Monday, July 21, 2008

Desperate French TV---Caution, This blog is in French

French TV often prides itself as superior to foreign offerings---when in reality, it is mostly trite, cliche-ridden state-controlled junk. Can you believe it when the American cultural imperialist now dominate French offerings with Desperate Housewives, Les Experts [no English name given] & Prison Break among the top ratings in the Hexagon? Here's your dose of French for the day/week/month on the blogosphere:
Elles n’hésitent pas à explorer des univers sociaux totalement décalés (par exemple
celui des croque-mort avec Six Feet Under ou comme dans Les Sopranos d’un chef
de la maffia en psychothérapie) et peuvent composer des univers où le surnaturel
ou l’ésotérisme tissent une toile de fond (Buffy, Angel ou Roswell). Elles pratiquent
l’extravagance, l’ellipse, l’invraisemblance, le grotesque, le clin d’œil, se
rapprochant sur ce point des sitcoms, mais avec une audace démultipliée. Souvent,
elles bousculent les normes morales en vigueur, peignent d’un réalisme outrancier
les mœurs sociales et font fi des stéréotypes – quitte à en générer d’autres. Enfin,
elles organisent parfois des renvois appuyés à des images ou des situations déjà
vues dans d’autres fictions-culte, crossovers qui ainsi relient symboliquement une
série à une autre, construisant ce qu’on pourrait nommer des transfictions : une
formule qui ajoute une clef supplémentaire à la lecture du récit.

You can sort of piece it together by the references---but the gist is that American TV is creative & daring compared to the French & provides an amplitude of diversity that "l'exception culturelle," as the French grandiosely call their audiovisual contribution to the world, shuns because the elites in Paris are narrow & self-absorbed & apodictic---period.

What spurred me is watching "La Grande Illusion" with its preachy leftism during the Popular Front in the late thirties as Europe prepared for another Holocaust, which deprived the Continent of any leading role in the future. Ideology trumps creativity in the French cinema, & I prefer Marcel Pagnol to Luc-Goddard infinitely---one is real and the other simply sux.

P.S. Just reread a couple of chapters of Village in the Vaucluse, one of the great sociological pieces to convey a real sense of living in a Frencn village, and the only character/movie that would draw a huge crowd every time it was shown was "Marius" with Raimu as the chief draw. Pagnol could paint on a canvas much more universal than the silly Bolshie BS of Breathless.

No comments :