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French Cinema of the Occupation. MLL 235. Europe in 1939. The War Begins. Sept. 1, 1939 – Nazi Germany invades Poland Three days later, France declares war The first ten months are calm - the Germans do not arrive on French soil This is “la drôle de guerre” (the phony war).

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the war begins
The War Begins

Sept. 1, 1939 – Nazi Germany invades Poland

Three days later, France declares war

The first ten months are calm - the Germans do not arrive on French soil

This is “la drôle de guerre” (the phony war)

war hits home
War hits home

May 10, 1940 – Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, Belgium begins and later France

German army enters an undefended Paris on June 14, 1940

The occupation of France begins

france divided
France Divided

Marshall Henri- Philippe Pétain signs an armistice with Hitler in June of 1940

Pétain heads up the government of Vichy

france divided1
France Divided
  • France is divided into two zones
    • North – “occupied zone” - administered by the Germans
    • South – “free zone” – controlled by Pétain’s Vichy government
      • Is actually a satellite government of Berlin
the resistance movement
The Resistance Movement
  • General Charles de Gaulle left for London to set up a government in exile
  • From London, he organizes the Resistance
  • On June 18, 1940 in a famous radio broadcast, he appeals to the French
radio broadcast of june 18
Radio Broadcast of June 18

Listen to l’appel du 18 juin

french cinema of the occupation1
French Cinema ofthe Occupation
  • Surprisingly, French cinema entered into one of its greatest periods
    • Large crowds were drawn to the theaters (which were heated in winter)
    • British and American films were banned, which facilitated the production of new French films
    • Given the choice between German, Italian or French films, moviegoers overwhelmingly preferred French films
the exodus of cinema celebrities
The Exodus ofCinema Celebrities

The first Cannes film festival was scheduled to begin on Sept. 1, 1939 (the day Poland was invaded)

Was canceled

Did not begin until after the end of the war (Sept. 19, 1946)

the exodus of cinema celebrities1
The Exodus of Cinema Celebrities

Jean Gabin went to the US where he signed a contract with Fox

His American films did not succeed

He enrolled in the Free French Navy

Did not regain his reputation in France until the 1950s

exodus of cinema celebrities
Exodus ofCinema Celebrities

Michèle Morgan (Gabin’s lover in Port of Shadows)

Also fled to Hollywood

Signed a contract with RKO – films not successful

Originally chosen for the leading role in Casablanca

exodus of cinema celebrities1
Exodus of Cinema Celebrities

Danielle Darrieux

One of France’s most celebrated film stars

Left for Hollywood – signed with Universal Studios

During the Occupation, she worked for Continental

charles boyer 1897 1978
Charles Boyer1897-1978

His career began in Paris in the 1920s

Star of both stage and screen

Then signed a contract with MGM and left for Hollywood

First made French versions of MGM films for French market

charles boyer
Charles Boyer

Costarred with the most famous actresses of the time: Ingrid Bergman, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo

Joined the French army and fought until the defeat in 1940

In all, he made more than 80 films

Romantic image of “Frenchness”

maurice chevalier 1988 1972
Maurice Chevalier1988-1972

Career began in the 1920s

Then signed a contract with Paramount

Singer actor – stereotypical image of the “typical Parisian”

maurice chevalier denies accusations
Maurice ChevalierDenies Accusations
  • During the war, he entertained French troops in Germany
  • Later, he was accused of having collaborated with the Germans
exodus by film directors
Exodus byFilm Directors

Jean Renoir fled to Hollywood

Directed 6 films

Tepid reception

Zanuck wanted French films for Americans

Renoir wanted American films seen through French eyes

exodus of french directors
Exodus of French Directors

Jacques Becker

Henri-Georges Clouzot

Robert Bresson

Exodus of famous directors allowed for the meteoric rise of assistant directors

french cinema and vichy
French Cinemaand Vichy
  • Slogan of the Vichy government:
    • Travail (Work)
    • Famille (Family)
    • Patrie (Country)
  • Created the commission for Jewish Affairs
    • Fervent anti-Semitic sentiment
    • New laws (Sept. 1940) – proof of “non-Jewishness”
  • New laws prohibited Jewish participation in any aspect of the film industry
  • Began the “purification” process of the cinematographic profession
  • Period of massive arrests and deportations began in 1942
    • Many were arrested, deported
    • Some were able to flee abroad
    • A few (like Joseph Kosma) were able to work underground
  • French police participated in virtually all anti-Semitic round-ups in both the occupied and free zones
v lodrome d hiver winter velodrome
Vélodrome d’hiver(Winter Velodrome)

