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Author: Hugo Frey

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.

Hugo Frey

In this book I will introduce readers to the cinema of Louis Malle (1932–95). 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 (1957); Le Feu follet (1963); Lacombe Lucien (1974

in Louis Malle
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Hugo Frey

Lacombe Lucien has polarised critical opinion and sharply divided audiences in their views of Louis Malle. On the release of the film in 1974 critics on the left-wing of the political spectrum saw the work as a pernicious attack on the heritage of the resistance and the social struggle more generally. Malle’s film had to be unmasked for what it was: a bourgeois manipulation of the historical record

in Louis Malle
Hugo Frey

identified in his film. Very publicly, Borde accused Malle of having produced a politically repugnant work. He concluded his three-page review with the following commentary: ‘Un petit dur à la mode, un parachutiste de trente-cinq ans, un capitaliste néo-nazi, voilà les trois repères du rêve intérieur de Louis Malle. A tous les sens du mot, Ascenseur pour l’échafaud est un film fasciste’ (1958: 1910). 1 Prior to this final twist

in Louis Malle
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Hugo Frey

aesthetics of Louis Malle’s cinema Although Malle contributed to a variety of genres of film ( film noir ; comedy western; heist caper; theatrical drama, to name but a few), underlying consistencies bring a sense of unity to his cinema. Throughout the fictional oeuvre, Malle repeatedly explored individual protagonists, or small groups of people, and dissected their complex inner lives and social experiences. In the course of his

in Louis Malle
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Hugo Frey

-old Louis Malle, 15 January 1944 was probably going to be another mundane Saturday of classes in his still relatively new boarding school, the Petit Collège des Carmes. Located near to Fontainebleau, on the outskirts of Paris, the Petit Collège was a logical place to house a child in a time of war and political confusion. It was for precisely this purpose that Malle’s parents had sent him to this rural outpost of Catholic

in Louis Malle
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Hugo Frey

) A world of despair: Alain (Maurice Ronet), the suicidal alchoholic in a scene from Le Feu follet (1963) Louis Malle celebrates Le Voleur , complete with a cigar and a glass of Pernod (1966) Louis Malle

in Louis Malle
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Hugo Frey

This chapter presents some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in the book. In dissecting a lifetime of ambiguity, the book has shown that there are few critical certainties when it comes to Louis Malle. This is the most fascinating quality of Mallean cinema. Malle's childhood experience of January 1944, the founding trauma, its working-through in the eventual completion of Au revoir les enfants, provides one coherent and important way to debate the director and his work. There is Malle the 1950s playboy celebrity, the soixante-huitard activist, the Frenchman at home in the USA, the professional cinéaste, producer, and documentarist. Classical realism, surrealism and cinéma direct continue to be a powerful combination that defies simplistic aesthetic classification. In filming Au revoir les enfants he systematically asserted a defence of artistic liberty against unthinking authoritarianism. Mallean film was also a journey of repeated reinvention.

in Louis Malle
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Christopher Lloyd

-writer is much more polite than the ‘corbeau’; all the references to abortion and corruption are deleted, so that a caustic social satire becomes a much blander thriller. (For a fuller discussion, see Williams 2002.) In 1959, the weekly magazine L’Express organised a debate on French cinema between Clouzot, Jacques Becker, Louis Malle and Claude Chabrol, taken as representing the older and younger generations of film-makers. Although the discussion ranges somewhat inconclusively over sundry topics (the cinema’s expressive strengths and limitations compared with other art

in Henri-Georges Clouzot
Guy Austin

in the juxtaposed testimonies of the interviewees Du Jonchay and Duclos. It was this even-handed portrayal of the ‘popular struggle’, and the revelation that collaborators were mostly ordinary people rather than ideologues, which saw the film condemned by some on the left – along with Louis Malle’s controversial fiction film Lacombe, Lucien (1974) – for epitomising rétro cinema (see below). Ophüls followed Le Chagrin

in Contemporary French cinema