HomePopular Cinema and its musicians in France since 1930

Popular Cinema and its musicians in France since 1930

Le cinéma populaire en France et ses musiciens (1930-2018)

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Published on Friday, December 21, 2018 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

Ce colloque s'intéresse aux musiques du cinéma populaire des années 1930 à nos jours. Un cinéma qui, dès les années 1930, transposait dans le film désormais sonore l’univers du music-hall, celui dans lequel des bateleurs de la scène et du théâtre, chanteurs à leurs heures, poussaient presque immanquablement la chansonnette. Un cinéma qui a ses réalisateurs, ses metteurs en scène, ses auteurs mais aussi ses compositeurs, nombreux : Paul Misraki (Ali Baba et les 40 voleurs), Philippe Rombi, Georges Auric, Georges Van Parys, Raymond Lefevbre, Vladimir Cosma, Vincent Scotto, Francis Lopez, Philippe Sarde auxquels s’ajoutent tous les acteurs de la « variété française » des années 1970-1980 (Yves Simon, Pierre Bachelet, Michel Polnareff, Charlélie Couture, Bernard Lavilliers, Michel Berger...). Tous ont donné à ce cinéma du samedi soir ses lettres de noblesse. Le colloque s'intéressera également aux genres (films de cape et d'épée, films policiers, comédies...) qui ont nourrit ce cinéma. 

Announcement

Amphi de la MSH de Dijon, June 5th, 6th, 7th 2019.

Argument

The year that has just come to its end celebrated composer Paul Misraki both through the 20th anniversary of his passing away and the 110th of his birthday, a prolific composer whose career featured over 130 screen scores and so many tunes deeply anchored in the genetic patrimony of French songs, particularly with Ray Ventura’s collégiens. All along his 50-year career, he worked with the young go-getters from the French New Wave (Chabrol, Godard, even Vadim) as well as with the directors the former tended to castigate (Truffaut, 1954). Misraki, with Ventura’s orchestra or alone, collaborated 11 times with Jean Boyer, composed for Berthomieu, Becker, for this cinema as a symbol of a French quality (in François Truffaut’s terms), this Cinéma de Papa (old-fashioned movies) against which a part of the after-war young generation rose.

For popular movies

In the issue dated June 4th 1926 of French daily paper L’Humanité, Léon Moustinac wrote : « It is said around that cinema creates its own elite and so has to aim at intellectuals beyond the crowd, that it is the only way to make it get ahead as an art form… » That proves the misunderstanding from the intellectuals towards cinema. As a follower of a popular and militant cinema (Vignaux, 2011), Moussinac quoted Louis Delluc (« The masters of the screen are those who talk to the crowd ») and concluded his article writing that «  Cinema is part of the great forms of classical expression. As Aeschylus’s or Shakespeare’s or Moliere’s theatre, cinema will be popular or shall not be ».

From the very beginning of Cinematographe, several experiments were conducted to make that fairground entertainment win its spurs. The most noticeable attempt may have been the Film d’Art, gathering actors from Comédie Française and writers and renowned composers among which Camille Saint-Saens (Gonin, 2008). But beyond these attempts was a popular and entertaining cinema that scientific studies set aside.

This symposium wants to highlight the musical scores written for this cinema which transposed in the newly talking pictures - as early as the 1930s - the environment of the music-hall and some stage performers who tended to sing (Fernandel). Fabrice Montebello (Montebello, 2005) reminds also that between 1940 and 1958 (including cinema under Occupation and La Continental production company), a total of 41 movies was « awarded by the public, the critics, the professionals and the State ». These movies were made by about ten directors only « whose names (Carné, Delannoy, Clément, Becker, Clouzot, Autant-Lara, Clair, Cayatte, Tati, Christian-Jaque) are a symbol of the French Cinema excellence of the 1940s and 1950s » and we shall not forget more « popular » ones as Boyer or Berthomieu, still discredited. We should also add the « stars » of the period, those actors and actresses « bankable » (in modern terms) who were able to attract the movie-goers into theatres (Fresnay, Gabin, Jouvet, Darrieux, Morgan…), the singing movies (Luis Mariano, Tino Rossi…), the sometimes parodic films noirs (Eddie Constantine and the Lemmy Caution series) and crime stories.

In the mid 60s, popular cinema lived on whereas the New wave entered a downturn. If we take the example of the comical genre, from the Branquignols to movies in the 2000s, (Dany Boon and others) through the years topped by Louis de Funès, movies with and by Pierre Richard or Le Splendid or Café de la gare theatre troupe, popular cinema attracts a wide audience with resounding success (La Grande Vadrouille, Les Visiteurs, Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis…).

Musics

The directors, screenwriters and of course the composers : Paul Misraki (Ali Baba et les 40 voleurs), Philippe Rombi (les Ch’tis), Georges Auric (La Grande Vadrouille), Georges Van Parys (Le Passe Muraille, Elle boit pas, elle fume pas, elle drague pas, mais… elle cause, Le Gorille vous salue bien), Raymond Lefevbre (les Gendarmes), Vladimir Cosma (Le Grand Blond avec une Chaussure Noire, L’Aile ou la Cuisse…) but also Vincent Scotto (Angèle, La Fille du Puisatier, Pépé Le Moko), and Francis Lopez (Andalousie, La Belle de Cadix, Quai des Orfèvres…). And variety/pop artists of the 70s-80s : Yves Simon (Diabolo Menthe), Pierre Bachelet (Les Bronzés font du ski), Michel Polnareff (La Folie des Grandeurs), Charlélie Couture (Tchao Pantin), Bernard Lavilliers (Rue Barbare) Michel Berger (Tout Feu Tout Flamme ), etc.  All contributed to the popular sucess of this popular cinema.

