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‘Where is the father?’

Masculinity and authorship

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Diana Holmes and Robert Ingram

This chapter argues for a fundamental ambiguity in François Truffaut's representation of gender relations. Truffaut's Cinema is frequently concerned with the role of the father, both in the literal sense of the male parent and in the wider figurative sense of the older male figure. The father also plays a role in the construction of identity, representing, in a culture where the public domain is gendered masculine, the intervention of society's laws and codes into the mother/child duo. Some of Truffaut's films are also concerned to reimagine paternity in a positive way. The 1971 film Les Deux Anglaises et le continent is also concerned obliquely with the absence of fathers. This film develops the theme of paternal absence, L'Histoire d'Adèle H. that of the father's oppressive power.

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Steve Chibnall

Based closely on his own successful stage play, Lee Thompson's Murder Without Crime is a confident but largely unadventurous first step in film making. Lee Thompson clearly signposts Murder Without Crime as a tall story, a macabre entertainment with enough Grand Guignol to grip the spectators in the stalls and enough ironic self-awareness to please the more intellectual patrons in the circle. Lee Thompson's debut box (or ottoman) of tricks went out on the ABC circuit as a double bill with an American film about a GI finding romance in Europe, Four Days Leave. Although the cutting room remained sacrosanct, directors of Lee Thompson's generation had more influence over the final cut of a picture than their predecessors. The Yellow Balloon may be frustratingly limited in its social critique, but as a piece of film making it was rightly praised for its performances and technical proficiency.

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Edited by: E.A. Jones

This section provides a survey of the wide variety of forms that the hermit life could take, and the kinds of tasks with which hermits might occupy themselves. The majority were involved in public works of some kind, including the making and maintenance of roads, bridges, chapels, lighthouses. The chapter also details the sources of support for their way of life: although endowed hermitages and other forms of long-term support were not unknown, most hermits relied on indulgences, tolls, casual alms and begging. Glimpses of hermits’ piety include evidence for pilgrimage and a hermit’s meditation.

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Edited by: E.A. Jones

In the first half of the period covered by this book, hermits were often criticised for the unstructured nature of their life. In the late Middle Ages, mechanisms were developed for the regulation of the vocation. The section includes evidence of procedures for the approval of would-be hermits, and liturgy and documentation around their profession and registration. It also includes examples and excerpts from late medieval hermits’ rules that shed some light on their expected way of life.

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Phil Powrie

As he had done after La Lune dans le caniveau, Jean-Jacques Beineix had gone on a three-month cruise in his yacht after the release of 37°2 le matin, visiting Stromboli before going on to the Peleponnese islands. Given the polemics to which Beineix's previous films had given rise, reviewers' reactions to Roselyne et les lions were in the main surprisingly positive, if somewhat muted. The general feeling was that the film was slow and simple, and the finale excessive. Reviewers, indeed, and even more so interviewers, made much of the apparent parallels between Roselyne et les lions and Luc Besson's Le Grand Bleu, seeing these films, along with Annaud's L'Ours, as part of a trend: films which focused on animals as much, if not more, in the case of Annaud's film, than humans.

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Edited by: E.A. Jones

Solitaries inhabited the margins of the medieval religious establishment, and this was a source both of cultural power and prestige, and of vulnerability. The section includes individuals of evident charisma and popular appeal, some of whom received official approval and encouragement, while others were denounced as heretics; some exploited their popularity for gain, and some for criminality.

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Steve Chibnall

This chapter discusses J. Lee Thompson's return to Britain and Europe after establishing himself as a Hollywood director. The films discussed after his return are: Return From the Ashes, Eye of the Devil, Before Winter Comes, The Most Dangerous Man in the World, Country Dance, and The Passage. As if sensing that he needed to purge himself of Hollywood indulgence, Lee Thompson returned to his Elstree roots to make a taut black-and-white thriller, steeped in irony and nihilism: Return From the Ashes, based on Hubert Monteilhet's novel Phoenix From the Ashes. Before Winter Comes was set in occupied Austria at the end of the Second World War, and the location is a displaced persons' camp on the border between the British and Russian zones. The Most Dangerous Man in the World, made an ambiguous reference to both Chairman Mao, and was shot in Hong Kong as well as in Wales.

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Steve Chibnall

According to Raymond Williams, the most powerful physical image created in the period of major naturalistic drama is the living room as a trap. Yield to the Night was a watershed film for J. Lee Thompson. It marked a moment of revelation which would profoundly influence his career trajectory. The trauma of leaving his family and the excitement of his new relationship did indeed seem to intensify Lee Thompson's desire for independence and experiment in his professional life. The nervous energy released is evident in Woman in a Dressing Gown's restless camerawork, insistent directorial style and, most of all, in the high-octane performance which he encouraged from Dressing Gown's star Yvonne Mitchell. However, Melanie Williams pointed out that, in the way it echoes the claustrophobic perspectives of Yield to the Night, Dressing Gown's mise-en-scène implies the idea of housewife as domestic prisoner.

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Fergus Daly and Garin Dowd

The title of Leos Carax's Pola X was an acronym of the title in French of Herman Melville's novel of 1852, Pierre, or The Ambiguities, that is, Pierre, ou les ambiguïtés. As for the X, it could be the marker to represent the family name which the character Isabel/Isabelle is denied she being the possible secret progeny of an extra-marital relationship; in this way it could stand for the family secret, therefore an element so central to the naturalist tradition in late nineteenth-century fiction. A combination of three texts of Gilles Deleuze yield a unique insight into naturalism in cinema and help to gain an understanding of Carax's concerns in Pola X. In Pola X, the quest for total fusion is complexified and the world on-screen rendered all the more catastrophic by means of its incestuous aspect.

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Diana Holmes and Robert Ingram