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Screening the Paris suburbsFrom the silent era to the 1990s$
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Derek Schilling and Philippe Met

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526106858

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526106858.001.0001

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The banlieue in French cinema of the 1930s

The banlieue in French cinema of the 1930s

(p.50) 4 The banlieue in French cinema of the 1930s
Screening the Paris suburbs

Keith Reader

Manchester University Press

Assessing popular comedies and dramas, the author argues that in 1930s French cinema the banlieue is an ‘imagined community’ that resists transfer to a map. Its dual function as a space of social relegation and popular entertainment correlates to a specifically Parisian social geography where the affluent, verdant west contrasts sharply with the industrial northeast. Suburban locales allow the exploration of themes ranging from proletarian downfall (Le Jour se lève, Marcel Carné 1939) and murder (Cœur de Lilas, Anatole Litvak 1932) to open-air pleasure-seeking (Partie de campagne, Jean Renoir, 1936/1946) and the socialising dimension of popular song. By bringing together a variegated set of films from the left-leaning screenplays of Jacques Prévert to the Pétainist Notre-Dame de la Mouise (Robert Péguy, 1941), the author probes the tension inherent in the imagined banlieue between work and play, riches and poverty, redemption and despoilment.

Keywords:   social class, community, popular entertainment, poetic realism, song

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