This book introduces readers to the cinema of Louis Malle. Malle needs little further preliminary discussion here. His is a body of work that most film critics around the world recognise as being one of the most productive in post-war international cinema, including as it does triumphs such as Ascenseur pour l'échafaud; Le Feu follet; Lacombe Lucien; Atlantic City USA, and Au revoir les enfants . Malle's work attracted intense public controversy, with a new Malle film being just as likely to find itself debated on the front page of Le Monde or Libération as reviewed in the film section of those newspapers. Malle's four major films of the 1970s represent a fusion of the youthful bravado and confidence of the 1950s combined with the new political questioning adopted in the late 1960s. Le Souffle au cœur, Lacombe Lucien, Black Moon, and Pretty Baby were made in relatively quick succession and each engaged in controversial and divisive themes. The book analyses Malle's political journey from the cultural right-wing to the libertarian left, to explain how Le Souffle au cœur marked a radical break with the 1950s by speaking of that era through a comic mode. It explores how Lacombe Lucien works as a film, to discuss its core rhetorical devices and what they mean today. The book also demonstrates that Malle is too complex to be explained by one theory or interpretation, however tempting its conclusions.
Coline Serreau is one of the most famous female French directors alive, not only in France but also abroad. This book is devoted not only to some relevant biographical aspects of Serreau's personal and artistic life, but also to the social, historical and political context of her debut. It deals with the 1970s' flavour of Serreau's work and more especially with the importance of politics. Taking intertextuality in its broadest sense, it assesses the strong literary influence on the tone, genre and content of Serreau's films and dramas. The book is concerned with the cinematographic genres Serreau uses. It provides a description and an analysis of Serreau's comedies, within the wider perspective of French comedies. The book also deals with the element of 'family' or community which is recurrent in Serreau's films and plays. During the 1980s, Serreau's career moved towards fiction, and she worked both for the cinema and the theatre. Serreau often underlines her family's lack of financial resources. The book considers the specificity of French cinema in the 1970s before analysing in more detail Serreau's first film. Serreau's work on stage and on big or small screens was strongly influenced by the political mood which succeeded May '68 in France. The book also discusses the idea of utopia which was the original theme of Serreau' first documentary and which is central to her first fiction film, Pourquoi pas!. Female humour and laughter cannot be considered without another powerful element: the motivation of often transgressive laughter.
More English than the Brits' proclaims one of the chapter headings in Michel Ciment's seminal series of interviews with Joseph Losey. Losey's life embraces a major crisis in political commitment and public tolerance (the blacklist); his career, his oeuvre, spans the most fundamental cultural confrontation of the century, between Marxism and Modernism, between progressive "realism" and the avant-garde subversion of optimism. Losey began his directorial career in the leftist political theatre of the 1930s. For Losey, as for many leftists of the period, Communism meant allegiance to the Soviet ideological model, and by extension, to Stalin's policies. The 1950s proved to be a difficult decade for Joseph Losey, a period marked by prolonged exile, the ever-lengthening reach of the blacklist and the constant fear of betrayal. The Sleeping Tiger, The Intimate Stranger and A Man on the Beach were made during his period of exile in the 1950s. There was an experimental, writer-oriented focus in Joseph Losey's later work, opening the way for collaborations on a more equal footing. Losey collaborated three films with Harold Pinter: The Servant, Accident and The Go-Between. His involvement in Secret Ceremony, Boom! and Figures in a Landscape was a case of blatant economic necessity. Most of his work directly explores and addresses the ideological interpellation of women by analysing the cultural assumptions that both construct and perpetuate it. Losey officially became a tax exile after relocating himself from Chelsea to Paris because of tax problems.
The importance of environment in Barry Hines's writing means that insight into his background and the journey to his writing career introduces people to the recurrent preoccupations of his work. Much of the literary reception of Hines's work places him within a canon of working-class writing. This book is the first academic account of Barry Hines's work. It traces the roots of Barry Hines's literary mode of poetic realism in those works of the 1960s that preceded A Kestrel for a Knave. The literary promise Hines showed in The Blinder led to the filming of his novel A Kestrel for a Knave as Kes. The book focuses on a period of extremely fruitful aesthetic production for Hines. It also traces the aesthetic and political effects of the early years of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government on Hines's writing. The archival history of Threads' drafts and production reveals the nature of its symbolic and factual relation to British politics in this era and how its mingling of documentary and dramatic tropes took shape. Looks and Smiles marked the end of Barry Hines's career-defining collaboration with Ken Loach. The exceptionally divisive events of the miners' strike of 1984-1985 had an acute effect on Hines's writing, just as they did on the terrain and communities of the South Yorkshire that he invariably depicts. The book explores the interconnected issues of class, space and place in Hines's writing, and the practice and purpose of working-class film, television and literature.
