment and remarriage, play key roles in the book. Cavell envisions, especially in his writings on cinema, a notion of marriage that is based on love and mutual equality between the members of a romantic couple. The argument of Modern European cinema and love is that some of the key filmmakers of European cinema after 1950 make themes of acknowledgment and remarriage central to their concerns. The book also engages in extended discussions of Leo Bersani’s writings on Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer and others in terms of what Bersani calls connectedness. While the book is ultimately critical of Bersani’s theories, his work nevertheless allows the full scope of the material in Modern European cinema and love to achieve its aims.
The book’s opening chapter provides some key points of navigation. First of all, it refines distinctions between acknowledgment and connectedness, and between theories proposed by Stanley Cavell and Leo Bersani, set out in the Introduction. It then goes into more detail on comparing some aspects of the Hollywood tradition to the conditions of European cinema in the 1950s and 1960s. The chapter features a comparison between what Cavell calls a Hollywood ‘comedy of remarriage’, The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937), as well as providing a discussion of Cavell’s conception of remarriage. Alongside the Hollywood film, the chapter also examines a film by one of the European filmmakers featured later in the book, Contempt (Le mépris) (1963), directed by Jean-Luc Godard. These analyses allow the main themes of the book to be presented.
Film and television offer important insights into wider social outlooks on borders in France and Europe. Screen borders: From Calais to cinéma-monde undertakes a visual cultural history of contemporary borders and border outlooks through a film and television tour of Europe. Drawing on examples produced primarily since 2004, the book traces the on-screen borders of Europe from the Gare du Nord train station in Paris to Calais, London, Lampedusa, and Lapland. It contends that different types of mobilities and immobilities (refugees, urban commuters, tourists) and vantage points (from borderland forests, ports, train stations, airports, refugee centres) are all part of a complex French and European border narrative. It also builds on scholarship on the intersection of cognitive mapping and screen media to argue that films and, in particular, series function as a form of contemporary map that allows viewers to grasp shifts in geographic and political landscapes. Screen borders draws on cultural studies, geography, and film theory to analyse a corpus of film and television case studies assembled under a wilfully broad cinéma-monde framework. It covers a wide range of examples, from popular films and TV series (The Tunnel) to auteur fiction and documentaries by well-known directors from across Europe and beyond, such as Claire Simon, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Tony Gatlif, and Robert Guédiguian.
Migrants and the Mediterranean in Italian–French co-productions
This chapter focuses on arguably the most contested and mediatised border of Europe. Although France has some 600 km of Mediterranean coastline, the vast majority of migrants and refugees enter Europe via two of the nation’s neighbours, Italy and Spain. The chapter approaches films about migrant crossings in the Mediterranean in relationship to national film industries, co-production initiatives, and the politics of representation. Given the open borders between Schengen nations, people arriving in Lampedusa are as much a French concern as those waiting to leave Calais. National cinema is therefore in itself not able to present an adequate representation of and response to the alarming humanitarian crisis that has been transpiring along Europe’s Mediterranean frontier since at least 2008. I take examples of transnational co-productions between France and Italy and assess how they deal with European space and the ethical dimensions of France’s role in the European migrant and refugee ‘crisis’. I argue that the concept of cinéma-monde, which is fundamentally concerned with borders and ethics of encounters and openness, provides an apt framework for describing how transnational film functions in relation to, but also beyond, directly French or francophone border concerns. By mapping Europe’s borders through the cinéma-monde optic, I engage with complex and multivalent discussions about the complexity of the continent’s southern perimeter, a borderline often viewed in stark binary terms. The three French–Italian co-productions are Eden à l'ouest (Costa-Gavras, 2009), Terraferma (Emanuele Crialese, 2011), and Mediterranea (Jonas Carpignano, 2015).
This chapter focuses on a particular brand of cinematic travel undertaken within the confines of ‘Fortress Europe’ and inspired by travel interactions. I label this practice ‘touring’, a variant of tourism that frequently overlaps with other types of mobility. It will be examined through the lens of airport cinema, a term that encompasses both air travel and the more frequent use of the airport itself as a setting. Collectively touring films present Europe as a productive border zone similar to what Étienne Balibar has termed ‘borderland Europe’, within which the filmmakers in question interrogate national identity and investigate what it means to belong to a broader European category that Balibar names ‘multiple-citizenship’. This chapter focuses on air travel because – while not something generally perceived as particularly cinematic – it has had a dramatic impact on how Europeans perceive space and their own relationships to borders within the context of Europe’s new geographies. This new form of mobility has not only facilitated long-distance travel within Europe; it has also – like the tunnels and high-speed rail discussed in Chapter 1 – engendered dramatic realignments of spatial dynamics within and across nations, and new and sometimes challenging relationships with local residents. The chapter covers nine examples, from Philippe Lioret’s 1993 Tombés du ciel through two final films covered in more detail: L’Italien, by Olivier Baroux (2010) and Viagem a Portugal (Sérgio Tréfaut, 2011). These consider the place of postcolonial subjects and other ostensible outsiders in Europe within the touring context.
Ports and watery borderlands from Calais to Lesbos
This chapter discusses five films by ‘global French’ filmmakers set at least partially in or involving journeys towards ports in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. It considers the borderland potential of ports and water from the perspective of those who reside there rather than those who have arrived (recently) as migrants or refugees. Seen from this vantage point, ports are protean spaces revealing multiple layers of belonging and diverse, multidirectional trajectories. They also serve as loci of solidarity across borders. I consider two French films that involve voyages to Calais, coming respectively after the major encampment-dismantling campaigns of 2009 and 2016, and that represent the area and its migrants in different ways: Une saison en France (Mahamet-Saleh Haroun, 2017) and Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki, 2011). I then move to the Mediterranean to consider two French auteurs whose work has consistently problematised binary approaches to borders and categorisations of French national cinema. In La villa (Robert Guédiguian, 2017), the arrival of refugee children in a small seaside hamlet on the outskirts of Marseille provides a backdrop for the locals’ interrogation of the shifting nature of place, solidarity, and identity. Tony Gatlif’s Djam (2017) questions any neat, binary distinction between Europe and other places. Djam is set against the backdrop of dual crises: one financial and the other the dramatic influx of refugees in 2015, which remains hauntingly unseen even as its vestiges are entirely unavoidable. The chapter also covers Gatlif’s 2012 hybrid political documentary Indignados in relation to Djam.
The aria Erste Liebe, Himmelslust, WoO 92 (previously known as Primo amore, piacer del ciel), is the longest Beethoven composed, far exceeding those in Fidelio or his other dramatic and stage works. As one of his earliest arias, its origins have remained somewhat obscured because of limited surviving evidence, while the Italian translation copied into the autograph manuscript (now in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin) reinforced the perception of his inadequacies at text-setting. More recently, the identification of brief German-language sketches in the Kafka Miscellany (British Library) and Ernst Herttrich’s 1993 discovery of Gerhard Anton von Halem’s original German poem have paved the way for renewed assessment of the work. This chapter offers a more thorough consideration of all extant evidence in relation to the work’s genesis (including a sketch housed in the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Vienna, not previously associated with WoO 92), assesses Beethoven’s construction of an aria that deviates deliberately from the strophic refrain structure of Halem’s poem, and aims to offer a re-evaluation of his nuanced approach to metre, motif and meaning as viewed through the lens of the original German-language text. Such analysis demonstrates that Erste Liebe is a strikingly sophisticated (and subtly prophetic) manifestation of Beethoven’s approach to text-setting, while offering a valuable point of departure for evaluating his subsequent engagement with large-scale aria forms in later stage works and dramatic genres.