Screenwriting trends in popular comedy
in Screenwriters in French cinema
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Given the centrality of the comedy genre to the French film industry and its popularity, this chapter looks at two case studies of comedy screenwriters to explore significant trends in the process of writing comedy films. The first is that of Francis Veber, an established comedy screenwriter whose career spans from the 1970s to 2010 and includes hits such as L’emmerdeur, La chèvre and Le Dîner de cons all featuring his canonical comic protagonist François Pignon. Veber has a special talent for dialogue writing, characterisation and well-oiled plots capturing the social air du temps. The chapter also explores the more collective writing experience of Le Splendid, a Paris café-théâtre troupe of the late 1970s who adapted some of their live shows into comedy films like Les Bronzés and Le Père Noël est une ordure. These cult films renewed the comedy genre revealed the next generation of successful film stars, screenwriters and directors, including Josiane Balasko, Gérard Jugnot and Christian Clavier.

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