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Brian Mcfarlane

name, though the wartime thrillers no doubt have melodramatic elements. There were six intervening films, justifying the journalist who described him in early 1943 as the ‘Busiest British film director … Within the last six months he’s made five films, and now he’s busy on a sixth [ Escape to Danger ] . And they haven’t all been the same kind of movie as well.’ 1 Indeed they were not. In order of release, 2 they were: the comedy-drama of

in Lance Comfort
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Author: Douglas Morrey

Jean-Luc Godard enjoyed a comfortable and cultured upbringing, acquiring a literary sensibility that would inflect the whole of his career in the cinema. Godard began to study anthropology at the Sorbonne, but dropped out, and the subsequent decade of his life was spent drifting between various occupations. It is this period of Godard's life in particular that has given rise to speculation, rumour and apocryphal stories. Along with other critics at Cahiers du cinéma, including Truffaut, Rivette, Chabrol and Rohmer, Godard's writing on film in the 1950s played an important role in shaping the canon of great film directors that would influence the development of both French and anglophone film studies. A mixture of playfulness and reverent cinematic homage is to be found in the film language that Godard employs in A bout de souffle. The film became famous for its use of jump-cuts, and it may be difficult for today's viewers, familiar with the ultra-rapid editing of music videos and advertising, to appreciate how disruptive this technique appeared to contemporary spectators. Vivre sa vie, like Le Petit Soldat, appears, in places, to appropriate a kind of existentialist narrative form, only to move beyond it into something much stranger and more troubling. Jean-Luc Godard's Masculin féminin is about young people in Paris in the winter of 1965-1966. Godard in the 1970s is doubtless addressing issues such as the nature of capitalism, and the possibilities for revolt. France tour détour deux enfants is a fascinating glimpse of what television could be.

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Author: Gemma King

This is the first book dedicated to the career and films of Jacques Audiard. It argues that the work of this prominent French director both reinforces and undermines the traditional concept of the auteur.

The book traces Audiard’s career from his early screenwriting projects in the 1970s to his eight directed feature films. From a prison outside Paris to a war zone in Sri Lanka, from a marine park on the Côte d’Azur to the goldfields of the American Wild West, these films revolve around the movement of bodies. Fragile yet powerful, macho yet transgressive, each of these films portrays disabled, marginalised or otherwise non-normative bodies in constant states of crisis and transformation.

This book uses the motif of border-crossing – both physical and symbolic – to explore how Audiard’s films construct and transcend boundaries of many forms. Its chapters focus on his films’ representation of the physical body, French society and broader transnational contexts. Located somewhere between the arthouse and the B movie, the French and the transnational, the feminist and the patriarchal, the familiar and the new, this book reveals how Jacques Audiard’s characters and films reflect his own eternally shifting position, both within and beyond the imaginary of French cinema.

Dominique Cabrera, Noémie Lvovsky, Laetitia Masson and Marion Vernoux
Author: Julia Dobson

This book aims to provoke increased interest in the work of the four directors: Dominique Cabrera, Noémie Lvovsky, Laetitia Masson and Marion Vernoux, although some of their early works have become more difficult to access, most of their films remain commercially available through French distributors. The four directors are not new arrivals and began making films in the early 1990s, yet they have received scant critical attention in both popular and academic film criticism. They share similar profiles in terms of box office success, number of films made and generational affinities and, shorts and feature films in France. They make films that straddle boundaries of categorisation and therefore escape the quickly established and self-perpetuating groupings that serve as powerful frameworks for popular access via DVD distribution, critical canonisation and academic curricula. Whilst Cabrera attests her sanguine awareness of the discriminatory treatment of women in all areas of the film industry she rejects the suggestion that the process of her filmmaking is determined by sexual difference or a gendered creative identity, asserting provocatively. The book discusses Masson's use of romance and detective narratives to debunk the former and subvert the later. The career path of Lvovsky remains distinctive from that of other directors. Vernoux's oeuvre maintains a coherent focus on the modes of transgression present within the generic conventions of comedy and romance in films which exploit the common narrative device of the encounter to propel narratives and characters across social boundaries within a dominant generic focus on romantic comedy.

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Jean Cocteau, the first French writer to take cinema seriously, was as old and young as cinema itself; he made his first film in 1925 and completed his last film when he was 70. This book first deals with the issue of the type of film maker that Cocteau was: as a auteur, as a collaborator, as an experimenter, and as a theorist. It takes the pulse of Cocteau's cinema by examining in detail his ground-breaking first film Le Sang d'un poète', and argues that the film offers a vision of the potential of film for Cocteau. The book traces the evolution of realism and fantasy in Cocteau's work by introducing a main element, theatre, and assesses the full gamut of Cocteau's formal inclinations: from the legend and fantasy of L'Eternel retour to the spectacular fairytale of La Belle et la bête; from the 'film théâtral' of L'Aigle à deux têtes to the domestic melodrama Les Parents terribles which 'detheatricalises' his original play. In Le Testament d'Orphée, all the various formal tendencies of Cocteau's cinema come together but with the additional element of time conceived of as history, and the book re-evaluates the general claim of Cocteau's apparently missed encounter with history. The book considers whether the real homosexual element of Cocteau's cinema surfaces more at the most immediate level of sound and image by concentrating on the specifics of Cocteau's filmic style, in particular camera angle, framing and reverse-motion photography.

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Sam Rohdie

‘essential’ and ‘inessential’ images. Unlike most film directors, he doesn’t use some images as weak links in a narrative chain leading to strong ones, but only images which, in addition to serving a narrative function, also have independent value. There is a play in the title of Histoire(s) du cinéma between the one and the many, the singular and the plural, the cinema and the other arts, film and cinema, the history of the cinema and the stories (histoires) narrated in films. These ideas are restated in the titles of four of the eight sections of the film: 1A Toutes les

in Film modernism
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Brian Mcfarlane

, it did little to outweigh the critical neglect that was routinely the lot of the ‘B’ films among newspaper reviewers and the ‘quality’ journals. It is not hard to establish that Lance Comfort’s work has been neglected, nor, this study contends, to make a case for its reappraisal. Actually, the word ‘reappraisal’ is a misnomer since Comfort has never had serious appraisal, even when he was the ‘busiest film

in Lance Comfort
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Tom Ryall

critical standing was such that, ‘by the last days of the silent cinema he would be mentioned with Hitchcock as one of Britain’s two leading film directors’.20 Asquith was to make one more film for British Instructional, an adaptation of the Compton Mackenzie novel Carnival (1912), the story of a ballet dancer set in Edwardian times and featuring dance sequences performed by the Marie Rambert company. The film – Dance Pretty Lady (1931) – did not perform well at the box office though it impressed both John Grierson and Robert Flaherty.21 There were press reports of a

in Anthony Asquith
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Renaissance Man in search of a soul
Rowland Wymer

soul. (Derek Jarman, Kicking the Pricks ) Before he died in 1994 Derek Jarman had achieved distinction in an astonishing number of different activities – as a film director, painter, writer, set designer, gardener, and political activist. He was a true ‘Renaissance Man’ in the colloquial sense of the word, as well as having a strong and permanent interest in the art, thought, and

in Derek Jarman
David Murphy and Patrick Williams

Introduction At the time of his premature death in 1998, at the relatively young age of fifty-three, there was a consensus amongst many commentators that the Senegalese director Djibril Diop Mambety was the most gifted of all African film directors. If we examine the work of the first generation of sub-Saharan African filmmakers as a whole, his films certainly stand out for their rejection of the

in Postcolonial African cinema