On July 16, 1942 nearly 13,000 Jews were rounded up by French police, held at the indoor velodrome and eventually shipped off to Auschwitz

Of the thousands of Jews arrested during the “Vel d’hiv” incident, only 400 survived

For years, France refused any responsibility for its role in the incident

vel d hiv
Vel d’hiv

(Gilles Paquet-Brenner, 2010)

(Rose Bosch, 2010)

Recent Films about the Vel d’hiv:

jacques chirac apologizes june 16 1995
Jacques Chirac ApologizesJune 16, 1995

"These black hours will stain our history forever and are an injury to our past and our traditions. Yes, the criminal madness of the occupier was supported ('secondée') by the French, by the French state. Fifty-three years ago, on 16 July 1942, 450 policemen and gendarmes, French, under the authority of their leaders, obeyed the demands of the Nazis. That day, in the capital and the Paris region, nearly 10,000 Jewish men, women and children were arrested at home, in the early hours of the morning, and assembled at police stations… France, home of the Enlightenment and the Rights of Man, land of welcome and asylum. France committed the irreparable that day. Breaking its word, it delivered those it was protecting to their executioners. “

the c o i c organizational committee for the cinematographic industry
The C.O.I.C.(Organizational Committee for the Cinematographic Industry)

C.O.I.C. = Created on Oct. 26, 1940

The Germans placed control of the film industry under the auspices of this committee

There were both positive and negative results of this decision

the c o i c
The C.O.I.C.
  • On the positive side:
    • The committee imposed a structure on the industry that assured the financing of film projects
    • American and British films were forbidden, thus creating a demand for French films
the c o i c1
The C.O.I.C.
  • On the negative side
    • The C.O.I.C. controlled every aspect of the industry
    • Films that did not conform to the values of the time were subject to censure
    • Jews were excluded from the industry
    • All employees were forced to obtain a “carte professionnelle” –professional card (the purpose of which was to prove you were not Jewish)
the c o i c2
The C.O.I.C.
  • More negatives
    • Producers had to obtain a triple license for all stages of production
      • (1) A production visa
      • (2) A management via
      • (3) An exportation visa
    • Only non-Jewish directors were the recipients
    • Severe shortage of film stock
    • Elimination of double programming in theaters
propaganda and censorship
Propaganda and Censorship
  • COIC controlled subject matter of films
    • No representations of the working class
    • No allusions to contemporary events
    • No reference to German occupation
    • Authority figures could not be ridiculed
    • Vulgarity and slang were banned
  • French productions however never openly reflect any major theme of Vichy propaganda
continental films
Continental Films

Created Oct. 3, 1940; mission was to produce French films

Was funded by German capital; was thus a German company

Alfred Greven managed the new studios

Continental remained the major film studio of the Occupation despite the exodus of directors, actors and technicians

continental films1
Continental Films

Had more money than French production companies

Also had first call on all raw materials, including film stock, material for set construction and increasingly scarce electricity

Continental produced 30 of the approximately 220 films made—more than any other company in France

continental films2
Continental Films

Films produced by the Continental Film company were not primarily propaganda films encouraged by the Germans

For the most part, they were light entertainment films that followed the Hollywood formula

One masterpiece: Clouzot’s The Raven

laissez passer safe conduct
Laissez-passer(Safe Conduct)
  • 2002 film about Continental
  • Tells the story of the German film company from the viewpoint of two employees—one a collaborationist, the other a resistor
the raven 1943 le corbeau
The Raven (1943)(Le corbeau)

Continental’s one great masterpiece

Based on a true story

A small town is overwhelmed by a campaign of anonymous letters

Citizens begin to doubt one another, then denounce each other

the raven 1943 henri georges clouzot
The Raven (1943)Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • The film was criticized on both sides
    • Resistance considered the film pro-Nazi and collaborationist
    • Vichy demanded the film be banned for its immoral values
the raven 1943
The Raven (1943)
  • After the Liberation:
    • May 7, 1945 – Clouzot was condemned to a lifetime professional suspension
    • Sentence later reduced to 2 years
  • Question of whether the film is anti-French or anti-Occupation remains arguable
  • Public later forgave Clouzot’s association with Continental Studios
working conditions under the occupation
Working Conditions Under the Occupation
  • Shortages, rationing, scarcity of apartments
  • Manpower shortage
    • Led to STO – forced labor program
  • Scarcity of materials; theaters were destroyed by bombs, poor quality film stock
  • Shortage of electricity, heating
sto service du travail obligatoire
STO(Service du travail obligatoire)

