Academic journal article Michigan Academician

French and Italian Language & Literature

Academic journal article Michigan Academician

French and Italian Language & Literature

Article excerpt

Lettres de Mistriss Henley: Isabelle de Charriere's Reality Check. Vicki De Vries, Calvin College

The mid-18th century saw a boom in the emphasis on the family in society. Children who had formerly been passed off to wet nurses in the country became integrated into family life, at least in the idealized versions of the household portrayed in painting and literature. Rousseau's Julie ou la Nouvelle Helase and Emile were particularly influential in promoting this new emphasis on the joys and satisfactions of family life, especially for women. But with her Lettres de Mistriss Henley, Isabelle de Charriere deflates the myth and demonstrates the risks in trying to adhere to an ideal that does not fit one's character. The tragic nature of her epistolary novel results not from anyone's wrongdoing, but from an overly rigid adherence to an abstract ideal.

Ermanno Olmi New Way to Filmmaking: from Centochiodi to Terra Madre, Antonio Rossini, University of Windsor

Environmentalism plays a dominant role in the political agenda of many statesmen and artists as well. In the case of Ermanno Olmi, a great maestro of the Italian film d'auteur, the understandable concern with the more and more jeopardized destinies of mother earth is coupled with the desire to investigate the more genuine aspect of Christ[degrees]logy: true companionship with the 'Divine'. This is evident in Olmi's last feature film 'Centochiodi'. Indeed, with this movie, the great Italian master has made clear his intention to revert to his first love, namely the production of documentaries. 'Terra Madre' is the first result of such resolve. The aim of my contribution is to investigate the documentary-like style of 'Centochiodi', the lyrical description of the time spent by a young and disillusioned university professor with a lively community of inhabitants of the Po riverbanks before disappearing, and at the same time, the lyric dimension of 'Terra Madre', a lengthy documentary on the beauty of our planet. More specifically, I shall analyze a double interaction at work in 'Centochiodi': the same way the young professor seeks refuge from the frivolity of academic life in a closer contact with a little piece of paradise such as the beautiful banks of the river Po near Mantua, so do the inhabitants of this little Eden end up projecting their religious expectations onto the lovable persona of the young scholar. Fundamentally Christological in the way it is portrayed, the character played by the young professor prefigures a time of new engagement in the life of one's community and in the interaction of humankind with nature: a time of closeness, tenderness and 'lyrical' company.

Waste, Recycling, and Identity in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Blue. Julie W. Arnold, Alma College, Department of Modern Languages

As the first installment in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colors trilogy examining a newly unified Europe, Blue (1993) stages the psychological drama of a French woman who loses her husband and daughter in a car accident. Plunged into mourning, Julie (played by Juliette Binoche) withdraws from society and tries to suppress her feelings. She also ignores the passage of time and expresses no interest in the future. Meanwhile and in contrast to Julie, other community members express optimism or take measures to help shape the future through acts of recycling, both material and figurative. This analysis frames Julie's mourning and the eventual lifting of her grief within a context of waste removal, recycling, and identity.

Lieux de Memoire: Perspectives on African Slavery in Brazil. Suzanne Gasster Carrierre, Aquinas College, Department of Modern Languages

Pierre Nora's work studies how history, place and memory are intertwined. These two francophone novels, Tierno Monenembo's Pelourinho and Kangni Alem's Esclaves present, each in a very different way, how the African past endures in areas where the Portuguese were slave-holders. …

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