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Les Enfants du Paradis (Carne 1945)

jclarke | Thursday March 13, 2014

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS A2, FM4, Section C: Single Film Critical Study, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, World Cinema, Les Enfants du Paradis, Genres & Case Studies, Drama, Romance, Hot Entries

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WJEC A2 Film Studies FM4 Section C Critical Study Les Enfants du Paradis

Typically, in many of our Edusites resources we identify contexts that inform the potential meaning of a given film text. In the case of Les Enfants du Paradis this is an especially powerful and relevant aspect of how we approach the film.

In this resource, we will broadly sketch out a particular political context, then move on to describe something of the production and conceptual development of the film and finally consider aspects of the film’s formal qualities (macro and micro level) and the reception the film has had over the years.

Set in Paris in the 1830s and telling the story of a beautiful courtesan our viewing and consideration of Les Enfants du Paradis engages us both intellectually and emotionally. Certainly, the term emotional response suggests something different in the experience of the spectator to their intellectual response as it unfolds, moment to moment through the viewing of a movie. In his book Cultural Theory, John Storey explains that audience or spectator response can be considered as a process of decoding the meanings and stimuli that a film has been encoded with and that this is central to our understanding of reception. In terms of this film, being aware of the challenging production conditions arguably informs the way that we can decode the film. Storey writes that: “popular culture is a semiotic battlefield in which audiences constantly engage in a conflict…between an imposed set of meanings and pleasures…? [1] In terms of Les Enfants du Paradis, this relationship between text and context is particularly profound. The film has been widely understood to be a ‘nationalist film’. It’s a definition that ties in with the recurrently useful idea of thinking about what national cinema is in terms of how it might represent a widely agreed upon representation of what it is, in this case - to be...


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