SCMS panel: French and Francophone Cinema at the Margins of France

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Niels Niessen
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In "An Atlas of World Cinema," Dudley Andrew states that though "we still parse the world by nations," "a wider conception of national image culture is around the corner, prophesied by phrases like 'rooted cosmopolitanism' and 'critical regionalism'." Taking up the directions in which Andrew sees the concept of national cinema opening up, this panel explores the borders of, and within, French cinema. It does so along two main strands. First, it examines the role and visibility of the French regions (or provinces) in French national cinema. French cinema for a long time having been concentrated in only a few places (especially Paris, Nice, Marseille), in recent decades more and more films have been set, shot and produced in the regions. The panel seeks to explain this partial decentralization of French cinema, taking into account factors such as changes within France, as well as the emergence of regional funding structures, and regional production companies. Second, the panel examines the increasing blending of French national cinema into other national and regional cinemas, and especially into other francophone cinemas (for example through international coproductions). These other francophone cinemas may belong to francophone countries or francophone regions in countries directly bordering France (Belgium, Switzerland), or to other francophone regions (e.g. Québec) or countries, including former French colonies. A question that this panel will address is that of how the small cinemas of these other countries and regions position themselves in relation to the colossus that remains French national cinema.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:
- French filmmakers from the provinces or working in the provinces, including those who have been associated with le jeune cinéma français
- Promotion of cinema and audiovisual culture by the French regions
- The cinemas of francophone countries and regions other than France, including Wallonia, Switzerland, and Québec
- Maghreb cinema inside and outside of France
- The cinemas of France's former colonies
- Banlieu cinema
- French cinema and francophonie
- The role of funding institutions and television companies in France and in other francophone countries and regions
- Non-French filmmakers making films in France
- The role of European funding institutions (MEDIA, Eurimages)
- Coproductions between France and other francophone countries
- The importance of film festivals for the francophone film
- The concept of French cinema

Paper proposals are accepted in English or French. Please submit a 250-word abstract and a short bio to by July 31. Also, don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Niels Niessen
University of Minnesota