In a now celebrated Sight and Sound essay on Olivier Assayas’ tenth feature film demonlover (2002), Jonathan Romney reconsidered the review that he had submitted after the film’s 2002 premiere at Cannes. He had originally decided that: demonlover is the latest victim of the French tradition whereby a highly respected director over

in Five directors
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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.

3 Families and sexualities Le Lieu du crime (1986) At the start of Téchiné’s seventh feature, Le Lieu du crime, co-scripted with Pascal Bonitzer and Olivier Assayas, 13-year-old Thomas (Nicolas Giraudi) chances upon Martin (Wadeck Stanczak), an escaped convict hiding out in a cemetery near his home in rural south-west France. Martin demands money but later saves his life, stabbing his fellowescapee Luc (Jean-Claude Adelin) when he tries to strangle Thomas. Martin falls in with Thomas’s mother Lili (Catherine Deneuve), a fortysomething divorcee who runs a night

in André Téchiné
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of the frames that compose it). But this is without question the situation inherent in all images: all images contain an infinity of virtual images, and this is sometimes one of the games ( jeux ) of the cinema, to ‘release’ ( de faire ‘sortir’ ) these … 2 The invited filmmakers were Olivier Assayas

in Montage

, Kechiche’s aesthetic-political project of cultural reclamation and renewal points to a larger emerging project within French cinema to reinvest and reinvent its own historical spaces and topographies, in particular the academically guarded, high-modernist precincts of the auteur. Irma Vep (1996) by Olivier Assayas, for example, has replayed the formal dynamism of the New Wave by tracking the erratic flows and rhythms of everyday Paris. Starring the Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung, it opens up brilliantly the silent film legacy of Louis Feuillade, experimental avant

in Space and being in contemporary French cinema
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Lynch ( Eraserhead’s Orphic image of a decapitated head (1978)), Philippe Garrel, and young French filmmakers such as Laurent Perrin, Olivier Assayas, Virginie Thévenet and Leos Carax whose 1986 film Mauvais Sang fantasised that Cocteau was still alive. film theory: Pasolini took up Cocteau’s notion of ‘poésie de cinéma’ which he reconceived as ‘the cinema of poetry

in Jean Cocteau

between them all, because ‘today’s auteurs are agents who, whether they wish it or not, are always on the verge of being consumed by their status as stars’ (Corrigan 1991: 106). For example, Medem found it impossible to resist the invitation to contribute a five-minute film to the nineteen others in the portmanteau Paris, je t’aime (2007) for the thrill of finding himself in the company of Tom Tykwer, the Coen brothers, Alexander Payne, Isabel Coixet, Gus Van Sant, Alfonso Cuarón, Walter Salles and Olivier Assayas amongst others; but then he struggled to fit the tiny

in Julio Medem
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significant factor in the continuing health of auteur cinema in recent years. 10 Assayas to Ozon: the auteurs The context of the careers and filmographies of three of the directors in this book – Olivier Assayas, Jacques Audiard and François Ozon – is the cinema of France. All Audiard’s feature films have been funded entirely by French production companies, and this is also true of the

in Five directors

. Commissioned by the Franco-German TV station Arte and screened in autumn 1994, the series featured work by nine relatively young directors (discounting the more established auteurs Chantal Ackerman and André Téchiné). Three of the nine films also received a theatrical release, including Olivier Assayas’ excellent early example of jeune cinéma style, L’Eau froide (1994). Although the films were all set in

in Contemporary French cinema

and cinéma de banlieue movements, the 1990s also saw the release of several multilingual films which featured stories about European movement. These include Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Franco-Polish La Double Vie de Véronique in 1991 and his 1993–94 Trois couleurs trilogy (Trois couleurs: bleu (1993), Trois couleurs: blanc (1994) and Trois couleurs: rouge (1994)). Others are Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita and Olivier Assayas’s Irma Vep (1996). MUP_King_Printer.indd 44 22/06/2017 11:03 Multilingualism in French cinema  45 The twenty-first century The twentieth

in Decentring France