France Before & During WWII

May 4th, 2010

I find it interesting that the flexibility and the freedom that filmmakers in France had was a result of a weak studio system because of the Great Depression. I find it remarkable that during times of war, the film industry in almost every country set their sights on making fantasy films. However, French filmmakers’ new found autonomy came at a cost, working sometimes literally for nothing as their studios tried to drive each other out of business. Poetic Realism seems similar to film noir with the often intense romance in the beginning of the film and the disillusionment at the end. The stark contrast of this French style would be that it has simple plots, impoverished characters and severe environments. Unfortunately, when France became occupied by Germany the sovereignty gained in the 1930s were lost by the 1940s by films becoming censored or indefinitely halted. The only positive event was that producers from Italy were able to help this country’s industry and in turn became influenced by the Poetic Realism that helped made Italian Realism what it was. The worst part of the Occupation was the discrimination of Jews in the film industry.

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