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The birth of the auteur

Georges Méliès is universally acknowledged to be an early film Pioneer. However, his work has often been dismissed as simplistic, both narratively and technically. This book primarily aims is to give an idea of the complexity and the modernity of his work. It also aims to dispel a number of myths about Méliès's contribution to film history. For a long time, Méliès's work was cited as the foremost example of 'primitive mode of representation'; films made before around 1906 were characterized by four traits. These are 'autarky and unicity of each frame', or framing that is selfcontained and unchanged throughout the scene; 'the noncentered quality of the image', or the use of the edges of the frame as well as the centre; 'consistent medium long-shot camera distance'; and the 'nonclosure' of the narrative. The book examines individual scenes of some of his films using a model of structural analysis designed for narrative films. It outlines the technical function of the major special effects, or trues, used by Méliès. The book also considers Méliès's treatment of the relationship between fantasy and realism, first by examining a selection of films that explicitly thematize representation, and then by discussing several of the actualités reconstituées. It examines the ways in which Méliès's films blur the boundary between realism and illusion, by examining first a selection of trick films. This examination is followed by several actualités reconstituées or early docu-dramas, culminating in an extended discussion of Méliès's most influential L'Affaire Dreyfus/The Dreyfus Affair.

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inches from his torso in Le Cake-Walk infemal/The Infernal Cakewalk (1903), Méliès’s work has been detached from the body of film history. The traditional opposition between Méliès and Lumière has long been dismantled; it is now time to question the rigidity of the distinction between Méliès and the century of film-makers he has (so far) inspired. References Jenn , P . ( 1984 ), Georges

in Georges Méliès

In Le Boulevard du cinéma à l’époque de Georges Méliès, Jacques Deslandes voiced a common view of Méliès’s contribution to cinema: ‘Méliès n’est pas un pionnier du cinéma, mais le dernier homme du théâtre de féerie’ (71). 1 This assessment of Méliès’s work still persists today, and can be traced back at least as far as 1947 when Georges Sadoul, who wrote

in Georges Méliès
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). Inside, in the basement area known as the Salon Indien, some thirty-five curious spectators, including the director of the popular Grévin wax museum and the head of the Folies-Bergère, took their seats expectantly, waiting to be impressed. Sitting among the specially invited guests was 34-year-old Georges Méliès, magician and director of the Théâtre Robert-Houdin (directly above which Antoine Lumière, father of brothers Auguste

in Georges Méliès
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Georges Méliès , Paris , Editions du Cerf . Douchet , J . ( 1994 ), ‘D’un réalisme l’autre’, Retour vers le réel , (?), Conseil Général de Seine Saint-Denis. Dreyfus , A. ( 1994 ), Cinq Années de ma vie , Paris, La Découverte. Drouin , Michel (ed .) ( 1994 ), L’affaire Dreyfus de AàZ , Paris , Flammarion

in Georges Méliès
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– suggest, in this context, the collision of different cultural traditions and collective identities. However, if encounters with the unfamiliar were the raison d’être of Méliès’s voyage films, the nature of the differences depicted changed over the years. Whereas the 1902 Lune showed a completely imaginary ‘other’, subsequent voyage films (made both by Georges Méliès and by his brother Gaston, whose work for

in Georges Méliès

, New York , Georges Méliès (in BiFi Fonds Méliès GM011) . Morand , P . ( 1931 ), 1900, Paris , Flammarion . Opie , I. and P . ( 1980 ), The Classic Fairy Tales , St . Albans , Granada . Reynolds , S . ( 1996 ), France Between the Wars: Gender and Politics , London , Routledge

in Georges Méliès
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in Georges Méliès
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Auteurism from Assayas to Ozon
Editor: Kate Ince

There have been vigorous debates about the condition and prospects of auteur cinema in France over the last decade, debates that seem mostly to have gone unreported in anglophone criticism of francophone cinema. But these have been paralleled by a revival of international debate about the status of the auteur: in their extended chapter on auteur cinema added to the second edition of Cook's The Cinema Book, Pam Cook and Mieke Bernink observe that this was definitely underway by 1995. This book summarises the development of auteurism as a field up to the 1990s, drawing particularly on Wright Wexman's historical overview. Georges Méliès was the first auteur. Following the advent of structuralism and structuralist approaches to narrative and communication in the mid 1960s, a type of auteurism was born that preserved a focus on authorship. The book presents an account of the development of Olivier Assayas' career, and explores this idea of what one might call 'catastrophe cinema'. Jacques Audiard's work reflects several dominant preoccupations of contemporary French cinema, such as an engagement with realism (the phenomenon of the 'new new wave') and the interrogation of the construction of (cultural) memory. The book then discusses the films of the Dardenne brothers and their documentaries. Michael Haneke's films can be read as a series of polemical correctives to the morally questionable viewing practices. An introduction to Ozon's films that revolve around the centrality of queer desire to his cinema, and the continual performative transformations of identity worked within it, is presented.

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difficult perhaps for contemporary viewers of cinema today to understand that the majority of frightening projections that we associate with horror films – demonic abductions, animated skeletons and talking skulls (see the films of Georges Méliès), soaring witches, fanged revenants, bestial riders and vengeful female nemeses ( Fatal Attraction, Kill Bill 1 and 2) – had been developed and shown for over

in Gothic effigy