The Spirit of Resistance: The Examples of Jean Renoir (A Salute to France and This Land is Mine) and Jean-Pierre Melville (Army in the Shadows)

a lecture by Christian Delage, University of Paris-8 and Ecole Polytechnique
Wednesday, May 23, 2001 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

During the Occupation of France, and even after the Liberation, very few films were made by directors willing to encourage or even to tell the story of the Resistance against the nazis and the Vichy Regime. Among them is Jean Renoir, who made a feature film, This Land is Mine, and a documentary/fiction, A Salute to France, in 1943 and 1944, and Jean-Pierre Melville, a resistant himself whose first film was adapted from Vercors, The Silence of the Sea (1948), and one of his latter from Kessel, Army in the Shadows (1969).

These pictures remain today as very rare examples of a powerful representation of the Spirit of Resistance. This lecture will focus on the way this Spirit was turned into a cinematographic stance--one in which the two filmmakers invested their own experience.

Christian Delage is a historian, maitre de conferences at the University of Paris-8 and at the Ecole Polytechnique. He is also an associate fellow at the Institut d'Histoire du Temps Present (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique). He is the author of many books, including La Vision nazie de l'histoire (1989) and Chaplin, la Grande Histoire (1998). He has recently edited, in collaboration with Antoine de Baecque, De l'histoire au cinema (1998).