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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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Flâneuses and The Unmaking of Place

Flâneuses and The Unmaking of Place

(p.112) Chapter Five Flâneuses and The Unmaking of Place
The Social Architecture of French Cinema, 1929–1939

Margaret C. Flinn

Liverpool University Press

This chapter proposes a gendered reading of urban space, showing how when characters move through such spaces, their trajectories are conditioned by their social status, of which gender is a crucial part. The focal point is Jean Vigo’s L’Atalante, which is read alongside Marc Augé’s Non-lieux, to show how modernist city films of the 1930s anticipate the salient characteristics of Augé model of the late twentieth-century hyper-modernity. Like city films of the late 1920s and early 1930s by directors such as Lacombe, Cavalcanti, Duvivier, and Carné (engaged as context and counterpoint), L’Atalante unfolds in spaces that are no places, suggesting that the cinema itself is a non-place, but one that produces, constructs and consecrates new places, particularly for women. These films problematize the flâneuse and reject the impression of force exerted by the monumental city center.

Keywords:   Jean Vigo, flâneur, flâneuse, non-place, montage, Sergei Eisenstein

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