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Rogues, Romance, and Exoticism in French Cinema of the 1930s

Colleen Kennedy-Karpat
Madison : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press ; Lanham, Maryland. : The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc., [2013]
9781611476132 (cloth : alk. paper), 1611476135 (cloth : alk. paper), 9781611476149 (electronic)
"May popular French films of the 1930s captured the world and brought it into neighborhood cinemas for filmgoers who craved adventure. These films often served as visual postcards from the French empire, which enjoyed an unprecedented visibility in domestic popular culture between the world wars. But the public appetite for the exotic also transcended imperial borders, seeking landscapes and peoples beyond the metropole that were no necessarily subject to European rule. This broad conception of the exotic meant that French narrative cinema represented both colonial and noncolonial settings and populations, developing a coherent set of tropes that were shaped, yet not entirely defined, by the politics of imperialism. Empire alone cannot address the full range of the exoticist imagery that was projected onto movie screens in the 1930s. Only by venturing beyond colonial boundaries can we fully understand how the French saw non-Westerners and, by extension, how they saw themselves during this tumultuous decade. Rogues, Romance, and Exoticism in French Cinema of the 1930s proposes a critical framework for exoticist cinema that includes and exceeds the limits of empire. From rogue colons to the metisse in love, from the deserts of North Africa to the streets of Shanghai, this book identifies and analyzes recurring figures, common settings, major stars, plot devices, and narrative outcomes that dominated exoticist cinema at its popular peak."--Publisher's website.
  • Exoticism in 1930s France: the colonial and beyond
  • Men outside the mainstream. Jean Gabin, Le cafard, and western solidarity
  • La bandera (1935): cultural cohesion and colonial mercenaries
  • Pépé Le moko (1937) and the multiethnic exotic
  • Le messager (1937): failure to adapt
  • Assimilation anxiety and rogue colons. Men who stayed too long
  • El guelmouna, Marchand de sable (1931): rivalry (and Russians) in rural Algeria
  • Amok (1934): cultural readmission at all costs
  • L'esclave blanc (1936): segregationist parable
  • Romancing the exotic. Tragedy and triumph for interracial love
  • Caïn, aventure des mers exotiques (1930) and Baroud (1932): lasting love in the colonies
  • Le simoun (1933) and Yamilé sous les cèdres (1939): triumph, tragedy, responsibility
  • Women's agency and exoticist romance
  • Métissage and cultural repatriation. La dame de Malacca (1937): European frog, exotic prince
  • (Re)claiming French identity in La maison du Maltais (1938)
  • Esclave blanche (1939): a westerner in the harem
  • Redefining exoticist romance
  • France imagines the Far East. Shanghai fantasies and the geishas of Joinville
  • Mollenard (1938) and Le drame de Shanghaï (1938): exiled in (and from) the East
  • Yoshiwara (1936) and La bataille (1934): lovers and fighters in the land of the rising sun
  • Sessue Hayakawa's French Resurrection, 1936-1939. Forfaiture (1937): a legend revised, a legacy reborn
  • Patrouille blanche (1939/1942): bringing the other back home
  • Macao, l'enfer du jeu (1939/1942): the exotic father
  • Exoticism in transition. L'homme du Niger (1940): patriotism and paternalism in Africa
  • Malaria (1943): imperial stasis
  • Descendants of interwar exoticism from decolonization to the new century.
viii, 221 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • Includes filmography.
  • Includes bibliographical references (page 207-214) and index.
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