Date of Award
Croft Institute for International Studies
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.”
Gee, Madison, "Anti-Americanism and the Auteur: Critical Discourse and the French Film Industry from 1946 to 1965" (2021). Honors Theses. 1862.
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