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The French Road Movie: Space, Mobility, Identity

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The French Road Movie

Space, Mobility, Identity

Neil Archer

208 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-0-85745-770-7 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (November 2012)

eISBN 978-0-85745-771-4 eBook

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“Much of the discussion…in this interesting book, has useful things to say at a micro level about the contingency of the image in the digital era and the soundness of an approach that tests the limits, pitfalls and benefits of speaking of ‘Frenchness’ in relation to the audiovisual projection of a space that never quite seems to stand still.”  ·  Journal of Contemporary European Studies

"This is a well conceived and interesting book. The arguments combine cultural width and analytical detail, and are coherent and persuasive. There is a solid theoretical basis which is clearly explained but never intrusive."  ·  Wendy Everett, University of Bath

"There is much of interest in this book and it provides some very interesting and at times innovative readings of an important body of films and of a French inflection of the road movie genre. For this it is to be commended and I certainly think a work on this topic is timely and much needed."  ·  Lucy Mazdon, University of Southampton


The traditionally American genre of the road movie has been explored and reconfigured in the French context since the later 1960s. Comparative in its approach, this book studies the inter-relationship between American and French culture and cinemas, and in the process considers and challenges histories of the road movie. It combines film history with film theory methodologies, analysing transformations in social, political and film-industrial contexts alongside changing perspectives on the meaning and possibilities of film. At once chronological and thematic in structure, The French Road Movie provides in each chapter a comprehensive introduction to key themes emerging from the genre in the French context – liberty, identity and citizenship, masculinity, femininity, border-crossing – followed by detailed, innovative and often revisionist readings of the chosen films. Through these readings the author justifies the place of the road genre within French cinema histories and reinvigorates this often neglected and misunderstood area of study.

Neil Archer teaches Film Studies at Anglia Ruskin University. He is the author of a study guide to The Bourne Ultimatum (Auteur, 2012) and is currently undertaking long-term research into the relationship between European and American cinemas, with a particular interest in the recent films of Woody Allen.

Subject: Film and Television Studies Transport Studies
Area: France North America


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