Dominique Cabrera, Noémie Lvovsky, Laetitia Masson and Marion Vernoux

This book aims to provoke increased interest in the work of the four directors: Dominique Cabrera, Noémie Lvovsky, Laetitia Masson and Marion Vernoux, although some of their early works have become more difficult to access, most of their films remain commercially available through French distributors. The four directors are not new arrivals and began making films in the early 1990s, yet they have received scant critical attention in both popular and academic film criticism. They share similar profiles in terms of box office success, number of films made and generational affinities and, shorts and feature films in France. They make films that straddle boundaries of categorisation and therefore escape the quickly established and self-perpetuating groupings that serve as powerful frameworks for popular access via DVD distribution, critical canonisation and academic curricula. Whilst Cabrera attests her sanguine awareness of the discriminatory treatment of women in all areas of the film industry she rejects the suggestion that the process of her filmmaking is determined by sexual difference or a gendered creative identity, asserting provocatively. The book discusses Masson's use of romance and detective narratives to debunk the former and subvert the later. The career path of Lvovsky remains distinctive from that of other directors. Vernoux's oeuvre maintains a coherent focus on the modes of transgression present within the generic conventions of comedy and romance in films which exploit the common narrative device of the encounter to propel narratives and characters across social boundaries within a dominant generic focus on romantic comedy.

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Continuing negotiations

construction of new narratives and the undermining of generic and gendered conventions, between the assertion of autonomous creative agency and the recognition of shared collective heritages and desires. Indeed this Introduction constitutes a set of serial negotiations between shared contexts (discourses of auteurism , gender, genre and the political) and the focus, in the following chapters, of the individual

in Negotiating the auteur

1 Author, auteur, Aitor Author ‘I think my best work is still to come. Truly’, says Julio Medem in what is an open-ended conclusion to his last interview for a book about him [5]. Nevertheless, he already enjoys a reputation in Basque, Spanish, European and even World cinema for the colourful eroticism, subjective camerawork, elaborate plotting, structural equations, straight-faced absurdity and obsessions with symmetry, duality and chance that characterise the films he has written and directed. Vacas (1992), La ardilla roja (Red Squirrel, 1993), Tierra (1996

in Julio Medem

  8 1 The ‘impure’ auteur Je ne suis qu’un artisan consciencieux.1 (Duvivier, in Leprohon 1968: 203) Ferdinand: Je dirais c’est comme Pépé le Moko. Marianne: Qui? Ferdinand: Pépé le Moko. Marianne: Qui est-​ce? Ferdinand: Décidément, tu ne connais rien!2 Pierrot le Fou (Jean-​Luc Godard, 1965) Accounts of Duvivier’s life usually go along the following lines. He was a talented director in the early days of sound cinema who luckily managed to marshal around him teams of actors and technicians to create a set of films that tapped into a particular mindset of 1930

in Julien Duvivier
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Encountering difference

perceived as incompatible with auteurism’s privileging of directorial creativity and thus occupy a lowly position in wider hierarchies of genre. Vernoux’s oeuvre maintains a coherent focus on the modes of transgression (potential and realised) present within the generic conventions of comedy and romance in films which exploit the common narrative device of the encounter to propel narratives and

in Negotiating the auteur
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Rupture and transmission

brief – to make a film set in the period of their teenage years. 11 The identification of the series as a significant marker in the emergence of a new generation of directors, new relationships between film and television in France (Austin 1996 : 171, Mayne 2005 : 207) and the re-emergence of the auteur figure (Powrie 1999 : 1, Wilson 1999 : 34), have accorded a high profile to the ‘coming of age

in Negotiating the auteur

was a major challenge to audience intelligibility. In a poor year for national cinema, the critic Lluís Bonet proclaimed Amenábar’s second outing as the achievement of ‘un verdadero autor’ (a real auteur) with an extraordinary capacity for ‘la fabulación visual’ (visual storytelling). 5 Even the usually parsimonious critic of El País , Ángel Fernández Santos, praised a brilliant and agile Amenábar

in Alejandro Amenábar
Almodóvar’s, Amenábar’s and de la Iglesia’s generic routes in the US market

expression of an accepted “auteur”’ ( 2001 : 122). The Almodóvar brand is, in my view, a fully recognisable instance of art cinema rather than a genre, offering an example of how this type of cinematic endeavour functions as it circulates through different distribution and exhibition circuits around the world. Consequently, to fully map out the workings of Almodóvar-as-brand and the role of diverse genres in his films, we

in Contemporary Spanish cinema and genre

Fernández has generated a considerable amount of interest, both in Mexico and abroad, in the form of book-length studies or articles. Most, as we would expect from studies on an individual director, offer differing forms of auteur criticism. There are several director-as-personality/biographical approaches to his work including: a long interview with Fernández (Tuñón, 1988 ); a biographical account by his daughter Adela

in Emilio Fernández
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Intimate constructions of a ‘bonheur collectif’

This chapter begins with a discussion of Dominique Cabrera's first short film L'Air d'aimer, made in 1985. The central cumulative elements of Cabrera's documentary film making reach a self-reflexive peak in her autobiographical film made in 1997. Demain et encore demain continues a search for a notion of collective happiness, interrogates the links between the personal and the political and explores further the ethics of the documentary process through the adoption of the first-person form. Documentary aesthetics and a continuing interest in the relationship between place and identity inform Cabrera's first feature-length fiction film L'Autre côté de la mer. A series of films that she made on the impact of changes to the physical urban environment provide further evidence of the centrality in all her work of an insistence upon the recognition of the social as personal to all and the importance of a projected bonheur collectif or collective happiness.

in Negotiating the auteur