Coline Serreau is one of the most famous female French directors alive, not only in France but also abroad. This book is devoted not only to some relevant biographical aspects of Serreau's personal and artistic life, but also to the social, historical and political context of her debut. It deals with the 1970s' flavour of Serreau's work and more especially with the importance of politics. Taking intertextuality in its broadest sense, it assesses the strong literary influence on the tone, genre and content of Serreau's films and dramas. The book is concerned with the cinematographic genres Serreau uses. It provides a description and an analysis of Serreau's comedies, within the wider perspective of French comedies. The book also deals with the element of 'family' or community which is recurrent in Serreau's films and plays. During the 1980s, Serreau's career moved towards fiction, and she worked both for the cinema and the theatre. Serreau often underlines her family's lack of financial resources. The book considers the specificity of French cinema in the 1970s before analysing in more detail Serreau's first film. Serreau's work on stage and on big or small screens was strongly influenced by the political mood which succeeded May '68 in France. The book also discusses the idea of utopia which was the original theme of Serreau' first documentary and which is central to her first fiction film, Pourquoi pas!. Female humour and laughter cannot be considered without another powerful element: the motivation of often transgressive laughter.
Orchard ). Furthermore, in its exploration of one family’s
experiences of the événements of May ’68 it combines
a powerful fusion of historical context with psychological characterisation.
If one looks closely again at the film, Milou en mai also combines
strong touches of surrealism and cinéma direct . Surrealist
images are frequently hinted at in the comic encounters between the
different family members and the utopian
Indeed, for many in France, the ‘lendemains qui chantent’
had arrived and were there to stay, after the morose period which had followed May ‘68, and
more especially the seven-year government of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing preceding Mitterrand’s.
It seemed, as far as Serreau was concerned, that the utopia and Utopianmood she had so
cherished during the previous decade, and which was a recurrent aspect of her previous films,
was no longer the dominant mood. As will be seen next, this does not mean that she gave it up