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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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A crucible of emotions: Maurice Pialat’s L’Amour existe

A crucible of emotions: Maurice Pialat’s L’Amour existe

(p.115) 9 A crucible of emotions: Maurice Pialat’s L’Amour existe
Screening the Paris suburbs

Elisabeth Cardonne-Arlyck

Manchester University Press

By turns elegiac and polemical, Maurice Pialat’s twenty-minute essay film L’Amour existe (1960) encompasses at once an individual life, the history of France from the pre-war period through WWII and the Trente Glorieuses, and the visual representation of the banlieue from Impressionist painting to poetic realism. The ineluctable push of time is embodied in the forward motion of trains, buses, bicycles and people, as well as in slow tracking or panning shots that survey the impoverished landscapes of greater Paris from dawn to dusk and into the night. The author underscores the formative qualities of an intimate, unseen and lost space in which suburban beauty lays hidden, and where, in keeping with Pialat’s chosen title, ‘love exists’. Behind the overwhelming forces of poverty, routine and modernization that its richly layered commentary denounces, L’Amour existe points to what these forces have silenced, what could have been revealed but remained invisible and unsaid. The critical faculty of the movie camera to reveal hidden realities in the apparently bleakest of worlds is reaffirmed.

Keywords:   essay films, beauty, movement, interiority, voiceover

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