Space and being in contemporary French cinema

By James S. Williams

Space and being in contemporary French cinema


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9378-8
  • Pages: 264
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: May 2016
  • BIC Category: Film and Media, Film history, theory & criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, The arts / Film theory & criticism


This book brings together for the first time five French directors who have established themselves as among the most exciting and significant working today: Bruno Dumont, Robert Guédiguian, Laurent Cantet, Abdellatif Kechiche, and Claire Denis. Whatever their chosen habitats or shifting terrains, each of these highly distinctive auteurs has developed unique strategies of representation and framing that reflect a profound investment in the geophysical world.

The book proposes that we think about cinematographic space in its many different forms simultaneously (screenspace, landscape, narrative space, soundscape, spectatorial space). Through a series of close and original readings of selected films, it posits a new 'space of the cinematic subject'.

Accessible and wide-ranging, this volume opens up new areas of critical enquiry in the expanding interdisciplinary field of space studies. It will be of immediate interest to students and researchers working not only in film studies and film philosophy, but also in French/Francophone studies, postcolonial studies, gender and cultural studies.

Listen to James S. Williams speaking about his book (Copy and paste the link into your browser)


'Space and being in contemporary French cinema undertakes an ambitious and compelling examination of the spaces of recent French cinema that delves into the ways that space is framed, inhabited, and experienced visually and auditorily. While firmly in the lineage of film studies' spatial turn, Space and being engages in original and insightful ways with cinematic theories of space by analyzing the effects created by use of the hors-champs, motion, sound, color, and intertextuality....Space and being remains essential for specialists of contemporary French cinema and will pique the interest of all scholars working in all areas of contemporary French and Francophone studies.'
Michael Gott, University of Cincinnati, Contemporary French Civilization Vol 39, No 3, 1 December 2014


Preface: Making space
1. Space, cinema, being
2. Topographies of being: space, sensation, and spectatorship in the films of Bruno Dumont
3. Requiem for a city: the symbolics of space in the cinema of Robert Guédiguian
4. Heading nowhere: framing space and social exclusion in the films of Laurent Cantet
5. Re-siting the Republic: Abdellatif Kechiche and the politics of reappropriation and renewal
6. Beyond the Other: grafting space and human relations in the trans-cinema of Claire Denis
7. In lieu of a conclusion
Select filmography


James S. Williams is Professor of Modern French Literature and Film at Royal Holloway, University of London

Space and being in contemporary French cinema

By James S. Williams

Paperback £17.99 / $26.95

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

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