Paris as Cinematic Space

in The Heroic City

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226870236
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226870175 | DOI:
Paris as Cinematic Space

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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There are many reasons the cinematic presentation of Paris is so important to the analysis of public space. One is that the years after World War II are considered part of the golden age of French cinema. The Paris that was produced in film and television took part in a vigorous drawing out of the city's fragmented landscape. These visual media offer the most observable evidence of the widely shared fascination with capturing the “lived” city and everyday spatiality, oral speech, and the language that was intrinsic to poetic space. However, film, photography, and television did not simply reflect perceptions about the city and its public spaces; rather, they all shared in the shaping of those perceptions and the ways in which collective practice was carried out. The photographs of Willy Ronis and Robert Doisneau, the work of filmmakers from Marcel Carné to René Clair, and the film and television documentaries of Jean Dewever and Paul-Henry Chombart de Lauwe were instrumental in the production of landscape and collective life in postwar Paris.

Keywords: Paris; public space; poetic space; cinema; photography; television; visual media; spatiality; Willy Ronis; Robert Doisneau

Chapter.  15166 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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