'"Une vraie famille Benetton": Maternal metaphors of nation in Il y a longtemps que je t'aime - a response to Susan Hayward'

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Author(s)Leahy S
Editor(s)Higbee, W. and Leahy, S
Publication type Book Chapter
Book TitleStudies in French Cinema: UK Perspectives 1985-2010
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At the end of her provocative chapter ‘National Cinemas and the Body Politic’ published in Ezra and Harris (eds) France in Focus: Film and National Identity (Berg, 2000), Susan Hayward sets a challenge for the reader to ponder. This challenge is to consider the ways in which cinema enables the sexed female body – straitjacketed by national discourses into an uncomfortable and precarious transvestite masquerade – to emerge in multiple and scattered forms, crossing (transgressing) national, sexual and gender boundaries to threaten the unity of the nation-subject (Hayward 2000a: 112). In this chapter, through an examination of the representation of a range of different maternal relationships that lie at the heart of Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (Claudel, 2008), I attempt to take up this challenge by considering how a reframing of cultural constructions of the maternal body in particular might also pose a challenge to the unified nation-subject, especially if this entails a questioning of the ties that link motherhood and nation.
Place PublishedBristol
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