Annale corrigée

Hollywood in the 30s

Fictions and realities • Sujet zéro 2020

Hollywood in the 30s

expression orale

20 min

10 points

Intérêt du sujet • Hollywood, le berceau de l'industrie cinématographique, illustre bien l'usage d'artifices et de décors permettant de créer un monde irréel.


Choisissez un document et expliquez en quoi il illustre le mieux, selon vous, l'axe « Fictions et réalités ».

Document A


© T.H. and R.P. Benton Testamentary Trusts / Adagp, Paris 2021 – ph © Jameson Miller. Courtesy of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Hollywood, 1937-38, Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri

Document B


© Selznick International Pictures / DR – Collection Christophel / Prisma

1939 original US poster for Gone with the Wind


Les clés du sujet

Comprendre les documents



Préparer sa présentation

Tableau de 2 lignes, 2 colonnes ;Corps du tableau de 2 lignes ;Ligne 1 : Si vous choisissez le document A; Le cinéma est ici incarné par Hollywood, un mythe en lui-même. À son âge d'or, on y tournait jusqu'à 600 films par an. C'est ce qu'illustre le document : les décors, le devant et le derrière de la caméra.Le 7e art est à la croisée de la fiction et de la réalité : en dehors des biopics, la plupart des films sont basés sur des fictions.Pourtant, même si les films « racontent des histoires » fictives, elles peuvent faire écho avec nos vies.; Ligne 2 : Si vous choisissez le document B; Ce poster est celui d'un film relatant une grande histoire d'amour ayant lieu durant une période historique épique, et tourné durant l'âge d'or d'Hollywood.Il illustre comment un film historique fait fusionner fiction et réalité. Mais cela est aussi vrai du cinéma en général, qui mêle la réalité de nos vies à des scénarios souvent inventés.;


Voici un exemple de présentation orale à partir du document A.

Art is a major conveyor of emotions. By blending reality and fiction it appeals to the general public in a personal and cultural way. Along with literature, cinema exemplifies this and has done since its invention.


to blend : mélanger

climax : apogée

to bustle : grouiller

The myth of Hollywood

When we think of the cinematographic industry, we immediately think of ­Hollywood.

As is depicted in the painting, Hollywood reached a climax in the late 1930s, when more than 600 films were produced every year. This was a Golden Age, as actors became celebrities (like Clark Gable or Vivien Leigh).

The canvas itself shows a studio bustling with activity: several films are shot at the same time, thanks to pasteboard settings. We can see behind the scenes, which brings to light the people working in this industry. That's why this document shows what is before and behind the camera: the settings, the actors, as well as the cameramen and sound engineers “behind the scenes”.

The blending of fiction and reality


Le document B suggère l'atmosphère du cinéma hollywoodien des années 1930 : romance, périodes historiques…

Furthermore Hollywood illustrates what cinema at large is capable of.

Indeed, cinema has always used the material of reality to transform it into fiction – apart from biopics or historic films which let us see what we couldn't other­wise, as if we actually witnessed past events.

Some scenarios are original, others are adaptations based on novels. Most of the time we go to the cinema to escape reality and enter an imaginary world that enables us to dream and forget about our worries for a while.

What the cinema tells us about ourselves

Like with literature, we tend to identify with the characters. But not only.


to identify with : s'identifier à

to overwhelm : submerger

If we sometimes get the impression that what happens in films is very different from our everyday lives, we also realise that some of the problems we encounter are part of the human condition, and that's what cinema reflects.

But this image of reality is transcended, because cinema is art. That's why, apart from the emotions that overwhelm us when watching a wonderful film, we also come to learn and think about common subjects such as family relationships, love, destiny… things that are deeply rooted in our reality.


To conclude, I firmly believe that the image of Hollywood portrayed on the ­painting best illustrates this connection between reality and fiction.


Voici quelques questions que l'examinateur pourrait vous poser.

How different is it for you to watch a film at the cinema?

Well, I don't often go to the cinema, as it is much easier to watch a film on my mobile phone… But I try to go there once in a while, because it is really different, you are much more immersed. And I noticed that when you leave the cinema, you feel like talking about the film with your friends, whereas it's not the case when you watch it on TV.

Do you like a film better if you know its story is drawn from a true story?

Honestly, I don't think I care, as long as the plot itself is interesting. But it's true that it's different when I watch a documentary or a biopic. I know that what I'm watching has actually taken place, and the information could be useful later. It deepens my general knowledge.

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