Landscapes of Loss

Naomi Greene

Published by Princeton University Press, 1999
ISBN 10: 0691029598 / ISBN 13: 9780691029597
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In Landscapes of Loss, Naomi Greene makes new sense of the rich variety of postwar French films by exploring the obsession with the national past that has characterized French cinema since the late 1960s. Observing that the sense of grandeur and destiny that once shaped French identity has eroded under the weight of recent history, Greene examines the ways in which French cinema has represented traumatic and defining moments of the nation's past: the political battles of the 1930s, the Vichy era, decolonization, the collapse of ideologies. Drawing upon a broad spectrum of films and directors, she shows how postwar films have reflected contemporary concerns even as they have created images and myths that have helped determine the contours of French memory.


This study of the intricate links between French history, memory, and cinema begins by examining the long shadow cast by the Vichy past: the repressed memories and smothered unease that characterize the cinema of Alain Resnais are seen as a kind of prelude to a fierce battle for national memory that marked so-called rétro films of the 1970s and 1980s. The shifting political and historical perspectives toward the nation's more distant past, which also emerged in these years, are explored in the light of the films of one of France's leading directors, Bertrand Tavernier. Finally, the mood of nostalgia and melancholy that appears to haunt contemporary France is analyzed in the context of films about the nation's imperial past as well as those that hark back to a "golden age," a remembered paradis perdu, of French cinema itself.

About the Author: Naomi Greene is Professor Emeritus of French and Film Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Pier Paolo Pasolini: Cinema as Heresy (Princeton) and Antonin Artaud: Poet without Words (Simon & Schuster) and is the translator of Marc Ferro's Cinema and History (Wayne State University Press).

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Title: Landscapes of Loss
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good
Edition: 0.

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Greene, Naomi
Published by Princeton University Press (1999)
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Book Description Princeton Univ Pr, Ewing, New Jersey, U. S. A., 1999. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: No Dust Jacket. First Edition. There is a sense of deep national crisis that gives rise not only to the past, which is reflected in French cinema, but also to films thhat are permeated, albeit in different ways, by a profound melancholy. The mournful weight of the past is, certainly, most intense in the cinema of Alain Resnais: In his films, repressed and shifting memories seem to hold thought and action captive. But, to varying extents, a similar sense of paralysis affects the protagonists of other films. If the numbness that afflicts the characters in Le crabe-tambour and Outremer can be explained by the trauma of decolonizations, no similar explanation comes to the mind for the aimlessness of the homeless young people who roam about contemporary Paris in Les amants du Pont-Neuf. The preoccupation with memory seen in these films may recall the search for lost time undertaken by the narrator of Proust's masterpiece. Instead of finding joy, however, the past takes on the somber colors of the present. It is the various shapes of these haunted and often funereal sites that are examined in this book. Includes notes and an index. Binding is bright red cloth. ; 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 002710

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