[Journal] Studies in French Cinema. Vol. 8. No 2

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Additional resources for [Journal] Studies in French Cinema. Vol. 8. No 2

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Contact: 93 Ladbroke Grove, Flat 1, London, W11 2HD. 2_05_art_Archer 5/2/08 7:03 PM Page 137 Studies in French Cinema Volume 8 Number 2 © 2008 Intellect Ltd Article. English language. 137/1 The road as the (non-)place of masculinity: L’Emploi du temps Neil Archer Cambridge University Abstract Keywords Laurent Cantet’s L’Emploi du temps (2001) figures the nominally transitional spaces of cinema – the road, the motor car, the service station – as central to its narrative and its protagonist’s response to crisis.

The fact that the (non-)places within which the film’s protagonist operates are mobile, solitary or male-dominated, reiterates how gender has been considered central to the cinematic road. 2_05_art_Archer 5/2/08 7:03 PM Page 139 tended to focus on this aspect of the genre in negative terms. Molly Haskell consequently conflates the road with the ‘buddy’ movie, indicating their process of disavowal (Haskell 1987: 361–2): the ‘self-discovery’ (Hayward 2000: 313) of the road movie’s (male) protagonist is therefore merely the denial of difference; the protagonists’ knowledge of themselves (as ‘men’) is exerted through a rejection of the feminine which legitimates the homosocial bond, while denying its slide towards a homosexual bond (Sedgwick 1985: 19).

The film’s remarkable use of glass is key here. The buildings in the film, with the notable exception of Vincent’s mountain hideaway, are transparent. The result of this is not just that one can observe everyone at work or at play, but that, by inference, the observer is also the object of scrutiny. Yet this transparency is also duplicitous in the sense that glass provides merely the illusion of transparency: it is, as Baudrillard argues, ‘at once proximity and distance, intimacy and the refusal of intimacy …it is at once magical and frustrating’ (Baudrillard 1996: 41–2).

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