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This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the key concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book develops a theoretical framework through which mock-documentary can be analysed, and in particular through which it can be distinguished from other fact-fiction screen forms such as drama-documentary, Reality TV and docu-soap. It describes and identifies the range of mock-documentary texts and in the process to illuminate the differing relationships such texts build between texts, audiences and the discourse of factuality. The book provides an initial schema to begin the process of identifying and analysing the ways in which mock-documentary relates to, and critically comments upon, the documentary form. It examines the intentions of the filmmakers, the specific textual strategies which they adopt and the roles constructed for the audience in order to understand fully the distinctiveness of the mock-documentary form.

in Faking it
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Continuing negotiations

This chapter constitutes a set of serial negotiations between shared contexts (discourses of auteurism, gender, genre and the political) and focuses on the individual specificities of the respective oeuvres of Dominique Cabrera, Noémie Lvovsky, Laetitia Masson and Marion Vernoux. The auteurist approach, which has long enjoyed a privileged position in Film Studies generally, and in the history of French cinema in particular, asserts the director, as auteur, as the 'unifying principle in the production, interpretation and reception of an artwork'. The evocation of patterns based on repetition, recognition and innovation immediately recalls the function of cinematic genre and its central role in configurations both of the auteur and of gendered cultural production and reception. The conventional distinction between auteur and genre-led production is embedded in the projected opposition between popular cinema and auteur cinema.

in Negotiating the auteur
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Intimate constructions of a ‘bonheur collectif’

This chapter begins with a discussion of Dominique Cabrera's first short film L'Air d'aimer, made in 1985. The central cumulative elements of Cabrera's documentary film making reach a self-reflexive peak in her autobiographical film made in 1997. Demain et encore demain continues a search for a notion of collective happiness, interrogates the links between the personal and the political and explores further the ethics of the documentary process through the adoption of the first-person form. Documentary aesthetics and a continuing interest in the relationship between place and identity inform Cabrera's first feature-length fiction film L'Autre côté de la mer. A series of films that she made on the impact of changes to the physical urban environment provide further evidence of the centrality in all her work of an insistence upon the recognition of the social as personal to all and the importance of a projected bonheur collectif or collective happiness.

in Negotiating the auteur
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Rupture and transmission

This chapter suggests that although Noémie Lvovsky's films seem to develop from early social engagement to a focus on mainstream comedy these later films should, nonetheless, be read in relation to wider socio-political discourses. The main characteristics of Lvovsky's first feature film are clearly anticipated in her short Dis-moi oui, dis-moi non, which formed part of her FEMIS graduation work and was released, to critical success, in 1989. Lvovsky's first feature film, Oublie-moi returns to these central preoccupations, in which the paralysing fear of decision articulated in Dis-moi oui, dis-moi non through the static camera, long takes and close framing continues. The box office success of Les Sentiments triggered a marked change in Lvovsky's profile that can be linked to the film's clear generic framework (dramatic comedy), an (over)familiar narrative and stellar ensemble cast.

in Negotiating the auteur
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in Negotiating the auteur
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Suspect identities

Having established its presence through a series of critically acclaimed short films, Laetitia Masson's work has been characterised by the complexity of its narratives and characters and the provision of outstanding roles for Sandrine Kiberlain in En avoir (ou pas) , A vendre and Love Me. Je suis venue te dire offers an autofictional twist as a close-up of Kiberlain reading is accompanied by the voiceover recounting the couple's shared dream of finding someone who could incarnate the characters of their stories and mentions 'the giraffe', an image that Alice uses to describe herself in En avoir (ou pas) . This tentative construction of links between interdiegetic and extra-textual identities is pursued in Masson's next film through its extended engagement with star identity as a mode that entails the blurring of such categories.

in Negotiating the auteur
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Encountering difference

Marion Vernoux's family background triggered a fascination with performance and mise en scène that was not dependent initially on the medium of film. The performative nature of identity and desire and a decisively pernicious mismatch between fantasy and reality are expanded in Vernoux's film which provides a re-examination of a classic trope of romantic discourse, that of the couple who overcome socio-cultural barriers or taboos to be together. Rien à faire centres on a couple from different socio-economic backgrounds who meet and embark on an affair as an indirect consequence of their shared joblessness. From the emphatic sisterhood of the end of Personne ne m'aime to the hesitant neighbourliness and class solidarity of the closing scene of Rien à faire, these films use popular genre to explore the precariousness of relationships between the individual and the collective, between self and other.

in Negotiating the auteur

This chapter explores who Agnès Varda is and what justifies her inclusion in a series of major French film-makers. It discusses the key concepts presented in the book. Varda's filmography is both long and varied, and, unusually, her career has alternated between fiction and documentary, with some films hovering somewhere between the two. Among the most significant of these are L'Opera-Mouffe (1958), Reponse de femmes (1976) and Ulysse (1982). In 1994, Varda published a book about her life and work, Varda par Agnès, in conjunction with Cahiers du Cinéma. As complicated and personal in structure as her films, the book reflects Varda's continuing interest in the written word as well as the image, and is indispensable to a study of her work. It was while presenting the second of the commissioned works, Du cote de la cote, at a festival in Tours that she met Jacques Demy.

in Agnès Varda

Still image and moving image often meet in Agnès Varda's films. This chapter presents a consideration of how this woman from a non-cinematic background approaches the craft of film-making generally. It explores how her literary interests, her artistic and photographic experience affect her concept of the film, and what does the act of film-making imply for Varda. Varda constructs a film, she says, as a writer constructs a text, and she has coined the term 'cinécriture' (ciné-writing) to describe her work. If we take Varda's definition of 'cinecriture' seriously, it means that her films will repay the closest reading possible, because the film-maker herself is aware of the implications of everything she does. The chapter also discusses Varda's approach to film-form, presenting a detailed analysis of the importance of the construction and significance of single images and their relationship to the movement of the film.

in Agnès Varda
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in Agnès Varda