This conference panel will address aspects of 1930s French cinema that have been excluded from the canonical focus on “poetic realism” and its concomitant themes, stars, and filmmakers. Studies of French cinema tend to view poetic realism as somehow emblematic of the period bookended by the arrival of synchronized sound and the outbreak of war. However, this narrow perspective belies the diversity of the cinematic experience in France during the 1930s, which included many filmmakers, stars, genres, and themes that have since been left out of critical and historical assessments of this period. Such films range from the unknown to the known (but infrequently examined), and they include financial successes along with box-office duds. They feature actors who regularly topped audience polls before falling into obscurity during or after the war. Some were directed by prolific filmmakers, while others were rare products of less active directors. They include comedies, musicals, animation, short films, documentaries, and other genres beyond the standard feature-length narrative.
Aiming neither to challenge the significance of key filmmakers (e.g. Renoir, Vigo, Carné, etc.), nor to marginalize their contributions to the medium, this session seeks instead to break new ground for future studies of French cinema focusing on a decade too often exclusively defined by these filmmakers’ oeuvres.
Possible topics may include:
• Early French sound films
• Sound remakes of silent films
• Star studies
• Genre studies (comedy, musical, documentary, etc.)
• Transnational perspectives
• Reception studies
• Adaptations and links between cinema and other texts/media
The NeMLA conference will take place April 7-10 in New Brunswick, NJ. You are invited to submit a 300-500 word abstract and a brief bio (in English or French, e-mail preferred) to Colleen Kennedy-Karpat at firstname.lastname@example.org and Bénédicte Lebéhot at email@example.com. Deadline for proposal submission is September 30, 2010, and notification will be sent no later than October 30.
Bénédicte Lebéhot & Colleen Kennedy-Karpat
Department of French
131 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Fax: (732)932-8327 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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