Casablanca: Movies and Memory

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U of Minnesota Press, 2009 - Performing Arts - 104 pages
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Marc Augé was eleven or twelve years old when he first saw Casablanca. Made in 1942 but not released in France until 1947, the film had a profound effect on him. Like cinephiles everywhere, Augé was instantly drawn to Rick Blaine's mysterious past, his friendship with Sam and Captain Renault, and Ilsa's stirring, seductive beauty. The film-with its recurring scenes of waiting, menace, and flight-occupies a significant place in Augé's own memory of his uprooted childhood and the wartime exploits of his family.

Marc Augé's elegant and thoughtful essay on film and the nature of both personal and collective memory contends that some of our most haunting memories are deeply embedded in the cinema. His own recollections of the hurried, often chaotic embarkations of his childhood, he writes, are become intertwined with scenes from Casablanca that have become bigger in his memory through repeated viewings in the movie houses of Paris's Latin Quarter.

Seamlessly weaving together film criticism and memoir, Casablanca moves between Augé's insights into the filmgoing experience and his reflections on his own life, the collective trauma of France's wartime history, and how such events as the fall of Paris, the exodus of refugees, and the Occupation-all depicted in the film-were lived and are remembered.

  

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Contents

Sometimes the idea strikes me
1
I dont know exactly when
4
Every film we have enjoyed
10
Montage
13
The exodus marked my childhood
19
Why is Rick Humphrey Bogart so bitter
28
Two or three years ago
31
When I went to say hello to my mother
37
Like those of tragedy movie heroes
51
Nothing contrasts more than the opposition of black and white
54
When an individuals story crosses through history
55
I was very young
57
I love the Montparnasse station
59
At the beginning of Casablanca a voiceover
65
My mother was walking with difficulty
70
Ill let some time go by
75

What I love in old films
39
The source of Casablanca
45
A WRITER AND HIS MOVIE
79
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Marc Augé, an anthropologist trained in French universities, has studied and written copiously on North African cultures. He teaches leading seminars at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and is author of many books, including La traversée du Luxembourg, Domaines et châteaux, Non-lieux: Introduction à; l’anthropologie de la surmodernité, Un ethnologue dans le métro, and Les formes de l’oubli. The English translations In the Metro and Oblivion have been published by the University of Minnesota Press.

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