Even though « the current promotions of former « not-so-good » movies as well as the academic attempt of rehabilitation » (Beylie et d’Hugues, 1999) « illustrate a contrario, according to Montebello, the absence of pretentiousness of these shows at the time of their making and paradoxically explains the impossibility of their export beyond ages » (Montebello, 2005). We think that this academic work has to be carried on and developed. « Popular » means here an ensemble of genres so characterized such as comedy, dramatic comedy, crime and detective stories, science-fiction, drama…

The proposals will have to focus on the music-screen relation with such potential entries as :

  • various periods (1930s, the Occupation, 1950s…)
  • a school or a troupe (le Splendid and others…)
  • A specific composer and his/her collaboration with a director (Lefevbre et les Gendarmes)
  • the golden age of filmed operetta (Luis Mariano…)
  • the French musicals
  • the composer of popular cinema versus « cinema d’auteur » (mix of genres or specialization ?)
  • open subject

Submission guidelines

The proposals (500 words maximum) with a short biography will be sent to philippe.gonin@u-bourgogne.fr

by February 15th 2019.

The contributors will get a reply (positive or negative) within March 2019.

The symposium will be held in Dijon June 5th, 6th and 7h 2019.

Scientific committee

  • Philippe Gonin (Université de Bourgogne, CGC UMR 7366)
  • Jérôme Rossi (Université de Nantes)
  • Chloé Huvet (Université de Rennes 2)
  • Cécile Carayol (Université de Rouen)
  • Gérard Dastugue (Institut Catholique de Toulouse, UR CERES)
  • Philippe Poirrier (Université de Bourgogne, CGC UMR 7366)
  • Philippe Lalitte (Université de Bourgogne, CGC UMR 7366))
  • Martin Barnier (Université Lumière Lyon 2)
  • Séverine Abhervé (Agence Taxzone)
  • Frédéric Gimello-Mesplomb (Université d’Avignon, Centre Norbert Elias, UMR 8562)

Selected bibliography.

Abhervé, Séverine, « Discours des compositeurs de musique sur le cinématographe en France (1919-1937) : ambitions, obstacles et horizons d’attente », 1895. Mille huit cent quatre-vingt-quinze [En ligne], 65 | 2011, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2014, http://1895.revues.org/4446 ; DOI : 10.4000/1895.4446

Barnier, Martin ; Jullier, Laurent, Une Brève Histoire du Cinéma (1895-2015). Fayard, Pluriel, 2015.

Bazin, André, Le Cinéma de l’Occupation et de la Résistance, UGE, 10/18.

Beylie, Claude ; d’Hugues, Philippe, Les Oubliés du Cinéma Français. Editions du Cerf, 1999.

Beylie, Claude (dir.), Une Histoire du Cinéma Français. Larousse, 2000.

Bosseno, Christian-Marc ; Dehée, Yannick, Dictionnaire du Cinéma Populaire Français. Nouveau Monde éditions, 2004.

Carayol, Cécile, Une Musique pour l’Image : Vers un Symphonisme Intimiste dans le Cinéma Français. Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2012.

Gimello-Mesplomb, Frédéric, Les cinéastes Français à l’épreuve du genre fantastique. L’Harmattan, 2012. 

Gonin, Philippe, Camille Saint-Saëns, Symétrie, Tempus Perfectum, 2008.

Leteux, Christine, Continental Films : cinéma Français sous contrôle. La Tour Verte, 2017.

Lacombe, Alain, Porcile, François, Les Musiques du Cinéma Français. Bordas, 1995.

Montebello, Fabrice, Le Cinéma en France, depuis les années 1930. Colin cinéma, 2005.

Pisano, Giusy, « Les années trente entre chanson et cinéma », 1895. Mille huit cent quatre-vingt-quinze [En ligne], 38 | 2002, mis en ligne le 08 mars 2007, consulté le 13 juillet 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/1895/357 ; DOI : 10.4000/1895.357

Porcile, François, Maurice Jaubert, musicien populaire ou maudit. EFR, 1971.

Rossi, Jérôme (dir.), La Musique de film en France : courants, spécificités, évolution, Symétrie, 2016.

Truffaut, François, « Une certaine tendance du cinéma français », Cahiers du cinéma, n° 31, janvier 1954.

Places

  • MSH Dijon - 6 Esplanade Erasme,
    Dijon, France (21)

Date(s)

  • Friday, February 15, 2019

Keywords

  • cinéma, populaire, musicien

Contact(s)

  • Philippe Gonin
    courriel : philippe [dot] gonin [at] u-bourgogne [dot] fr

Information source

  • Philippe Gonin
    courriel : philippe [dot] gonin [at] u-bourgogne [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Popular Cinema and its musicians in France since 1930 », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, December 21, 2018, https://calenda.org/525331

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