Precarious Sociality, Ethics and Politics

French Documentary Cinema in the Early Twenty-First Century

Awdur(on) Audrey Evrard

Iaith: Saesneg

Dosbarthiad(au): Politics

Cyfres: French and Francophone Studies

  • Mai 2022 · 264 tudalen ·216x138mm

  • · Clawr Caled - 9781786838421
  • · eLyfr - pdf - 9781786838438
  • · eLyfr - epub - 9781786838445

Am y llyfr

Precarious Sociality, Ethics and Politics: French Documentary Cinema in the Early Twenty-First Century brings an original perspective on French cinema’s ‘return to work’ in the early twenty-first century, focusing on the transformation of cinematic activism in view of the rapid dissolution of class narratives and solidarities. It is argued that, reckoning with widespread anxieties about job insecurity, social uncertainty, loss and invisibility in French society, filmmakers catalysed new modes of intervention, best described as embodied praxes of sociality. Combining rigorous film analyses with concepts borrowed from philosophy, sociology, geography and political theory, this study positions documentary as a privileged point of articulation between aesthetics, politics and ethics. The wide-ranging film corpus features well-established auteurs (Agnès Varda, Raymond Depardon, Denis Gheerbrant) and less canonical filmmakers to celebrate the vitality of contemporary French documentary cinema and its creative contributions to international discussions about work, precarity and social resilience.


‘For anyone interested in contemporary French documentary or French responses to neoliberalism, Evrard's new book is essential reading. It is rigorous but wears its theory lightly. It is scholarly, but eminently readable. It is located with great sureness of touch in a socio-economic context but never loses sight of the films and the kind of formal and thematic choices they deploy. It draws on a judicious selection of works by prominent and less well-known directors, and plots a way through them … as the book moves from factory closure films, through new oppressions, to new sites of struggle. It is perhaps this which makes the book so interesting – it does not simply explore documentary's power to bear witness to harms done, but is attentive to how it brings forms of sociality into view while embodying a democratic ethics through its own filmic practices.’
Martin O'Shaughnessy, Professor of Film Studies, Nottingham Trent University

‘Compelling, timely and exhaustively researched, Evrard’s book provides a fascinating glimpse into the precariousness of work, sociality and life in the twenty-first century, through the lens of French documentary cinema. This book is essential reading for scholars interested in French cinematic practice, ethics and contemporary politics. Written in an engaging and accessible style, it will appeal to researchers and undergraduates alike.’
Sarah Waters, Professor of French Studies, University of Leeds

‘An original, incisive, and theoretically informed study of a sub-genre of documentary filmmaking that relates to the most vital political issues in France today – economic inequality, precarity and social fracture.’
Jeremy F. Lane, Professor of French and Critical theory, University of Nottingham


List of illustrations
Notes to readers
1 The vanishing factory
2 Global precarity, local struggles
3 Precarious filiations
4 No pain, no gain: the ordinary brutality of (the) work(place)
5 Portraits of life in France’s folds
Concluding remarks
Films cited

Cyflwyno'r Awdur(on)