Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Anne Quinney

Second Advisor

William Schenck

Third Advisor

Emily Fransee

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

Cinema is not only a popular form of entertainment but an art through which socio-cultural, economic, and political activities intersect. France's cinematic history, in particular, is characterized by its government's protectionist policies and the enduring popularity of New Wave films. Yet, the end of World War II saw the expansion of American soft power and, consequently, widespread fear that Hollywood’s market dominance would push out local producers. In this thesis, I aim to study the impact of Cold War anti-Americanism on the French film industry’s development from 1946 to 1965. Through a critical discourse analysis of popular film magazines of the era, I identify the dominant anti-American themes within industry discussions and place their evolution within a broader historical context. When examining publications such as Cahiers du cinema, it becomes clear that the sense of a French cinematic “crisis” existed regardless of French filmmakers’ success and innovation. Nonetheless, the State’s choice to begin quality-based subsidies at the onset of the New Wave was not coincidental. I conclude that the government’s cultural policy did not aim to assuage anti-Hollywood fears within the film industry but to exercise soft power over international audiences by solidifying the image of “French cinema.”

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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