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Rogues, Romance, and Exoticism in French Cinema of the 1930s

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS Acknowledgments Exoticism in 1930s France: The Colonial and Beyond PART ONE: Men Outside the Mainstream Chapter 1: Jean Gabin, le cafard, and Western Solidarity La Bandera (1935): Cultural Cohesion and Colonial Mercenaries Pepe le Moko (1937) and the Multiethnic Exotic Le Messager (1937): Failure to Adapt Chapter 2: Assimilation Anxiety and Rogue Colons Men Who Stayed Too Long El Guelmouna, marchand de sable (1931): Rivalry (and Russians) in Rural Algeria Amok (1934): Cultural Readmission at All Costs L'Esclave blanc (1936): Segregationist Parable PART TWO: Romancing the Exotic Chapter 3: Tragedy and Triumph for Interracial Love Cain, aventure des mers exotiques (1930) and Baroud (1932): Lasting Love in the Colonies Le Simoun (1933) and Yamile sous les cedres (1939): Triumph, Tragedy, Responsibility Women's Agency and Exoticist Romance Chapter 4: Metissage and Cultural Repatriation La Dame de Malacca (1937): European Frog, Exotic Prince (Re)claiming French Identity in La Maison du Maltais (1938) L'Esclave blanche (1939): A Westerner in the Harem Redefining Exoticist Romance PART THREE: France Imagines the Far East Chapter 5: Shanghai Fantasies and the Geishas of Joinville Mollenard (1938) and Le Drame de Shanghai (1938): Exiled in (and from) the East Yoshiwara (1936) and La Bataille (1934): Lovers and Fighters in the Land of the Rising Sun Chapter 6: Sessue Hayakawa's French Resurrection, 1936-1939 Forfaiture (1937): A Legend Revised, a Legacy Reborn Patrouille blanche (1939/1942): Bringing the Other Back Home Macao, l'enfer du jeu (1939/1942): The Exotic Father Exoticism in Transition L'Homme du Niger (1940): Patriotism and Paternalism in Africa Malaria (1943): Imperial Stasis Descendants of Interwar Exoticism from Decolonization to the New Century Annotated Filmography Bibliography Index

About the Author

Colleen Kennedy-Karpat received her PhD in French from Rutgers University and currently teaches film studies at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.


Scholars of classical French cinema will know that a great deal has been written about 'colonial' cinema, with attention often returning to a relatively few well-known films, typically set in North Africa, that come to stand in for the broader corpus. At the same time, it is often assumed that the same cinema is a prolongation of the broader colonial project and somehow delivers (or betrays) a propagandist message. Yet popular cinema is a more complex object than this, and 'colonial' film is a research object with an illusory coherence. Seeking to develop a more adequate approach, Colleen Kennedy-Karpat broadens the object of study to include exoticism more generally and moves well outside the familiar corpus of films to discuss neglected works and less studied performers. She convincingly demonstrates that, while a colonial setting may indeed place limits on what a film can say or show, 'colonial' cinema also shares features with the exotic and, to that extent, needs studying in terms of the pleasures it offers rather than its uneven propaganda value...[T]he book is welcome for its willingness to open up new ground and challenge dubious critical orthodoxies. French Studies ... original, beautifully written, and ground-breaking in its designation of an entirely new field of study... [this book] will become a standard against which future work in this field will be measured. ... -- Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, Rutgers University, Organizer of the conference, Hidden Voices: Childhood, the Family, and Anti-Semitism in Occupation France

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