Post-1995 French cinema: return of the social, return of the political?

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O'Shaughnessy, M (2003)

A key trend in post-1995 French cinema has been the return of the social. Analysing this trend, this article seeks to evaluate its politic impact. Using Hervé Le Roux’s Reprise (1997) and Agnès Varda’s Les Glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000) as key meta-texts, it suggests that the current wave of politically engaged cinema needs to be approached in new ways that recognise how films trace the impact of a politically unmediated, ‘raw’ real on groups or individuals. It further suggests that the withdrawal of political mediation gives the films an essential ambiguity and a melodramatic quality that, rather than mere cliché, may be a privileged way to engage with the violence of the real. Film is now not so much in the van but dans le bain of a diverse socio-political stirring.
  • References (10)

    16 LE PERON, 'La nouvelle donne', pp. 144-5.

    17 This counter-intuitive preference for the distinctly apolitical Michel Poiccard suggests how easily an all-or-nothing approach to the political can come down on the side of nothing, and how a politics of form (one that, in the absence of concrete progressive content, keeps the space of the political open) P can easily be mistaken for a purely formal politics.

    18 Cahiers du cinéma, 545 (avril 2000), pp. 62-4.

    19 MURAY, P., Le Débat, no. 110 (mai-août 2000), pp. 122-35.

    20 MURAY, Le Débat, p. 125.

    21 BEUGNET, Iris, p. 63.

    22 This difference is also expressed at the level of the cast and script. While Nadia is played by a wellknown actress, Ariane Ascaride, the strikers are largely played by real railway workers. The script, a blend of document and fiction, comes from a collaboration between Cabrera and a sociologist,

    23 The derisory ssinging of the Internationale and the abortive and briefly seen strike of La Ville est Philippe Corcuff, who had extensively documented the 1995 strikes; but it also makes room for the improvisations of the workers themselves. 35-6. t tranquille are telling examples of the way that the films cited signal the withdrawal of the political. -

    24 Dominique Cabrera, interview with Françoise Audé et Yann Tobin, in Positif, 470 (avril 2000), pp.

    25 FEHER, M., 'De la Révolution à la Résistance. Grandeur et servitude du discours anti-libéral', Vacarme, 17 (septembre 2001), consulted at

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