Le jeune cinéma and the new realism
in Contemporary French cinema
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One of the first French film critics to attempt a definition of the new genre, Claude-Marie Trémois, listed eight characteristics of le jeune cinéma: urgency, topicality, tight chronology, wandering characters/ cameras, improvisation, long sequences, open endings, and a non-judgemental presentation of the protagonists. But where art cinema is often characterised by stylisation and even formal experimentation, the films of le jeune cinéma are usually raw and naturalistic, with a documentary aesthetic that reflects their often bleak socio-political content. As a result, this new genre has also been termed 'new realism' or 'the return of the real'. One of the major popular and critical successes of the genre, La Vie rêvée des anges is a sustained although at times slightly schematic exploration of capitalism, social exclusion, gender politics and personal relationships. Laurent Cantet's Ressources humaines focuses on a factory occupation and on the issues of class identity and industrial relations.

Contemporary French cinema

An introduction

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