Sue Harris
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A cinema of the absurd
in Bertrand Blier
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The narrative structures of Bertrand Blier's films vary from the episodic, frequently picaresque, yet largely linear, to the more complex and digressive reflections. The subversive approach to the notion of the dramatic catalyst is useful to begin a detailed analysis of Blier's style. One way of understanding the system of dramatic cohesion that unifies the action of Blier's films is to read it in terms of an 'absurdist' conception. Blier first experimented with this technique in Hitler, connais pas!, in which he used the narrative mechanism of the interview to allow eleven young people to talk about themselves and their experiences. The film at first appears to have ethnographic intentions consistent with the cinema-verite mode of film-making, exploring the views and preoccupations of a representative group of individuals, allowing its subjects to locate themselves, their emotions and their attitudes to life with respect to the various conditions of their lives.

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