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The Social Architecture of French Cinema, 1929–1939$
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Margaret C. Flinn

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380338

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380338.001.0001

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René Clair’s City Views: Realism and Studio Paris

René Clair’s City Views: Realism and Studio Paris

(p.39) Chapter Two René Clair’s City Views: Realism and Studio Paris
The Social Architecture of French Cinema, 1929–1939

Margaret C. Flinn

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the series of early sound films made by René Clair in collaboration with Lazare Meerson and Georges Périnal (particularly Sous les toits de Paris, Le Million, and Quatorze juillet). These studio films, with their thoroughly artificial set of representations, especially of Parisian cityspace, came to be closely identified with real places by means of the mobilization of the real, and by deliberate artifice that unifies the film’s world and reinforces verisimilitude. The films’ reception demonstrates the degree to which Clair’s studio Paris came to color spectatorial perception of the real city, teaching audiences to see in reality what the cinema has trained them to perceive.

Keywords:   René Clair, Realism, set design, Paris, verisimilitude

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