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Cinema and the Republic

Filming on the Margins in Contemporary France

Cinema and the Republic analyzes how contemporary French films represent immigrants as well as the residents of HLMs, suburban low-income housing estates in France. These groups have been and continue to be at the center of heated debates about security in France, and here Jonathan Ervine documents how French filmmakers have responded to such debates. Among the subjects he engages are the representations of undocumented migrants known as sans-papiers, the depictions of deportations made possible by the controversial double peine law, the relationships between young people and the police in suburban France, and tstereotypes about these groups.

240 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

French and Francophone Studies

Film Studies

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“Embracing both fiction and documentary, this timely study provides an incisive analysis of contemporary French political cinema’s critical engagement with dominant ethnic and spatial power relations and with citizenship. It constitutes an important contribution to our understanding of the diverse experiences of immigrants and banlieue residents, the profound ambiguities of Republicanism towards them, and casts new light on the politics of representation affecting such groups.”

Jim House, University of Leeds

Cinema and the Republic offers a compelling analysis of political cinema in France since 1995 and of the ways in which it represents and intervenes in the relationship between Republican values and minority communities. The book’s strengths lie in the diversity of its corpus, which acknowledges and foregrounds the contemporary blurring of boundaries between fiction and documentary, cinema and television; in its appropriately broad definition of key terms, with attention paid not only to politics in the ‘issues’ sense (the sans-papiers, the double peine) but also to the political significance of depicting everyday cultural life in the banlieue; in its effective blending of political analysis with detailed attention to film form. It represents a valuable contribution to the study of contemporary French cinema, and to analysis of the scope and aesthetics of political cinema in the twenty-first century.”

Diana Holmes, University of Leeds

Table of Contents

Series Editors’ Preface



Chapter 1: Cinema and the Republic

Chapter 2: The Sans-papiers on Screen – Contextualising Immigrant Experiences in Film

Chapter 3: Double peine: The Challenges of Mobilising Support for Foreign Criminals via Cinema

Chapter 4: Challenging or Perpetualising Clichés? Young People and the Police in France’s Banlieues

Chapter 5: Challenging Stereotypes about France’s Banlieues by Shifting the Focus?



Filmography and Bibliography


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