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.
intervention in Uruguay in the 1960s and 1970s. In doing so, the Greek-French film director forces the audience to reflect on the use of torture as a means of getting crucial information from members of guerrilla groups to guarantee success in counter-insurgency operations, and to question the effectiveness of violence as a means of advancing a political cause. In order to understand the circumstances that surrounded Daniel Anthony Mitrione's kidnapping and assassination in 1970, and the recreation of these events in Costa-Gavras's film, it is useful to provide a
This introductory chapter on Leos Carax first deals with the early years of the French film director and writer and his auteurism. Carax's early career was in two complementary ways conducted under the scrutiny of the French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma. The Carax of the short films is already amassing the elements designed to authenticate his claims to auteurism: common band of artists and technicians; thematic consistency and credible intertextual references. From a set of basic conceptual operators, his film worlds are built up stage by stage. For filmmakers, the pressing problems were to do with dealing with the ambient 'crisis of representation'. Herman Melville is a resource for Carax and other like-minded filmmakers. Due to his baroque tendencies, Carax is often described by his supporters as a visionary. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of the book.
This chapter presents a profile of the French film director Maurice Pialat. Pialat's work inspires comparison with legendary figures such as Jean Renoir and Robert Bresson, yet he does not have the international reputation one might expect, given his gifts as a director and his importance in French cinema history. Pialat's death in 2003 inevitably situated him as a filmmaker of the 1980s, the decade in which his work began to receive serious critical attention and attracted a broader public. Yet by 1983, when A nos amours won the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc and the César for best film, he had been making films for over twenty years. Perhaps one of the most telling moments in Maurice Pialat's ongoing relationship with film and the French film-going public was the scandal at Cannes over the attribution of the Palme d'or in 1987. If the name Pialat is not without significance to the French filmgoing public, it is partly because he acquired the reputation of a singularly difficult and demanding director, who provoked and psychologically abused his actors and collaborators.
perhaps more than any other filmmaker working in the French space today, Jacques Audiard is both the ideal subject to complement a book series named French Film Directors, and the ideal one to challenge it. Audiard is at once an archetypal French film director and one who tests the definitions of each of these terms. He is of French nationality, but he operates in an increasingly transnational and
). Sixteenth-century literature may seem an unusual place to start an analysis of the work of a contemporary French film director, but the parallels that we can detect between the aesthetic choices and resulting discourses of the two artists are helpful when seeking to categorise the content and structure of their work. As Sue Vice points out: ‘Bahktin reveals that Rabelais has been misunderstood, his grotesque images misread as simple
Une Femme est une femme), or in the final sequences of 5x2 and Le Temps qui reste (2005), both of which take place at seaside resorts. Ozon may draw, then, from rich and varied sources of inspiration both within France and internationally, but the end product is a distinctly singular one. In many ways, Ozon stands as a solitary figure among his own generation of French film directors, constantly changing hue, difficult to
the more remarkable when one notes that in recent years several previously successful French film directors have been more or less obliged to abandon the cinema, including Léos Carax, Jean-Jacques Beineix and Bertrand Blier.) Chabrol’s forty-year career is in some ways a history of recent French cinema and society: neorealism, the new wave, the trauma of the Algerian War, the political legacy of 1968, the rise of the consumer society
French cultural life through, for example, his induction in 1980 (the first of a French film director) into the Académie des Beaux-Arts. His work is regularly shown in cinemas and on television in France, it is discussed in classes and at conferences, and it has generated much writing, both academic and popular. In short, Carné is a towering figure in French cinema. But there is another side to the Carné story. In keeping
. Beyond directing: influences, collaborations, engagements In order to understand Jacques Audiard’s work as a French film director, it is necessary to step back and consider his films within the context of his upbringing and career as a whole. Audiard was born in Paris in 1954 to Marie-Christine Guibert and Michel Audiard. By the time of his birth, Audiard’s father was already