Summertime France as Ethno-Sociological Experiment Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary in Jacques Rozier’s "Du côté d’Orouët" (1969)
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This article provides an original close reading of Nouvelle Vague filmmaker, Jacques Rozier’s major contribution to the representation of the summer holiday in post-war French cinema, Du côté d’Orouët (1969, released 1973). It analyses how Rozier’s comedy provides a unique sociology of changing gender and class structures, after the confrontations of May ’68. It suggests that the work is a forgotten masterpiece that has too often been overlooked in favour of Rozier’s own heritage as a figure from the Nouvelle Vague or in preference for work from more familiar contemporary directors who were working with the popular film stars of the period (a world that Rozier himself eschewed). Against that mainstream tradition of cinema, the deliberately minor, quasi ethnographic or sociological work of Rozier invented an original social-fiction which captured the trials and tribulations of the lower middle class youth who had gained some freedoms compared to in the 1950s, but who remained economically and culturally marginalized. Yet this group are not patronized by the filmmaker’s method which prefers empathy with its subjects, a position supported by Rozier’s powerful photography of the Atlantic ocean.
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