–59). Despite the strong voice
that comes through in his film-making, Cantet clearly has his place
within this broader picture.
The melodramatic turn in his films and those of his contemporaries is tempered but not negated by the drive to social realism. Realism
and melodrama cannot be opposed as two mutually exclusive modes
but can exist, as Peter Brooks shows when discussing canonical realist novelists like HonorédeBalzac or Henry James, in complex and
productive tension (Brooks, 1976: 14–23). The same tension can of
course be found in Italian neo-realism where André
Economy, vol. 1, trans. Ben Fowkes
(New York: Random House, 1977), 126, n. 5.
48 Người Thứ Tám, Bóng Ma Trên Công Trường Đỏ, 39.
49 Thế Lử, Đòn hẹn [The Treacherous Appointment] (Ho Chi Minh City: Nhà
Xuất Bản Văn Nghệ, 2000), 34.
50 Quoted in Pierre A. Huard and Maurice Durand, Connaissance du Việtnam
(I) (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale và Hà Nội, École Française d’ExtrêmeOrient, 1954), 235–6.
51 HonorédeBalzac, Œuvres complètes (Complete Works), vol. 20 (Paris:
Michel Lévy Frères, 1869), 478.
52 Ibid., 461–2.
53 Ibid., 463.
54 On premodern forms of
Iain Banks: improbable possibilities 153
in his book S/Z (1990, first published in French 1973), where he
meticulously analyses HonorédeBalzac’s short story ‘Sarrasine’.
Balzac’s narrative of a sculptor’s romantic obsession with someone
he believes to be a woman but who turns out to be a castrato
offers suggestive parallels to The Wasp Factory both in that it has a
denouement involving mistaken sexual identity and that it shares
many structural features with Banks’s novel. In fact The Wasp
Factory is in some ways a reversal of
The context of exile:
Quitter la France est, pour un français, une situation funèbre.
(HonorédeBalzac, Le Cousin Pons)1
An independent-minded people, with a strong cultural awareness and
attachment to region, if not always to nation, the French have generally
made unhappy exiles. It has been their misfortune that the many crises
punctuating French history have compelled them to take refuge
abroad, especially in Britain, a land that is so ‘alike’ France yet so
‘different’.2 In the
Griffith’s conflation of E. A. Poe’s ‘The Cask of
Amontillado’ (1846) and HonorédeBalzac’s ‘La
Grande Bretêche’ (1831) (perhaps influenced by André
Calmette’s own cinematic adaptation of Balzac’s story of a
walled-up lover made in the same year), is the most uncompromising of
early revenge films. Griffith has made the French court all low,
obeisant bows, be-ribboned staffs and symbols of mortal
‘symbolizes the symbolic: It
seems to consist at once in a consumption (ingestion) and a purely
sumptuary expenditure of which nothing natural remains’ ( 1992 : 112). With reference to Derrida’s
movement from a discussion of HonorédeBalzac’s treatise
on prostitution to a consideration of tobacco, Tillotson highlights
how Derrida’s elision of women – his marginalisation of
or spirit rather than with its formal and narrative
specificity. Visconti’s vision of the Recherche on film refashioned the novel
as a vast portrait extending outward from Proust’s narrator toward the
social milieu surrounding him. Even those who lauded this vision recognized
it as closer to the panoramic vision HonorédeBalzac had sketched a century
earlier in La Comédie humaine.
Visconti’s efforts resulted in a phantom film whose presence extended to
other Visconti films, of which Death in Venice (1971) was perhaps the most
notable.17 Visconti’s lifelong
detail in Chapter 1.
15 See in particular Nicholas Papayanis, Paris before Haussmann (Baltimore, MD and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004) and David H. Pinkney, Decisive Years in France 1840–1847 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986). See also Hahn, Scenes of Parisian Modernity.
16 HonorédeBalzac, Ferragus , in Histoire des treize (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1988), p. 79.
17 Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, Paris as Revolution: Writing the Nineteenth-Century City (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994), p. 35
wheels. Red spots here and there must have been blood stains.) Here Flaubert draws on the existing repertoire of images that were ingrained in the cultural imagination. Gustave Flaubert, L’éducation sentimentale (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1942), p. 169.
29 HonorédeBalzac, Correspondance (1832), R. Pierrot (ed.), vol. 1 (Paris: Garnier, 1960–66), p. 380.
30 Papayanis, Horse-Drawn Cabs, p. 64.
31 Félix Nogaret, Réflexions d’un patriarche sur les voitures dites omnibus ! (Paris: Leclerc, 1828).
32 Nogaret’s slim volume was well known and
blockbuster More (1969), Schroeder’s own
exploration of drugged-out hippydom, Les Films du Losange reached cruising
speed by the turn of the decade. This allowed the company to supply seed
money for Rivette’s twelve-and-a-half-hour Out 1: Noli me
tangere (1970), in which Rohmer plays a HonorédeBalzac specialist
(he had already cameoed as a linguistics professor in Luc Moullet’s
Brigitte et Brigitte of 1965), and to co