Representations of sexuality
in Contemporary French cinema
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If 1968 marked a watershed in French cinema's engagement with politics and history 1974 did the same for representations of sexuality. In that year, pornography entered mainstream French cinema. The gradual relaxation of censorship in the late 1960s had seen a steady increase in the number of erotic films made in France, culminating in Jean Rollin's vampire series. The photography in L'Amant de la Chine du Nord is minutely realistic and yet stylised and fetishistic. This work also inaugurated a quartet of films culminating in the controversial Je vous salue Marie which explore the role of sexuality in cinema. In Sauve qui peut pornography and cinema are brought together again, via a narrative which concerns the inter-relations between Denise, her lover Paul and Isabelle, a prostitute. It is primarily through the stunning use of stop-motion photography that Godard investigates the desires and ordeals of these three characters.

Contemporary French cinema

An introduction

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