Explain how Les aventures de rabbi Jacob represents French cinema of its time and what social phenomenon dthe film reflects. What theme/main idea is being delivered by the film?

Quick answer:

Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob came out in 1974. A decade earlier, we saw the rise of the French New Wave, which produced bold films by auteurs like Jean-Luc Goddard and François Truffaut. The ’70s saw a return to more conventional film-making. We might say Rabbi Jacob is a more standard film. It adheres to the conventions of a comedy and comes with a big star Louis de Funès. For themes, think about how it confronts antisemitism.

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Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob (or, in English, The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob) came out during the 1970s in 1974. The previous decade was a critical decade for French cinema. The '60s introduced the world to French New Wave and daring auteurs like Jean-Luc Goddard and François Truffaut.

The next decade saw the flash and flare of French New Wave subside. In its place, we note the emergence of more conventional movies. These movies featured big stars and we're generally more successful at the box office.

That's where Rabbi Jacob comes in. Rabbi Jacob stars Louis de Funès. According to a New York Times review of Rabbi Jacob, de Funès was "reportedly the biggest thing to hit French films since Brigitte Bardot."

As with big, American Hollywood movies, we see how French films during the '70s could be anchored by a star. We also see how French films during the 70s linked to more typical genres. We don't think it's too hard to classify Rabbi Jacob as an example of the standard madcap comedy.

As for themes, we note the theme of antisemitism. As you might be aware, the film centers on a bigoted Catholic man who has to dress up as a rabbi to save his life. During the '70s, France had to confront its role in the Holocaust. It reflected upon its own antisemitism and how the Vichy regime collaborated with Nazis.

You might want to think about how the film uses mistaken identity and comedy to address the deep and painful subject of antisemitism, which, to this day, continues to be an issue in France.

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