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Jules et Jim

Anatomy of a film

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Diana Holmes and Robert Ingram

Jules et Jim, François Truffaut's third full-length film, is generally agreed to be one of his greatest. This chapter traces the film's genesis from little-known literary source to film classic by 'reading' the film in terms of narrative structure, and signifying techniques and themes. It demonstrates more closely the specificity of Truffaut's method and style, and outlines the film in the chronological survey of his career. Like Les 400 Coups and many subsequent Truffaut films, Jules et Jim is also about the significance and the joy of telling stories. The film ends on a stark reminder of the material reality of death and the fragility of life; though what remains with the spectator is also the film's exhilarating creativity, celebrated in the closing, orchestral rendition of Le Tourbillon de la vie.

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Phil Powrie

One of the key features of Jean-Jacques Beineix's relationship with the film image is the notion of seduction and the erotic. This book shows Beineix's films form a coherent body of work and sketches out a psychodrama formed by Beineix's feature films. It explains, the cinéma du look was placed by many, including Beineix himself, in a position of confrontation with the cinema of the nouvelle vague. The book considers the early 1980s debates concerning the film image which led to the view espoused by Jean-Michel Frodon, after a brief account of Beineix's apprenticeship years. It attempts to place Beineix's work within the context of the development of French cinema, and discourses on the French cinema, as they evolved during the 1980s. Beineix's first feature film, Diva, enjoyed considerable success, becoming something of a cult film for the youth audience of the time, as well as launching the careers of Richard Bohringer and Dominique Pinon. More than any of the films of the cinéma du look, La Lune dans le caniveau exemplifies the characteristics Bassan enumerates: a mise en scène, which privileges exuberance, light, movement, especially the curves and curls of the camera, and an emphasis on sensation. Bereavement after IP5 turned Beineix away from feature filmmaking, despite several propositions from American producers, Alien Resurrection and The Avengers among them.

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Steve Chibnall

Since his first directorial commission at Welwyn Studios in 1950, Lee Thompson has directed forty-five pictures for theatrical release, covering almost every genre of the cinema. His remarkable ability to adapt his style to suit the material has made him perhaps the most versatile director ever produced by Britain. This book intends to plot the trajectory of a unique film-maker through the typical constraints and opportunities offered by British cinema as a dominant studio system gave way to independent production in the two decades after the Second World War. Thompson was born in Bristol just before the First World War. By the time Thompson left school his ambition was to be an actor, and he joined Nottingham Repertory, making his debut in Young Woodley in 1931. Thompson's opportunity to direct a play came when he received an offer from Hollywood for the film rights to his play Murder Without Crime. His 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 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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Steve Chibnall

This chapter discusses J. Lee Thompson's career Hollywood with a focus on Cape Fear, which was an adaptation of John D. MacDonald's book The Executioners. The film set Lee Thompson's career in a whole new direction. In many ways, Cape Fear would distil the essence of Lee Thompson's cinema, and may therefore be regarded as the culmination of his British filmmaking trajectory. Although Max Cady is described in MacDonald's novel and in the film as 'an animal', Robert Mitchum plays him as the shrewdest and most intelligent of predators, able to control his simmering anger, match his tactics to the occasion and release his power to maximum effect. Lee Thompson accepted United Artist's invitation to take a production unit to Argentina to make Taras Bulba with a budget of $7 million and a cast which included 10,000 gauchos and their horses. He also completed two lavish comedies for Twentieth Century-Fox.

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Phil Powrie

In 1991, Jacques Forgeas, who had collaborated with Jean-Jacques Beineix for Roselyne et les lions, gave the script of IP5 to Beineix, who worked on it for a couple of months. There were familiar names on the team: Robin for the photography, Yared for the music and Monnet, who played Frazier in Roselyne et les lions, as the village butcher. IP5 is the first film where Beineix had free rein with the narrative. As he has frequently pointed out, with his first three films he was in a sense merely illustrating a story, and even in the fourth he was using someone else's story, Le Portier's biography. In IP5, he was using Forgeas's original script, but the film is framed by two very personal statements penned by Beineix himself. Some reviewers suggested that IP5 was a film riding on the back of the ecological movement.

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Elizabeth Ezra

Georges Méliès is universally acknowledged to be an early film Pioneer. However, his work has often been dismissed as simplistic, both narratively and technically. For a long time, Méliès's work was cited as the foremost example of 'primitive mode of representation'; films made before around 1906 were characterized by four traits. These are 'autarky and unicity of each frame', or framing that is self-contained and unchanged throughout the scene; 'the noncentered quality of the image', or the use of the edges of the frame as well as the centre; 'consistent medium long-shot camera distance'; and the 'nonclosure' of the narrative. This introduction presents the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book's primary aim is to give an idea of the complexity and the modernity of his work. It also aims to dispel a number of myths about Méliès's contribution to film history.

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Steve Chibnall

There really is a great deal to say about British films and specifically about British films in the 1950s. This is especially true of those made by J. Lee Thompson. He is not a name with household status. Since his first directorial commission at Welwyn Studios in 1950, Lee Thompson has directed forty-five pictures for theatrical release, covering almost every genre of the cinema. His remarkable ability to adapt his style to suit the material has made him perhaps the most versatile director ever produced by Britain. This introduction presents the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book intends to plot the trajectory of a unique film-maker through the typical constraints and opportunities offered by British cinema as a dominant studio system gave way to independent production in the two decades after the Second World War.

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Phil Powrie

This introduction presents an overview of key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book explains how the cinéma du look was placed by many, including Jean-Jacques Beineix himself, in a position of confrontation with the cinema of the nouvelle vague. It considers the early 1980s debates concerning the film image which led to the view espoused by Jean-Michel Frodon, after a brief account of Beineix's apprenticeship years. The book attempts to place Beineix's work within the context of the development of French cinema and discourses on the French cinema, as they evolved during the 1980s. It also considers ways in which one can see Beineix's films as a kind of psychodrama. Beineix's first feature film, Diva, enjoyed considerable success, becoming something of a cult film for the youth audience of the time, as well as launching the careers of Richard Bohringer and Dominique Pinon.

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Introduction

Genesis of Carax’s system

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Fergus Daly and Garin Dowd

This introductory chapter on Leos Carax first deals with the early years of the French film director and writer and his auteurism. Carax's early career was in two complementary ways conducted under the scrutiny of the French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma. The Carax of the short films is already amassing the elements designed to authenticate his claims to auteurism: common band of artists and technicians; thematic consistency and credible intertextual references. From a set of basic conceptual operators, his film worlds are built up stage by stage. For filmmakers, the pressing problems were to do with dealing with the ambient 'crisis of representation'. Herman Melville is a resource for Carax and other like-minded filmmakers. Due to his baroque tendencies, Carax is often described by his supporters as a visionary. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of the book.

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Edited by: E.A. Jones

The introduction places the sources that follow in the rest of the book in a broader historical context, including a sketch of the history of the solitary lives in the West from biblical times to the Reformation, and the development of hermits, anchorites, and monks, as distinct categories of vowed religious. Focusing on late medieval England, it considers the solitary lives alongside other ‘semi-religious’ vocations, the popularity of the vocations across the period, including questions of the class and gender of hermits and anchorites, and developments within the vocations between 1200 and the end of the Middle Ages.