An Introduction to Provence Movies

provence_flagCombining a passion for cinema with roots deeply rooted in my native Provence (also referred as the South of France and bordering the Mediterranean sea), this feature doesn’t pretend to provide a chronology of the history of cinema in Provence, preferring instead to follow a thematic approach. As a result, the selection of movies presented here reflects these themes, focusing on productions that are representative of this union between the region and cinema.

We will first have a look at Provence, more particularly Marseille and its surroundings, before slowly moving to the adjacent Camargue.


Provence movies feature

Provence movies

With its contrasting landscapes, high-perched villages, shimmering creeks and pinewoods, Provence appealed to artists very early. Marcel Pagnol, Frédéric Mistral, Jean Giono, Jean Aicard, all Provence children, celebrated the region with their stories, developing a myth that quickly contaminated filmmakers looking for rustic intrigues. While many books set in Provence were adapted for the screen, the region’s exotic charms were also used as a background for plenty of movie productions.

Historical events unexpectedly strengthened the South’s artistic influence in 1942 when the Nazis took control of Paris, forcing some French filmmakers into exile in Marseille, Nice and California. Despite being subject to restrictions imposed by the armistice,  French cinema was able to survive on the Mediterranean coast, even thriving to later become France’s second home for the movie industry, partly thanks to the presence of the  Victorine studios and Cannes film festival.

back to Provence Movies featureSince the end of the war, the relationship between cinema and Provence has persisted with ups and downs, until a recent craze for Marseille and its culture – and for Nice to a lesser degree – definitely brought the south of France to the center of the screen.

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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.
Fred Thom

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