Few screen icons have provoked as much commentary, speculation and adulation as the 'she' of this plaudit, Catherine Deneuve. This book begins with a brief overview of Deneuve's career, followed by a critical survey of the field of theoretical star studies, highlighting its potential and limitations for European, and particularly French, film scholarship. It argues the need for the single-star case study as a model for understanding the multiple signifying elements of transnational stardom. Her first role, at the age of 13, was a brief appearance as a schoolgirl in André Hunebelle's Collégiennes/The Twilight Girls. 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 darker shades of the Deneuve persona are in even greater evidence in Tristana. Demy's Donkey Skin is arguably an equal source of the tale's iconic status in France today, and largely because of Deneuve. The book also investigates films of the 1970s; their role in shaping her star persona and the ways in which they position Deneuve in relation to French political culture. The book considers exactly why directors gravitate towards Deneuve when trying to evoke or represent forms of female homosexual activity on film, and to consider exactly what such directors actually make Deneuve do and mean once they have her performing these particular forms of lesbian relation.
Cinema's engagement with 1968 was perhaps most in evidence in the auteur
sector of the French industry. This book presents a study that aims to consider
the ways in which the shake-up in French perceptions transferred itself to
French cinema screens during the following decade. The emphasis is in the
changes which occurred during the 1970s in the French output of films which
could be seen by an average metropolitan cinema-goer without making such special
efforts as joining a cine-club or seeking out films shown in community centres
or to special interest groups. The most frequently noticed effect of the new
post-1968 climate on the French cinema was a change in the nature of the
thriller. The book focuses on three 1970s political thriller: série-Z,
Yves Boisset's L'Attentat, and René Gainville's Le
Complot. It looks at some films of the early 1970s which retain a
consciously politico-social approach to their protagonists' problems, which
conform to the broad description of 'new naturalism' in terms of
narrative and protagonist. The 'New Naturalism' movement outlived its
connection to 1968, and in the course of its development launched some of the
most significant new film-makers to come to prominence in this decade, such as
Jacques Doillon, Jean Eustache or Claude Miller. It concentrates on the two very
different cinematic Utopias imagined by Claude Faraldo: Bof! and
Themroc. The book also considers two film-makers: William Klein and Alain
Tanner, whose work encapsulates many of the currents and issues.
Joss Whedon explores the televisual texts that have been worked on by Whedon,
from his earliest days as a writer on Roseanne to this involvement with
S.H.I.E.L.D. In doing so it engages in and challenges a range of important
questions about these works, but also about the broader recent history of
television in the USA and the UK, and the studies of it. The Part I looks at
three periods of Whedon’s career (up to the end of season 3 of his iconic Buffy
the Vampire Slayer; the years covering the full run of Angel; and the time
between the ending of Angel and the present day). Looking at changing modes of
production, distribution and viewing, this section offers Whedon in the context
of the recent history of television, as well as locating his contribution to
other media such as comic books, internet series and films. It also looks at his
involvement in liberal politics and assesses the politics of his shows. Part
II provides readings of each of his most important television shows through the
lens of his narrative choices. These range from the importance of the exposition
scene in Buffy to questions about the very possibility of serial narrative in
Firefly; the significance of narrative complexity in Angel and the empty slate
narrative of Dollhouse. Throughout, it uses textual analysis, historical
assessment, scholarly sources, as well as my own unique correspondence with
Whedon collaborator Jane Espenson, and the exceptional store of draft scripts
for the episodes that she wrote. A transcript of the correspondence is included
as an appendix.
Notes on the political thriller in contemporary Spanish cinema
Vicente J. Benet
Spanish cinema has often made use of
the generic conventions of political thriller films not only to
chronicle present events, but also to critically analyse the past. This
chapter presents several points for understanding how the political
thriller has played an important role in the collective processing, both
social and political, which occurred after the traumatic years of the
A generation ago, Spain was emerging from a nearly forty-year dictatorship. This book analyses the significant changes in the aesthetics, production and reception of Spanish cinema and genre from 1990 to the present. It brings together European and North American scholars to establish a critical dialogue on the topic of contemporary Spanish cinema and genre while providing multiple perspectives on the concepts of national cinemas and genre theory. The book addresses a particular production unit, the Barcelona-based Fantastic Factory as part of the increasingly important Filmax group of companies, with the explicit aim of making genre films that would have an appeal beyond the Spanish market. It explores the genrification of the Almodovar brand in the US media and cinematic imaginary as a point of departure to tackle how the concepts of genre, authorship and Spanish cinema itself acquire different meanings when transposed into a foreign film market. Melodrama and political thriller films have been a narrative and representational form tied to the imagining of the nation. The book also examines some of the aspects of Carícies that distinguish it from Pons's other entries in his Minimalist Trilogy. It looks briefly at the ways in which the letter acts as one of the central melodramatic gestures in Isabel Coixet's films. After an analysis of the Spanish musical from the 1990s until today, the book discusses Spanish immigration films and some Spanish-Cuban co-productions on tourism and transnational romance.
It’s possible that Losey was mindful of this creative
and economic rut, as well as his own advancing years and declining health
– he was now in his mid-sixties and severely debilitated from a
combination of alcohol and asthma – when in 1972 and again in 1978 he
conducted his own Proustian search for lost time, revisiting the site of his
youthful Marxism in two films that addressed his enduring political bogeys