Nota Bene

Looking for something to read or watch relating to France, French-speaking countries, or Italy? Note well this cultural cornucopia, recommended by department faculty and staff.


Nathalie Azoulai, Les Manifestations (2005) A wonderful novel on the vexed relations between the French, the Jews and the Muslims in the aftermath of 9/11 and the second intifada. Azoulai's first novel. Very promising!

Stefano Benni, Achille Piè Veloce (Achilles the Fleet-Footed)
A funny and ironic story about writing and writer's block.

Pierre Birnbaum, The Idea of France (2001)
A probing reflection on what France was and what it's becoming, by one of the country's leading historians.

Ken Bugul, Rue Félix-Faure (2005)
A novel by the leading Senegalese novelist set in Paris among Cap-Verde immigrants.

Andrea Camilleri, La vampa d'agosto (2006)
The latest of inspector Montalbano, police procedural Italian style.

Bernard Cerquiglini et al, Tu parles!? Le français dans tous ses états (2000)
Lighthearted presentation of reflections by specialists for nonspecialists on the state of the French language at the turn of the millenium.

Georges Didi-Huberman, Images malgré tout (2003)
The best book on the ethical and aesthetic problems of representing the Holocaust in art, literature and photography. A polemical response to Claude Lanzmann's rejection of images of the Holocaust by the leading French art historian. (Soon to appear in translation at the University of Minnesota Press)

Paul Ginsborg, L'italia del tempo presente. Famiglia, Societa', Stato. 1980-1996 (1998)
A timely and encyclopedic look at contemporary Italy and Italian society.

Wu Ming, 54 (2003) and Luther Blissett, Q (1999)
Both very long and complex historical novels written by the same collective of writers--under two different names.

Amélie Nothomb, Biographie de la faim (2004)
This other Amélie is Belgian, precocious and anorexic, and with Emmanuèle Bernheim she is the best representative of a movement we might call 'thin lit'-short novels with slim conceits yet intriguing resonances.

Philippe Roger, L'ennemi americain: Généalogie de l'antiaméricanisme français (2002)
An exhaustive yet hilarious overview of French writers and intellectuals' bizarre fascination and repulsion for America since the 18th century up to the present. The book will be published in English translation by the University of Chicago.

Marina Yaguello, Le Grand Livre de la Langue française (Seuil, 2003)
Also for nonspecialists, but a more scholarly presentation of various aspects of the language, written by experts in each field.


Karin Albou, La Petite Jérusalem (2004) Set in the Parisian suburb of Sarcelles with a working class Jewish population neighboring a Maghrebi/Beur population, this drama highlights and complicates the tensions between French Jews and French Muslims.

Gianni Amelio, Porte Aperte (Open Doors) (1990)
Based on a novella by Sciascia with the same title, an original court drama with incomparable Gian Maria Volontè

Denys Arcand, Les Invasions Barbares (Barbarian Invasions) (2003)
Around the terminal cancer of the main character, a bittersweet script-driven look at the intellectual and hedonistic generation that changed Quebec, and the new generation emerging in a very different post 9/11 world.

Guido Chiesa, Lavorare con lentezza (2004)
A look at free pirate radio experiments in the 1970s.

Raymond Depardon, Dixième chambre (2004)
A rare documentary on the French judicial system that barred cameras in court until this work by France's best documentary filmmaker.

Marco Tullio Giordana, The Best of Youth (2003)
Six hour film follows two brothers through the tumultuous events of recent Italian history. Some likened it to Bertolucci's "1900."

Jean-Luc Godard, Notre musique (2004)
The master of the avant-garde goes to Sarajevo to 'sing our song' of the moment, thinking through the Israelo-Palestinian conflict and Americanism: you'll love it if you love Godard.

Nadir Moknèche, Viva Laldjérie (2004)
Filmed in Algiers in 2003, a rare look back at the rise of fundamentalism in Algeria but à la Almodóvar...!

Pierre-Paul Renders, Thomas est amoureux (2001)
An agoraphobic and hyper-allergic young man who lives via cyber contacts only opens up literally and figuratively to a sex worker; a must-see cyber-farce from Belgium.

Silvio Soldini, Pane e Tulipani (Bread and Tulips, 2000)
Atypical 'road-movie' comedy and feminist love story set in contemporary Venice.

Jean-Marc Vallée, C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)
A father-son, coming-of-age, and coming out gay drama underlining the waning of the Catholic influence in Quebec society after the 'Quiet Revolution.'



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This page contains a single entry by cla published on June 27, 2008 8:13 PM.

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