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The 400 Blows and Amelie: Representing Contemporary French National Cinema - Essay Example

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The 400 Blows and Amelie: Representing Contemporary French National Cinema. This thesis is substantiated through the analysis of two great French films, The 400 Blows by Truffaut and Amelie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, which both influenced the contemporary thought on French memory and history. …
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The 400 Blows and Amelie: Representing Contemporary French National Cinema
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Download file to see previous pages France is not the only society where in dominating political and cultural myths are preserved, or, more seldom, questioned by cinematic themes. However, it is also factual that the reverence customarily given to French cinema has reinforced the major function it has fulfilled in relation to myths coinciding with the national past (McLaughlin 2010). For instance, relating to the ways where in the dismal phase of the Occupation has been commemorated, scholar Henry Rousso argues that movies “seem to have had a decisive impact on the formation of a common, if not a collective, memory” (Vanderwolk 1997, 62). In a yet wider sense, it may be argued that if, for justifications to be discussed later.
Although French cinema has embodied the national history in unparalleled ways, the value and focus it has given to French history is barely a new trend. Somewhat the opposite, as mentioned above, practically from its beginning, French cinema played as an essential source of national past and cultural myth. Films from the 1890s until the 1950s, with remarkably few exceptions, represented a particular image of French history (Higbee & Leahy 2011). To a considerable extent, the particular essence of this image, which was mostly dominant and conscious, was created by, and expressed, a major historical meeting (Williams 1992): the era that witnessed the emergence of French cinema also witnessed the French shared past embrace the nationalistic and devoted forms that would characterise it for years to come.
Obviously, it is true that these forms had started to emerge prior to the 1890s (Greene 1999). Jules Michelet, a prominent French historian, described his homeland in the same nationalistic and almost deferential manners that, almost a century afterwards, would echo all over Gaulle’s vision of France (Hayward 2005). The belief of Michelet that his France had been granted a mission to “incarnate a moral ideal of the world” (Greene 1999, 13), that his country was fated to deepen the reaches of the Enlightenment and the Revolution, encouraged him to regard the splendour of French history as a reservoir of inspiration not just for the country but for the entire world. Michelet, seeing France a ‘living fraternity’, a form of ‘religion’ (ibid, p. 13), eloquently stated that “all other histories are mutilated; only ours is complete... the national legend of France is a streak of immense and uninterrupted light, a true Milky Way for the eyes of the world” (Greene 1999, 13-14). French cinema, from 1895, could be drawn upon to preserve the nationalistic image of the national history perceived fundamental to the core essence of France (Hayward 2005). The ‘great national recit’ (ibid, p. 205) could now be narrated not just by historical novels and works of art but also by moving pictures. France’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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