A comparative analysis of two clips from Journal de guerre n° 36 (26’), produced by the French Army’s Film Department (SCA) on the 6th of June 1940 allows the school audience to appreciate what Marc Bloch calls the “most atrocious collapse of our history”. It questions the discursive elements underlined by the authorities to show the military defeat of the French campaign and the massive exodus of refugees that it results in. The analytic interest lies in the importance given by this film to faces – the defeated soldiers of operation Dynamo and refugees filmed at eye-level – and to absence – what in the end is a very poetic way of filming the deserted village. A comparison of the two timelines of the soundtrack also proves to be instructive, opposing the commentary denying the defeat of the Northern army to the silent voice when it comes to presenting the tragedy of the exodus.

Catherine Dupuy
Senior history teacher, in charge of educational projects
ECPAD (Ivry-sur-Seine, France)

Catherine Dupuy, senior history teacher and a doctor in contemporary history, assigned to the ECPAD, in charge of educational projects.

Lead image: ©opérateur inconnu/ SCA/ECPAD/Défense/photogramme J 36- TC 00-06-58