A doctoral dissertation on representations of rural France in Marcel Pagnol's cinema. The films and plays of Marcel Pagnol (1895-1974), the first cinematographer to be admitted to the French Academy, commanded enormous popularity in France and internationally from the early 1930s to the early 1950s, popularity that continues today over fifty years after the height of the filmmaker's career. This project constitutes the first cultural history of Marcel Pagnol's cinema, focusing on the following seven films: Jefroi (1933), Angèle (1934), Regain (1937), La Femme du boulanger (1938), La Fille du puisatier (1940), Naïs (1945), and Manon des sources (1952). In general terms, the project addresses France's transition from a mosaic of traditional rural cultures to a modem, urban way of life and the concurrent development of French national identity. While the transformation of «Peasants into Frenchmen,» to use Eugen Weber's famous expression, has typically been interpreted as the result of government-sponsored institutional factors such as obligatory military service, public schooling and improved transportation networks, Pagnol's cinema is a case study that underlines the integral role popular culture and the mass media played in the process. Though focusing on mid-twentieth-century France, this study is meant to elucidate global issues that accompany the transition from a rural to an urban way of life: a sense of decadence and loss of cultural patrimony, the rise of class struggle and party politics, the development of a mass consumer culture and the reorganization of patriarchal family structure. As such, the popularity of Pagnol's work is intimately related to the changes brought about by France's «civilizing mission» at home and in her colonies. In the post-colonial period, Pagnol's films have remained popular all over the world, especially in the developing countries of South America, Africa and Asia. The author's hypothesis is that Pagnol's cinematic representation of the peasantry plays a crucial role in the transformation from a rural to an urban mode of existence. On one level, it softens the impact of this change by preserving the sense of cultural rootedness often invested in the countryside and threatened by urbanization. Yet as the object of mass consumption, Pagnol's films also promote popular acceptance of advanced technologies (exemplified by talking cinema) and their modernizing influence in a way that official political and administrative discourse cannot. Indeed, Pagnol's films provided the raw material from which a new, technologically mediated folklore was produced, a folklore that still thrives today in France and around the world.