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.
Michael Haneke’s Funny Games and globalisation’s new uncanny
Since its release in 1997 critics have interpreted MichaelHaneke’s Funny Games in terms of European
counter-cinema’s deconstruction of Hollywood genre film. Such
accounts have drawn on a range of provocative statements by the Austrian
director, who has gone on record to state that his intention in making
the film was to ‘rape the viewer into independence’ and
No ‘we’ should be taken for granted
when the subject is looking at other people’s pain. (Sontag 2003 : 7)
In a recent article for the American
journal Film Comment, Richard Combs argues that MichaelHaneke is
currently the paradigmatic filmmaker of ‘a new European art
cinema’, whose elusive and shifting terrain
that you like me.
LEDGARD Have I said that?
VICENTE/VERA [Looking towards the security camera] I know you look at me. Since you brought me here we practically live in the same room.
Vicente/Vera plays the seductress, becoming a femme fatale as the action in the 2012 present develops. Ledgard is characterised as being in control of Vicente/Vera’s body but not of his own feelings, which Vicente/Vera is probing as Ledgard retreats in haste.
For this reason, the ‘splashes of red which have been noticed by reviewers’, including a ‘nod to MichaelHaneke’s
with stringent immigration policies, riots and discontent in the banlieus , and President Sarkozy’s ultra-conservative and aggressively defensive notion of national identity, Genet’s plays, like MichaelHaneke’s astonishing 2005 film Caché , disclose the presence of an alternative history. They remind us that France is a haunted country, whose present discontents can be traced back to its refusal to deal with events in the 1950s and 1960s. Recalling Rustom Bharucha’s argument (see pp. 2–3 in this book), Genet’s late theatre forces us to take a stance; it shocks us
television companies, such as France 2 Cinéma. Where the Belgian
Dardenne brothers (to whom I shall refer as one director, given the
near-interchangeability of the directing and producing roles of Jean-Pierre
and Luc Dardenne on their four features to date) and MichaelHaneke are
concerned, however, the picture is more complex, and probably more
indicative of current trends in francophone cinema.
All four of the Dardenne brothers
that it is immanent, present and alive. Yet some recent French films
have already acknowledged the crucial existential fact that we are
Williams, Space and being in contemporary French cinema.indd 289
Space and being in contemporary French cinema
living through a period of seismic environmental change, and have
foregrounded the local effects of an emerging global crisis. MichaelHaneke’s Le Temps du loup/The Time of the Wolf (2003), for instance,
portrays a world of post-apocalyptic social breakdown following an
interesting case in the identification of a film’s nationality
is MichaelHaneke’s 2012 Cannes Palme d’or winner, Amour. Amour
12 Decentring France
is considered to be a French film (indeed its cast, language, majority
funding and setting are French), although the filmmaker, MichaelHaneke, is not. This is not particularly remarkable in itself, as many
directors of French films, from Krzysztof Kieslowski (La Double Vie de
Véronique 1991) to Amos Gitaï (Désengagement 2007, Free Zone 2005),
are not of French origin. However, the
‘then’, never ‘here’ and
‘now’, and van Elferen shows how this not belonging, this
nostalgia and evasive subjectivity which characterise the subculture,
are expressed in the music of Sol Invictus and Sopor Æternus,
with musical inversion turning globalised media into sites of gothic
Barry Murnane next looks at MichaelHaneke’s
, become conscious of and regain their sexual identity.
It’s because I myself had so much trouble standing the sight of the female sex
organ that I made Anatomy of Hell. It was like an exorcism’.
‘the cinema of abjection’ or ‘the new French extremity’, these directors
include many whose films have been strongly influenced by Breillat’s
work and particularly by Romance: Patrice Chéreau (Intimacy, 2001),
MichaelHaneke (La Pianiste, 2001), Bertrand Bonello (Le Pornographe,
2001), Gaspar Noé (Irréversible, 2002), Christophe Honoré (Ma mère,
2004), and Jean