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

Swamy, Vinay
April 2006
Studies in French Cinema;2006, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p53
Academic Journal
This essay analyzes three recent films, Rêves en France (Kané, 2002), Le Placard (Veber, 2001) and Drôle de Félix (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 idées reçues 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.


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