Open Roads, Closed Borders (Book)

The Contemporary French-language Road Movie

Open Roads, Closed Borders is the first collection of essays about French-language road movies, a particularly rich yet critically neglected cinematic category. These films, the contributors argue, offer important perspectives on contemporary French ideas about national identity, France’s former colonies, Europe and the rest of the world. Taken together, the essays illustrate how travel and road motifs have enabled directors of various national origins and backgrounds to reimagine space and move beyond simple oppositions such as Islam and secularism, local and global, home and away, France and Africa and East and West.

Edition

Michael Gott is assistant professor of French at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Thibaut Schilt is assistant professor of French at the College of the Holy Cross, Massachusetts.

Introduction – Michael Gott and Thibaut Schilt

Chapter 1: On the Eve of the Journey: Tangier, Tbilisi, Calais – Laura Rascaroli

Chapter 2: The Constant Tourist: Passing Intimacy and Touristic Nomadism in Drôle de Félix – Florian Grandena

Chapter 3: Brittany, No Exit: Travelling in Circles in Manuel Poirier’s Western – Thibaut Schilt

Chapter 4: Troubling Return: Femininity and Algeria in La Fille de Keltoum – Darren Waldron

Chapter 5: Going Nowhere Fast: On the Road in Contemporary Algeria in Tariq Teguia’s Rome plutôt que vous – Joseph McGonagle

Chapter 6: Times on the Road: Identity and Lived Temporality in Benoît Jacquot’s À tout de suite and L’Intouchable – Glen W. Norton

Chapter 7: Tourism and Travelling in Jean-Luc Godard’s Allemagne 90 neuf zéro and Éloge de l’amour – Ewa Mazierska

Chapter 8: Under Eastern Eyes: Displacement, Placelessness and the Exilic Optic in Emmanuel Finkiel’s Nulle part terre promise – Michael Gott

Chapter 9: Nowhere to Run, Somewhere to Hide: Laurent Cantet’s L’Emploi du temps – Martin O’Shaughnessy

Chapter 10: Traffic in Souls: The Perils and Promises of Mobility in La Promesse – David Laderman

Chapter 11: Mobility and Exile in Claire Denis’s 35 rhums – Michelle Royer and Miriam Thompson

Chapter 12: Gatlif’s Manifesto: Cinema is Travel – Sylvie Blum-Reid

'Open Roads, Closed Borders opens the reader’s eyes to a vast world of ideas by viewing them through the pinhole perspective of the contemporary French-language road movie'

Spectrum Culture, Josh Goller

'This is a welcome addition to a still-developing area. Gott and Schilt admit that there were many more films that they would like to have included; one can only hope that their suggested second volume sees the light of day' 

French Studies, Ben McCann

'Open Roads, Closed Borders constitutes a fresh criticism on the intersection of cinema, economy, and politics. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best books this reviewer has ever read on mobility-related issues.'

Annals of Tourism Research, Maximiliano E. Korstanje

'As someone who teaches contemporary French-language cinema, I continually search for texts to accompany the films my students view. To date, Gott and Schilt's collection of essays is the best-suited text for such a course. ' 

Mariah Devereux Herbeck, The French Review
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