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'A la place de l'autre …': Otherness, gender and nation in two films by Agnès Jaoui

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sarah Leahy


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Agnès Jaoui has stated not only that all her films are ‘about what it is to try to be à la place de l’autre, which is by definition, impossible’ (Graham 2009, my emphasis), but also that attempting to understand the other is ‘one of the meanings and the goals of life’. This article addresses what it means to put oneself in the shoes of others in Jaoui’s Comme une image/Look at me (2004) and Parlez moi de la pluie/Let’s Talk about the Rain (2008). It argues that, in a multiethnic, postcolonial France where the 2000 gender parity law has opened the way for a recognition of difference, the films’ use of an ‘aesthetic of oscillation’ (Rosello 2010), manifested in a narrative tension between the personal and public spheres, reveals a progressive engagement with a political understanding of both gender and ethnicity, leading to increasing questioning of the French universalist republican model. At the same time, the imbrication of the personal and the public leads to an exploration of the self-other relation as both moral and political.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Leahy S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Studies in French Cinema

Year: 2012

Volume: 12

Issue: 3

Pages: 215-226

Print publication date: 01/10/2012

ISSN (print): 1471-5880

ISSN (electronic): 1758-9517

Publisher: Intellect Ltd.


DOI: 10.1386/sfc.12.3.215_1


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