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Ronsard in the metro: Abdellatif Kechiche and the poetics of space
Studies in French Cinema (2011)
  • Claudia Esposito, University of Massachusetts Boston

In his first three feature films, La Faute à Voltaire/Blame it on Voltaire (2000), L’Esquive/Games of Love and Chance (2003) and La Graine et le mulet/Couscous (2007), Franco-Tunisian film-maker Abdellatif Kechiche underscores the critical importance of language and space in the daily practices of the communities represented in his films; scenes of everyday life rather than ‘events’ structure the diegesis. This article examines the notion of the quotidian in Kechiche’s cinema, an element that is present but unidentified as such in the existing critical literature on La Faute à Voltaire, L’Esquive and La Graine et le mulet. It highlights how space interacts with language creatively and ultimately transforms the way communities are represented. Drawing on theoretical works of Marc Augé and Michel de Certeau, the article suggests that Kechiche testifies to a poetic of a twenty-first-century quotidian that, despite conforming to a tradition of social realism in Maghrebi-French cinema, presents us with something radically innovative; by transforming the representation of spaces that are commonly featured as problematic, or of marginal interest, into central places of everyday practices, he eschews the trends that characterize a number of works by his predecessors.

  • Beur and banlieue,
  • contemporary France,
  • language,
  • space,
  • quotidian,
  • Kechiche
Publication Date
July, 2011
Publisher Statement
DOI: 10.1386/sfc.11.3.223_1
Citation Information
Claudia Esposito. "Ronsard in the metro: Abdellatif Kechiche and the poetics of space" Studies in French Cinema Vol. 11 Iss. 3 (2011)
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