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Jean Marais's early career during the Occupation is usually remembered for L'Eternel retour (Delannoy, 1943), written for him by his partner Jean Cocteau. In this film his masculinity is problematic, according to Carrie Tarr, who has analyzed the way in which the character of
Patrice, played by Marais, is feminized. This ambivalent masculinity is linked to the crisis of male identity after France's defeat and during the Occupation. This article will explore Marais's other films from the period, from the same perspective. While L'Eternel retour launched Marais's
career, the other films he made between 1940 and 1944, now forgotten, were just as important for his success. The article analyzes Marais's roles from a gender perspective in Le Lit colonnes (Roland Tual, 1942), Carmen (Christian-Jaque, 1942) and Voyage sans espoir (Christian-Jaque,
1943), while also exploring Marais's star image as proposed in Cin-Mondial, a popular cinema magazine during the Occupation. The article will show how Marais's ambivalent masculinity is related to a fundamental contradiction in French society during the Occupation, between the promotion
of virility in political discourse on the one hand, and the undermining of patriarchal constructs on the other.
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.