Volume 8, Issue 1, October 2017

A Word from the Editor

Welcome to the eighth year of Fiction and Film for French Historians. We hope that you will find something to stimulate your curiosity, to enhance your knowledge of France, and even to use in class.

In this first issue, Greg Monahan offers his analysis of Alberto Serra’s The Death of Louis XIV, a film I saw at the Toronto Film Festival and so disliked I hesitated to have it reviewed. Greg has convinced me that I was wrong and that, despite Jean-Pierre Léaud’s fright wig, the film’s rendition of the last days of the Sun King captures what memoirists and historians have written about this dramatic moment.

In Maybe Missed, Jessica Hammerman situates Yossi Sucary’s recently translated Benghazi-Bergen-Belsen within the history of Libyan Jewry. Sucary, basing himself on family history, recounts the round-up of the Jewish community in 1941-42, focusing on those with British passports who were first taken to an Italian mountain prison before being transported to Auschwitz in May 1944. Those Jews who were kept in Libya suffered heavy casualties from horrific conditions in local labor camps.

Mike Vann reviews Pépé le Moko, Julien Duvuvier’s 1937 classic Orientalist tale of a lovable French crook hiding out in Algiers’ Casbah, which he, of course, comes to dominate. This male fantasy spawned Hollywood remakes and the cartoon character Pepe Le Pew. It also turned Jean Gabin into an international star. But the real subject, Vann argues, is the European construction of Algiers as exotic, unknowable, and dangerous.

Liana Vardi

University at Buffalo, SUNY

 

Table of Contents

The Buzz

Alberto Serra’s La mort de Louis XIV, by W. Gregory Monahan

Maybe Missed

Libya and the Holocaust: Yossi Sucary’s Benghazi-Bergen-Belsen, by Jessica R. Hammerman

Classics in the Classroom

“Blame it on the Casbah”: The White Male Imperialist Fantasies of Duvivier’s Pépé le Moko, by Michael G. Vann

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