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in Bertrand Tavernier
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in Jean Cocteau
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in Luc Besson
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in Coline Serreau
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in Alain Robbe-Grillet

At the elaborate summit of the concept of jeu, 'playing', 'play', it seems inevitable that we will find ourselves dealing with the theatre. It is the theatre which, hardly by chance, has been a controversial partner and rival of cinema since the newer art began. Rivette's 'theatre films' may be seen as attempts to explore and genuinely subvert this (inescapable) founding geography of cinema, and its concomitant distribution of roles to all persons present, in the process opening the separate, ritual world of performance to a dynamic and uncertain interaction with what is outside it. Thus these theatre troupes conflate actors, audience and all other persons present during the performance event into a general notion of self-aware participants in a process of creation, reflecting in this again the preoccupations of the experimental theatre in the mid-twentieth century.

in Jacques Rivette
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L’Homme qui ment, L’Eden et après, N. a pris les dés, Le Jeu avec le feu, Un bruit qui rend fou

Indeed, there is a self-conscious playfulness in the ways in which Robbe-Grillet's novels and films return obsessively to the same themes and motifs. This intertextuality is a theme, informing many important aspects of the filmic uvre, and forming part of a ludic tendency shared by other exponents of the new novel. Robbe-Grillet is conscious of this wider tendency among other authors of his generation, and in a sense pays homage to it in his own work. The structures that Robbe-Grillet draws from expressionistic and pop art and from contemporary music may be considered as expressions of a playful approach to art. The ludicity of Robbe-Grillet's work does not stop at the narcissistic self-mirroring of a personal or interpersonal intertextuality, but extends to the experimental use of game structures within the filmic work, and to their employment outside it as an approach to the making of the films themselves.

in Alain Robbe-Grillet
‘Frigidity’ and feminism

It was in 1965 that Roman Polanski would cast Catherine Deneuve in Repulsion, described by one critic as a 'one-woman show', in a role that would effectively create a persona which would resonate throughout her future film career. The British-made Repulsion was Polanski's first English-language film and his second feature. This chapter contends that Repulsion can be read against the grain to offer a surprisingly sympathetic account of what happens to a young woman of the sexual revolution generation who rejects the imperative of heterosexual activity. It assesses and critiques the reception of Polanski's film Repulsion with regard to its portrayal of female subjectivity, arguing that Deneuve's presence in the film works to disrupt rather than to confirm straightforward stereotypes and codes of femininity. The chapter discusses the significance of this film for the development of Catherine Deneuve's screen persona.

in From perversion to purity

This book provides a chronological study of popular cinema in Brazil since the introduction of sound at the beginning of the 1930s. It begins the study with a brief discussion of how people understand the term 'popular cinema', particularly within a Latin American context. The focus is on films that have intentionally engaged with 'low-brow' cultural products, whose origins lie in pre-industrial traditions, and which have been enjoyed by wide sectors of the population, chiefly at the lower end of the social hierarchy. Perhaps the most important contribution of the chanchada of the 1950s was to render visible a social class within Brazil's socio-cultural landscape, and to champion the underdog, who succeeds in triumphing, through malandragem, over more powerful opponents. Brazilian popular cinema, at least until the 1980s, can be seen as a direct descendant of other shared cultural experiences. Popular film in Brazil is littered with examples of carnivalesque inversions of societal norms and established hierarchies. The 1930s witnessed the rise of the radio, the record industry and the talking cinema. The first half of the 1940s witnessed a continuation of Getúlio Vargas's quest for economic expansion based on the creation of a dignified workforce, rewarded for its efforts by improvements in the welfare system. The book also looks at three very popular cinematic sub-genres which provided a continuation of the chanchada tradition in Brazilian filmmaking: the films of Amacio Mazzaropi; those of the comedic quartet known as the Trapalhoes; and the so-called pornochanchada series of films.

Bertrand Tavernier's oeuvre contains a self-reflecting dimension, and many of his characters are artists. This chapter discusses on Tavernier's portraits of professional artists, focusing on Des enfants gâtés, Un dimanche à la campagne, and Autour de minuit. In these films, all the artists portrayed are fictional, although most took inspiration from real historical models. Tavernier's portraits of the artist also function as self-portraits. Des enfants gâtés gives us a middle-aged scriptwriter who rents an apartment away from his family in order to complete a screenplay. He is soon caught up in a renters' dispute. Un dimanche à la campagne portrays an elderly painter provoked by a Sunday visit from his children and grandchildren to reflect upon the artistic compromises he has made. In Autour de minuit, an aging African-American bebop saxophonist, making a comeback in 1959 Paris, is rescued from self-destruction by a French fan, himself a graphic artist.

in Bertrand Tavernier