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Title: Vichy on film : the portrayal in documentary propaganda of life under Occupation, 1940-1944
Author: Lees, David William
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 5557
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2014
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During four years of Vichy rule and German Occupation, French cinema audiences were exposed to a multiplicity of filmed propaganda. Documentary films formed an important part of the cinema experience in the dark years, and from March 1943 were made obligatory in cinemas across the entire French nation. The documentaries produced, commissioned, funded and sanctioned by the cinema section of the Vichy propaganda ministry, the Secrétariat Général à l’Information (SGI), were, though, distinct from any other propaganda produced by the Vichy authorities. Far from promoting exclusionary and potentially divisive themes like anti-Semitism and collaboration, Vichy documentary films throughout all four years of Occupation projected an image of life under Pétain which was frequently idealised and represented a more moderate approach than that taken in radio or poster propaganda. Drawing on themes which had been the subject of popular support before the Occupation, in particular the family, the Empire and French international standing, along with popular symbols like the tricolore and the Marseillaise, these films ignored the upheavals of the defeat and exode of June 1940 and instead seemed to suggest that life continued as it had done before the creation of the Vichy regime. This thesis examines for the first time the continuity of themes from before the Occupation in Vichy documentary film and investigates why documentaries were so distinct from the content and approach of other Vichy-produced propaganda, especially radio and posters. By examining career trajectories and interests of those responsible for documentary production, the thesis sheds new light on the motivations of Vichy’s functionaries. The close examination of the nature of the themes and values from before the Occupation conveyed in Vichy documentary film therefore advances our knowledge regarding the competing ideas and interests at work in the dark years of Occupation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DC France