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The Fictional Treatment of Political Figures: Information or Propaganda?

Abstract : The strong influence intellectuals had for decades over film studies in France made it impossible for filmmakers to experiment new forms of representation combining documentary and fiction genres. Following the successful broadcasting by British channels of political docudramas which drew a large number of viewers, at the end of the XXth century French TV channels ventured into the fictionalization of documentaries on historical subject-matters. Productions on a consensual figure like Charles De Gaulle − Ils voulaient tuer de Gaulle, (2005); Le Grand Charles (2006) - were very popular and successful and they won the praise of journalists and film critics alike. The situation became more critical when French docudrama makers decided to commit themselves to the fictional treatment of current events and of politicians still in power. Xavier Durringer was the first to break new ground with The Conquest (2011), a docudrama on Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent president at the time of the release of the film. Docudramas being often criticized on account of the empathy for the protagonists they generate among viewers, The Conquest was lambasted by a large section of the population for the sympathetic portrait it painted of the then president. The genre of the docudrama was criticized as being inadequate for this type of subject-matter because of the process of identification and empathy it inevitably arouses among viewers. The Conquest highlighted the tug-of-war between the aesthetical and the ethical, a debate that still reverberates today among critics and producers and which we will try and analyze with as material the latest docudrama productions broadcast on French TV channels.
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Contributor : Georges Fournier <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 7:20:14 PM
Last modification on : Monday, February 10, 2020 - 12:16:52 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00937804, version 1



Fournier Georges. The Fictional Treatment of Political Figures: Information or Propaganda?. Visible Evidence XX. Docudrama, affect, and social mobilisation., Aug 2013, Stockholm, Sweden. ⟨halshs-00937804⟩



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