Volume 6, Issue 2 November 2015

A Word from the Editor

This issue’s Buzz is the film version of Irène Némirovsky’s Suite française. Unlike those film critics who have reproached the director for his unfaithfulness to the novel, Simon Kitson explains why this concern is unjustified. What is more, he believes the author would have approved the inclusion of the rounding-up of Jews, even if anachronistic, because she had intended to chronicle the German occupation to France’s liberation. Although no masterpiece, the movie presents eminently teachable moments.

In his review of Entre les murs/The Class, Martin O’Shaughnessy, author of a new book on Laurent Cantet (Manchester University Press, 2015), describes how the director structures his movies. He focuses on Cantet’s use of space to express isolation or interaction, discussing several examples from the movie. Moreover, he demonstrates how Cantet expertly exposes the myths that surround Republican schooling. It is not Cantet’s style, however, to resolve issues for us; he means us to consider them more deeply.

In the Classics section, another expert, Alan Morris, revisits Patrick Modiano’s Occupation Trilogy. Although not a real trilogy, the set includes Modiano’s first three novels, Place de l’Étoile, Night Watch and Ring Roads, gathered together for the first time in English. In his spare, allusive style, Modiano addresses the Occupation and his father’s louche activities, an obsession from which he would gradually free himself. With each novel, Modiano gets closer to the criminal Gestapo collaborationists operating out of 93 rue Lauriston with whom his father worked, despite being a Jew. As Morris explains, historians have been interested in Modiano because of his fascination with the unreliable nature of memory and for openly discussing collaboration at a time when the myth of resistance still prevailed.

Liana Vardi

University at Buffalo, SUNY

 

Table of Contents

The Buzz

Suite Française, by Simon Kitson

Maybe Missed

Are you sure you think what you think? Laurent Cantet’s Entre les murs and mythologies of Republican education, by Martin O'Shaughnessy

Classics in the Classroom

Into the Heart of Darkness: Patrick Modiano, The Occupation Trilogy (2015), by Alan Morris

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