The Role of Cinema in the Formation of Colonial Myth and Colonial Culture in 20th-Сentury France
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The Role of Cinema in the Formation of Colonial Myth and Colonial Culture in 20th-Сentury France
Publication type
Velikhan Mirzekhanov 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

The article deals with the ideology of colonisation, the peculiarities of the development of French colonial culture in its heyday. It analyses the perception of colonial policy by various social strata of French society, examines the process of gradual transformation of colonial culture into a familiar element of public consciousness. Relying on the materials of the French cinema of the 21st century, the author shows how the colonial cinema found a style, format, and ideas that were accepted by the mass consciousness of the French with rapture. In this genre, “colonial culture has managed to successfully implement a dual dialectic: achievement in order to demonstrate the actions of the coloniser, and savagery in order to characterise the local population”. A simple and clear language of colonial cinema, which was present both on the screens and in the minds of millions of French people. The author concludes that the process of the formation of the French colonial empire led to the strengthening of French national identity at the expense of the Other, to the active rapprochement of the national and colonial. Yet, this alliance had its own limitation: the need to maintain a clear caesura between the colonised peoples and the inhabitants of the metropolis. It is obvious that this caesura, constantly maintained throughout the colonial period, was an organising one. The colonial idea was firmly rooted in French society and had penetrated it on every level. Being both ubiquitous and elusive, colonial culture shaped the mentality and collective consciousness of the French.

French colonial Empire, ideas of superiority, colonial culture, colonial cinema, civilising mission, racial hierarchy, indigenous image, collective portrait, the realm of the imaginary, national identity
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