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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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Julien Duvivier and inter-war ‘banlieutopia’

Julien Duvivier and inter-war ‘banlieutopia’

(p.62) 5 Julien Duvivier and inter-war ‘banlieutopia’
Screening the Paris suburbs

Margaret C. Flinn

Manchester University Press

Idyllic or pastoral representations of the suburban milieu were not uncommon in the 1930s, yet even the most idealized sites explored by filmmakers were not unproblematic. The escape promised city-dwellers was temporary, and the possibility of establishing a productive micro-society free of the ills of urban centre and provincial village was limited by the vestiges of class structure and cultural allegiances. This chapter highlights social barriers to the construction of egalitarian human communities in two works by Julien Duvivier, the silent adaptation Au Bonheur des Dames (after Émile Zola, 1930) and the poetic realist La Belle Équipe (1936). Where the former title employs a bucolic waterside setting to underscore the perpetuation of class tensions that characterise urban life, the Popular Front-era La Belle Équipe allegorises the building of community through the workers’ construction of a suburban dance hall. It is less the protagonists’ failure or success that interests the author, than the metaphorization of community via architecture, and how emplotment and editing serve this utopic purpose.

Keywords:   pastoral, utopia, architecture, community, internationalism

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