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An evocative and penetrating account of cultural life in wartime Paris and of the moral and artistic choices artists faced under the Nazi occupation. In the weeks after the Germans captured Paris, theaters, opera houses, and nightclubs reopened to occupiers and French citizens alike, and they remained open for the duration of the war. Alan Riding introduces a pageant of twentieth-century artists who lived and worked under the Nazis and explores the decisions each made about whether to stay or flee, collaborate or resist. We see Maurice Chevalier and Edith Piaf singing before French and German audiences; Picasso painting and occasionally selling his work from his Left Bank apartment; and Marcel CarnÉ and Henri-Georges Clouzot, among others, directing movies in Paris studios (more than two hundred were produced during this time). We see that pro-Fascist writers such as Louis-Ferdinand CÉline and Robert Brasillach flourished, but also that Camus’sThe Strangerwas published and Sartre’s playNo Exitwas first performed-ten days before the Normandy landings. Based on exhaustive research and extensive interviews,And the Show Went Onsheds a clarifying light on a protean and problematic era in twentieth-century European cultural history.
The German occupation of France from 1940 to 1945 presented wrenching challenges for the nation’s artists and intellectuals. Some were able to flee the country; those who remained—including Gide and Céline, Picasso and Matisse, Cortot and Messiaen, and Cocteau and Gabin—responded in various ways. This fascinating book is the first to provide a full account of how France’s artistic leaders coped under the crushing German presence. Some became heroes, others villains; most were simply survivors.
Filled with anecdotes about the artists, composers, writers, filmmakers, and actors who lived through the years of occupation, the book illuminates the disconcerting experience of life and work within a cultural prison. Frederic Spotts uncovers Hitler’s plan to pacify the French through an active cultural life, and examines the unexpected vibrancy of opera, ballet, painting, theater, and film in both the Occupied and Vichy Zones. In view of the longer-term goal to supplant French with German culture, Spotts offers moving insight into the predicament of French artists as they fought to preserve their country’s cultural and national identity.
INCLUDES 16 PAGES OF IMAGES
The French in Love and War by Charles Rearick
Publication Date: 1997
From the bloodbaths of the First World War through the military defeat and Nazi occupation of the Second World War, the people of France struggled with the pain and anxieties of a nation in crisis. In this sophisticated cultural history of France from 1914 to 1945, Charles Rearick tells how the French discovered ways to cope and found reassurance and relief through songs, movies, and images of ordinary people that they took to heart. Augmenting this fascinating story with more than 125 illustrations, Rearick reveals the power of popular myths and symbols at work throughout a critical period of the twentieth century.
In everyday life of this time, stories of ordinary French people carried important messages of gritty self-reliance and cheerful good humor. Images of common folk -- the jovial infantryman and his devoted woman, the bantering working-class Parisian, the suntanned hiking youth, the militant striker -- drew on shared experiences, wishes, fears, and interests. These were embodied in the songs and personas of such musical stars as Maurice Chevalier, Mistinguett, Josephine Baker, Tino Rossi, Charles Trenet, and Edith Piaf; in the films of such directors as Rene Clair, Jean Renoir, Julien Duvivier, and Marcel Pagnol; and in movie characters played by Jean Gabin, Fernandel, Michele Morgan and others. Rearick shows how these celebrities and characters influenced the ways in which the French redefined their lives and responded to adversity.