Ni Pour, Ni Contre1: Conflict and Community in the Films of Céedric Klapisch


  • Jean M. Fallon

    1. Hollins University
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      Jean M. Fallon (PhD, University of Virginia) is Professor of French and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.

  • 1

    This article aims to introduce Klapisch to a larger American public, specifically to teachers of French and French studies in the United States who may not be familiar with all of Klapischs work. Ni pouv ni contre (bien au contraire) [Neither For Nor Against, Quite the Opposite] is the title of the captivating gangster heist film that Klapisch completed just after wrapping up the filming of Uuberge espugnole [The Spanish Apartment]. It offers a darker look than Auberge at conflicts within a community and did not have a U.S. release. In working nearly simultaneously on the two films, Klapisch was acutely aware of their thematic yin and yang relationship, and was disappointed by the tepid response that Ni pour ni contre (bien au contraire) received in France.


Eschewing the making of elitist films, French writer/director Céedric Klapisch strives to appeal to a wide population with his largely humorous yet thought-provoking narratives that look compellingly at the relationship between individuals and community. Three of his films that have received U.S. releases—Chacun cherche son chat [When the Cat's Away], L'Auberge espagnole [The Spanish Apartment], and Les Poupées russes [The Russian Dolls]—reflect numerous unresolved issues that have threatened the harmony of French society in the last decade. His films provide a symbolic jramework for exploring current social issues of gentrification and immigration, questions about national identity, and sovereignty concerns that affect union with other European nations.