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Imagining the popular in contemporary French culture$
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Diana Holmes and David Looseley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719078163

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719078163.001.0001

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Why popular films are popular: identification, imitation and critical mortification

Why popular films are popular: identification, imitation and critical mortification

(p.123) 4 Why popular films are popular: identification, imitation and critical mortification
Imagining the popular in contemporary French culture

David Platten

Manchester University Press

This chapter argues that the French popular film is a contradiction in terms: French cinema has long been associated with high culture, and despite the iconoclastic verve and youth appeal of the Nouvelle Vague, the longer-term impact of this hugely influential movement was to reinforce perception of French film as self-reflexive and demanding rather than aimed at a wide audience. It defines cinema as an intrinsically popular medium. Not only does cinema's visual storytelling appeal across levels of education and class, but the ontological shift its invention produced in the subject's relationship to space, time and other subjectivities gave pleasure to the mass of the population. Developments in cinema's wonderful capacity to take people elsewhere continue to thrill a socially diverse public, and to inflect their vision in the widest senses of the word.

Keywords:   French popular film, French cinema, Nouvelle Vague, French comedy, popular medium

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