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Author: Will Higbee

The book begins with a consideration of the origins and influences that have shaped Mathieu Kassovitz's development as a director, but also the cultural context within which he emerges as a filmmaker. It argues new realism, the banlieue. The book examines the American influences evident in all of Kassovitz's films to date as a director and explores the continuity and difference between his films as actor and director. The first phase of Mathieu Kassovitz's career comprises his short films and feature films up to and including Assassin(s), engages in an often provocative way with socio-political debates in contemporary France through an aesthetic mode of address designed to appeal primarily to a youth audience. The second phase, post-Assassin(s), appears to be marked by a conscious shift towards bigger-budget, more unashamedly commercial, genre productions. The book explores the cultural context within which Mathieu Kassovitz emerged to direct his first three short films, concentrating in the second half on key transformations relating to that have taken place in relation to French popular culture. What Kassovitz offers is not social realism, but rather what might be termed 'postmodern social fables'. Assassins, Les Rivières pourpres, Fierrot le pou and Cauchemar blanc, Métisse, La Haine are some films discussed extensively. In a national cinema that has made strategic use of the auteur's cultural cachet in order to mark its difference from Hollywood, Kassovitz is seen by many to side more closely with the American 'invaders' than the defenders of French cultural exception.

Will Higbee

Kassovitz emerged to direct his first three short films, concentrating in the second half on key transformations relating to youth culture that have taken place in relation to French popular culture since the early 1980s. Origins and influences: ‘a different way of looking at cinema’ Born in Paris on 3 August 1967, Kassovitz grew up in Ménilmontant a relatively cosmopolitan

in Mathieu Kassovitz
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Michael R. Lynn

in the 1730s and lasting well into the 1780s and 1790s, science formed a mainstay of French popular culture. The invention of ballooning in 150 POPULAR SCIENCE AND PUBLIC OPINION 1783 reinforced the belief that science could produce nearly miraculous discoveries. Indeed, faith in science went much further than many elite savants preferred. Once the public took over the sponsorship of balloons and began to speak with authority on divining rods, it seemed that anyone could claim to speak with scientific authority. Membership in a royal academy, or at least the

in Popular science and public opinion in eighteenth-century France
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Berny Sèbe

show that imperial heroism was a phenomenon to be reckoned with when it comes to British and French popular cultures from the late nineteenth century onwards. More remains to be said about how these cultural artefacts changed European popular perceptions of the empire, of non-European worlds, of the encounter between the two and the influence it had on national identities. The postcolonial legacy

in Heroic imperialists in Africa
British and French contexts
Berny Sèbe

which heroes were individuals capable of changing the course of history. Several fundamental changes in nearly all aspects of British and French life help us understand the backdrop against which this new type of hero developed. A unique set of conditions enabled the appearance of imperial heroes in British and French popular culture. First, geostrategic developments linked to the

in Heroic imperialists in Africa
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Will Higbee

public personality and (largely) self-styled rebel of France’s Seventh Art, this book intends to locate Kassovitz’s cinema in relation to key cultural and cinematic developments that have taken place in France during the 1990s. On the one hand, it will address the effects of the shifting configurations of French popular culture that began in the 1980s under the auspices of Lang’s le tout culturel

in Mathieu Kassovitz
Highbrow, lowbrow, middlebrow
Diana Holmes and David Looseley

Introduction Imagining the popular: lowbrow, highbrow, middlebrow Diana Holmes and David Looseley O ur aim in this book is to explore how the French in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have come to imagine the popular in particular and distinctive ways: how popular-cultural texts or forms have, variously, been produced and received, theorised and judged. We are interested, then, in both discourse and practice in contemporary French popular culture. This ambition is not quite as straightforward as it might seem. First, ‘discourse’ and ‘practice’ cannot

in Imagining the popular in contemporary French culture
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Sue Harris

cultural affirmation. Despite the critical contempt of the early years, the enduring success of Blier’s films gives cause for optimism for the future of popular French national cinema. The close focus on traditional dramatic forms drawn directly from French popular culture can arguably be read as a positive and forceful affirmation of cultural specificity in the face of an ever-threatening post-GATT global film culture

in Bertrand Blier
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Pagnol’s legacy
Brett Bowles

, Pagnol’s has grown ever stronger, standing today as an indelible part of French popular culture, and national identity. This is perhaps the most fitting vindication for an artist who consistently flouted stylistic and industry conventions in order to preserve his independence and realise his own distinct creative vision. References Cinefeed ( 2011 ), Box-office statistics compiled weekly from

in Marcel Pagnol
Will Higbee

Americanised popular culture permeate national cultural borders more easily, carry an increasing weight within popular youth cultures throughout the world and are more accessible than ever before, American popular culture (including cinema), now forms an identifiable part of French popular culture beyond any mere influence or imported trend. Thus in the context of Kassovitz’s cinema – and, indeed, for an

in Mathieu Kassovitz