Friday, October 1, 2004

Lecture Explores "Paris, Hollywood, And France's Memories Of World War II"

Chestertown, MD, October 1, 2004 — The Goldstein Program of Public Affairs, Campus Events and Visitors, and the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures present “Paris, Hollywood, and France's Memories of World War II," a lecture by Philip Watts, Professor of French and Chair of the Department of French and Italian at the University of Pittsburgh. The lecture will be held on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 4:30 pm in the CAC Forum. The event is free and open to the public.

Sixty years have passed since D-Day and the liberation of Europe, but France's role during World War II remains as contentious as ever. As the nation was divided in two, split between an occupied and a non-occupied zone, the French population found itself caught in a struggle between Charles De Gaulle and the Resistance and Philippe Petain's government of collaboration. Since 1945, films about the war in France have grappled with these divisions and ambivalences, from the epic "Is Paris Burning?" whose all-star cast celebrated the struggle of the Resistance to the documentary "The Sorrow and the Pity" which revealed how ordinary Frenchmen collaborated with the Nazis.

Dr. Watts will present some of the more significant films about World War II in France, beginning with the immediate postwar years, examining differences between how French filmmakers and Hollywood directors represented the war, and ending with a look at how more recent films, such as Jean-Paul Rappeneau's "Bon Voyage," reveal a continuing equivocation about this moment in history.

A preeminent scholar in French studies, Dr. Watts received the prestigious Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies in 2000 for his book Allegories of the Purge: How Literature Responded to the Postwar Trials of Writers and Intellectuals in France (Stanford University Press, 1998) and has published articles and reviews in "French Forum" "South Atlantic Quarterly" and "Esprit."

In conjunction with Dr. Watts' visit, there will be a free public screening of the film “Bon Voyage” by Jean-Paul Rappeneau (Cyrano de Bergerac, Le Hussard sur le toit) on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. in the CAC Forum. The French Club will provide snacks. Contact Katherine Maynard at for more information.

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