The polar
in Contemporary French cinema
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The first French thrillers date from the silent era, with Louis Feuillade's popular Fantômas and Judex series. The French thriller, also known as the polar or film policier, has been cited as 'the principal means by which the French cinema's relationship to Hollywood has been articulated' breadth of the genre thus contributed to its popularity in the subsequent decade: a quarter of all French films made in 1981 were polars, and many of those were box-office successes. At the most commercial end of the market, two kinds of polar dominated in the 1970s and 1980s: the action-packed comedy-thriller and the stylised gangster format. In 1957 Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol, journalists on Cahiers du cinema, wrote Hitchcock, the first serious critical work on this seminal director to be published. Of the various film-makers who initiated la nouvelle vague, Chabrol is the one most closely associated with the polar.

Contemporary French cinema

An introduction

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