Will Higbee
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Interfacing with Hollywood
in Mathieu Kassovitz
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The release of Assassins in France in 1997 was to prove a defining moment in Mathieu Kassovitz's directorial career. The film's intensely polemical stance, its more experimental approach, combined with a wholly negative worldview and graphic depiction of violence, effected, for the first time, a conscious distancing by Kassovitz from his popular audience. The degree of negative and often highly personal criticism directed at Assassins, following on from the tense and pressured conditions under which the film had been completed in time for the Cannes festival, led Kassovitz to the verge of depression and nervous exhaustion. The version of Les Rivières pourpres adapted for the screen by Kassovitz and Grangé focuses squarely on the parallel investigations of two police detectives. The policier has, moreover, always formed the natural point of interface between French and American cinema.

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