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    Cinema in the first person: Sabine Franel's 'Le Premier du Nom'

    Calatayud, Agnes (2003) Cinema in the first person: Sabine Franel's 'Le Premier du Nom'. Studies in French Cinema 3 (3), pp. 149-160. ISSN 1471-5880.

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    In France, one of the hits at the cinema in the summer of 2003 was Sam Garbarski's Le Tango des Rashevski/Rashevski's Tango (2003) in which a Jewish Ashkenazi family questions its identity after the death of the grandmother, the pillar of the family. This comedy drama is the latest link in the chain of what the French call the ‘Jewish family’ genre of films. This article deals with one of the most enjoyable examples of this genre: Le Premier du Nom/The First of the Name (2000), Sabine Franel's first full-length feature film, presented at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. Sabine Franel uses her camera to explore the past in an attempt to trace the genealogy of her family taking the life and times of her ‘great ancestor’ Moïse Blin—le Premier du Nom—an Alsatian Jewish rabbi and peddler of the eighteenth century as a starting point. This article seeks to show how Sabine Franel's own identity as a Jewish woman and a filmmaker has been intricately woven into this work not only through her essential presence in the film, albeit as a reluctant character, but also in the mise-en-scène and narrative. No portrait of Moïse Blin remains and instead cinema enables Sabine Franel to substitute her own features for his invisible portrait: her own filmed self-portrait then becomes the repository of her family's diasporic identity.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Arts > Cultures and Languages
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2018 15:16
    Last Modified: 26 Mar 2018 15:16


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