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'"Une vraie famille Benetton": Maternal metaphors of nation in Il y a longtemps que je t'aime - a response to Susan Hayward'

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sarah Leahy


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At the end of her provocative chapter ‘National Cinemas and the Body Politic’ published in Ezra and Harris (eds) France in Focus: Film and National Identity (Berg, 2000), Susan Hayward sets a challenge for the reader to ponder. This challenge is to consider the ways in which cinema enables the sexed female body – straitjacketed by national discourses into an uncomfortable and precarious transvestite masquerade – to emerge in multiple and scattered forms, crossing (transgressing) national, sexual and gender boundaries to threaten the unity of the nation-subject (Hayward 2000a: 112). In this chapter, through an examination of the representation of a range of different maternal relationships that lie at the heart of Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (Claudel, 2008), I attempt to take up this challenge by considering how a reframing of cultural constructions of the maternal body in particular might also pose a challenge to the unified nation-subject, especially if this entails a questioning of the ties that link motherhood and nation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Leahy S

Editor(s): Higbee, W. and Leahy, S

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Studies in French Cinema: UK Perspectives 1985-2010

Year: 2010

Pages: 153-165

Publisher: Intellect

Place Published: Bristol

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781841503233