By Alastair Phillips
The amount is the first-ever book-length examine of the cinematic illustration of Paris within the motion pictures of German ?migr? filmmakers, lots of whom fled there as a safe haven from Hitler. In coming to Paris—a privileged website by way of construction, exhibition, and movie culture—these skilled pros additionally encountered resistance: hostility towards Germans, anti-Semitism, and boycotts from a French fearful of wasting jobs to foreigners. Phillips juxtaposes the cinematic portrayal of Paris within the movies of Robert Siodmak, Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Max Oph?ls, Anatol Litvak, and others with the broader social and cultural debates in regards to the urban in cinema.
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The amount is the first-ever book-length examine of the cinematic illustration of Paris within the movies of German ? migr? filmmakers, lots of whom fled there as a safe haven from Hitler. In coming to Paris—a privileged website when it comes to creation, exhibition, and picture culture—these skilled execs additionally encountered resistance: hostility towards Germans, anti-Semitism, and boycotts from a French terrified of wasting jobs to foreigners.
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Extra info for City of Darkness, City of Light: Emigre Filmmakers in Paris 1929-1939 (Film Culture in Transition)
A. studios and Tobis were already starting out to make French sound fictional features as part of the MLV phenomenon, many of which were also, ostensibly, set in Paris. E. 31 At first, these were to be MLVs but from 1936 they included exclusively French only single-language productions such as Gueule d’amour (Jean Grémillon, 1937) and L’Entraîneuse (Albert Valentin, 1938). A. Neubabelsburg studios converted to multi-language sound film production had impressed French film professionals. A. ) which in just six months have been completely transformed and equipped The City in Context 37 for the talking picture.
Strong light sources meant a kind of sculpting effect within the space of the image. This often produced harsh contrasts between illumination and ink-black darkness so that the contours and outlines of facial features or items of the decor were dramatically defined. On the other hand, light was also actually carefully dispersed so that the direction of a particular light source was obscured in favour of a more diffuse and suggestive use of shadow. This offered multiple possibilities regarding the creation of space and depth in the image and the situating of the actor in relation to the design of the set in the studio.
These modes of exchange then served as a crucial formative context for the subsequent ways in which the French capital was soon to be pictured by foreign as well as French artistic talents. The centrality of Paris here also points to the far-reaching way in which the inter-relationship between European and Hollywood film production and distribution would inform the arrival and departure of the many filmmakers who made the city their temporary home throughout the course of the 1930s. In his early article on the German émigrés in Paris, Elsaesser points out correctly that the passage of the filmmakers to the French capital must be viewed, at least partly, in terms of a trade war “in which Germany reacted to Hollywood’s attempted colonisation of European markets by pursuing similar tactics towards its European neighbours, notably France” (1984, 281).