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.
The great American film critic Manny Farber memorably declared space to be the most dramatic stylistic entity in the visual arts. He posited three primary types of space in fiction cinema: the field of the screen, the psychological space of the actor, and the area of experience and geography that the film covers. This book brings together five French directors who have established themselves as among the most exciting and significant working today: Bruno Dumont, Robert Guediguian, Laurent Cantet, Abdellatif Kechiche, and Claire Denis. It proposes that people think about cinematographic space in its many different forms simultaneously (screenspace, landscape, narrative space, soundscape, spectatorial space). Through a series of close and original readings of selected films, it posits a new 'space of the cinematic subject'. Dumont's attraction to real settings and locality suggests a commitment to realism. New forms and surfaces of spectatorship provoke new sensations and engender new kinds of perception, as well as new ways of understanding and feeling space. The book interrogates Guediguian's obsessive portrayal of one particular city, Marseilles. Entering into the spaces of work and non-work in Cantet's films, it asks what constitutes space and place within the contemporary field of social relations. The book also engages with cultural space as the site of social integration and metissage in the work of Kechiche, his dialogues with diasporic communities and highly contested urban locales. Denis's film work contains continually shifting points of passage between inside and outside, objective and subjective, in the restless flux.
nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth to denote a more ‘naturalist’,
sensual, physical and visual theatre than the theatre of the eighteenth
and early nineteenth centuries. It is in this period that filmed theatre
became particularly evident in the Frenchcinema (Film d’art): the staging of famous literary and classical works. Filmed theatre was in essence
a caricature of the theatre – exaggerated gestures, an immobile camera,
long takes, dull sets.
It is not difficult to understand in this context the revolution in
cinema marked by the films of Griffith
German occupation actually saw a flowering
of classical Frenchcinema.
Film during the Occupation
Naturally enough, 1940 saw French film
production reduced to an unprecedented low of thirty-nine films (Prédal
1972 : 115). Many film personnel were lost to the
industry. A few (such as composer Maurice Jaubert) were killed in action,
but most simply fled the country. Directors Jean Renoir, René Clair and
. Further, they raise in new and original ways
potent questions about relationality, namely how we relate to others
in shared settings, and, more broadly, how we perceive and represent
the otherness of the world and external space. What matters in these
Williams, Space and being in contemporary French cinema.indd 29
Space and being in contemporary Frenchcinemafilms is not what we think we know of the world (an epistemological
enquiry), but rather how we function within the world existentially,
ontologically and aesthetically. They therefore