In Feb. 1943, the Germans instituted a forced labor policy, supported by Vichy Law – the STO

Under this law, nearly 700,000 French workers were sent to work in Germany

The film industry fared better than most; few film workers were conscripted

sto service du travail obligatoire1
STO(Service du travail obligatoire)
  • One indirect and unexpected consequence of thee STO was to cause cinema receipts in France to fall
    • A large percentage of the movie-going public now lived in Germany
    • For those who remained, cinema-going became a dangerous activity
      • The Germans conducted round-ups in the theaters
the film industry and the jews
The Film Industryand the Jews
  • Sept. 9, 1940 – two German ordinances
      • The first mandated that all exhibitors and distributors receive permission to operate from the Military Command
          • Enacted to ensure that only non-Jews could own exhibition and distribution firms
      • The second required all films to be passed by the German authorities before they could be shown
          • It both limited the number of films available and assured that no films made by Jewish personnel would be exhibited
the film industry and the jews1
The Film Industryand the Jews
  • Sept. 1941 – the Germans compiled two lists of proscribed personnel
    • The first was a list of non-Jewish personnel whose films were not to be allowed exhibition
    • The second was a list of French Jews in the film industry
working conditions
Working Conditions

Many employees had to work clandestinely because of their affiliation with the Resistance or because they were Jewish

In Nice, Victorine Studios became a center for clandestine workers

Marcel Carné made Devil’s Envoy and Children of Paradise in Nice

children of paradise
Children of Paradise

Again, Carné collaborated with Prévert

Premiered in Paris on March 9, 1945 (after the Liberation)

The narrative relates the experiences of four men, all of whom are linked by their passion for the same woman

children of paradise1
Children of Paradise

Garance = Arletty

Baptiste (mime) = Jean Louis Barrault

Frederick Lemaître (actor) = Pierre Brasseur

Pierre-François Lacenaire (thief ) = Marcel Herrand

Count Edouard de Montray (aristocrat) = Louis Salou

children of paradise2
Children of Paradise
  • Setting: 1830s France
    • Because of the restriction against using contemporary events, Carné was forced to delve into France’s past for his story line
  • Film is divided into two eras:
    • Boulevard du crime (Boulevard of Crime)
    • L’homme blanc (The Man in White)
  • Two Theaters
    • Théâtre des Funambules (Tightrope Walkers)
    • Grand Théâtre
  • Resistance strengthened as war went on
    • Strengthened by Vichy’s agreement to send French workers to Germany
    • Strengthened by arrival of Jean Moulin who organized the main Resistance organizations into the CNR (National Resistance council)
  • Played an important role at the time of the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944
liberation june 6 1944 d day
Liberation:June 6, 1944 - D Day
  • American, Canadian and English troops land on the Normandy beaches and begin marching towards Paris
the atom bomb the end of the war
The Atom BombThe End of the War
  • August 6, 1945: Hiroshima
  • August 9, 1945: Nagasaki
epuration purification
  • After the war, special courts were set up to try citizens accused of having collaborated with the Germans
  • All employees of the movie industry were called to respond to charges
    • If innocent, they received a certificate of good standing, allowing them to return to work
    • If guilty, they could lose their “carte professionnelle” and be denied the right to work
epuration purification1

Sacha Guitry – charged with supplying intelligence to the Nazis

Arletty – was the mistress of a German officer

The two were released

Robert Le Vigan – sentenced to 10 years hard labor, permanent exile in Argentina

french cinema after the war
French CinemaAfter the War
  • The COIC became the CNC (National Center of Cinematography) in July 1946
  • Goals of the CNC:
    • Eliminate the system of control established under the Vichy regime
    • Assist French productions and distribution abroad
    • Limit the power of censorship in the arenas of morality and public power
films of the occupation
Films of the Occupation

The films of the Occupation barely mention the war

Themes of these films are historical or literary

It was a centrist cinema, almost devoid of politics, which aimed at offending no one

Neither Vichy nor the Nazi administration was able to eradicate the creative resilience of French cinema

effects of the war
Effects of the War
  • Most direct effect was from Allied bombing
    • Studios, film labs, etc. were destroyed
    • Victorine studio in Nice was badly damaged
  • The film industry suffered more after the war than during
    • Return of American films swamped the market
    • Market for French films collapsed