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Gallic dreams? The family, PaCS and kinship relations in millennial France

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Abstract:

This essay analyzes three recent films, Rves en France (Kan, 2002), Le Placard (Veber, 2001) and Drle de Flix (Ducastel & Martineau, 2000), in order to explore the implications of France's PaCS legislation as well as the impact of the same-sex marriage debate on cinematic representation of homosexuality and the French family institution in the new millennium. While, in the legal realm, the PaCS legislation opened the doors to legitimizing homosexual couples in the eyes of the State, it has stopped short of endorsing a change in the exclusive prerogative accorded to the French heterosexual couple to found a family. However, as it has been well-documented, alternative kinship structures, whether or not legitimized by mainstream society, are a reality, and do call into question the heterosexual imperative imposed on the notion of the family. I argue that it is only by appealing to, and even constructing, certain popular ides reues about both the couple be it hetero- or homo-sexual and the family, that each of these films can present its specific narrative as a coherent social discourse. In so doing, each film highlights different perspectives on both the pre- and post-legislative phases of the PaCS debate in which the (re)configuration of the familial institution, and, by implication, the very basis of kinship structure, is at stake.

Keywords: PaCS; couple; family; homosexual; kinship; marriage

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/sfci.6.1.53_2

Affiliations: University of Washington.

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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  • Studies in French Cinema is the only journal published in English devoted exclusively to French cinema, providing scholars, teachers and students from around the world with a consistent quality of academic investigation across the full breadth of the subject. Contributors scrutinise the cultural context of various works and the diverse stylistic approaches that infuse the visual fabric of this genre.
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