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Petit manuel d'histoire de France

A Feature film by Raoul Ruiz

Produced by INA - Institut National de l'Audiovisuel

Production year : 1979

  • Contents

Production and distribution


Raúl Ruíz, a Chilean working in France, was the subject of an April 1984 PFA retrospective. He has produced feature length films under the auspices of French and Italian television (including Three Crowns of a Sailor, The Territory, etc.) in addition to a number of works for television. Ian Christie writes in Afterimage (#10): "If Ruíz became a 'television filmmaker' almost inadvertently...he has found that the strictures of television, like those of exile, can be put to good use.... Two main strategies inform Ruíz's approach to television: they are parody and literalism...both calculated to subvert the normal discourse of television.... Petit manuel d'histoire de France...commissioned by INA as part of a series of programs using archive material...proposes nothing less than a complete history of France, taking the numerous plays and dramatic its raw material and faithfully following a consensus of school history primers. It is a work of pure collage, or photo-montage...both hilarious and instructive, less about French history...than about the conventions of that latter-day equivalent of the medieval chronicle, the historical drama. Rather than draw attention to the absences in French tele-history, to its (doubtless) evasions and distortions...Ruíz massively reinforces its repetitions and stereotypes to the point of narrative excess and absurdity--as when he intercuts no less than four Jeanne d'Arcs, and when the same actors recur in characteristic roles throughout 'history', thus reducing...the idea of 'great men' to a series of starring parts...."

© The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Full credits (2)

Screenwriter :

Raoul Ruiz

Technical details

Feature film

Genres :


Themes :


Production language :


Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

100% French

Production year :


French release :

Runtime :

1 h 40 min

Current status :

Approval :

Color type :

Color and Black & White

Aspect ratio :


Audio format :