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An introduction
Author: Guy Austin

This book provides an introduction to French film studies. It concentrates on films which have had either a theatrical or video release in Britain, or which are available on video or DVD from France. Most avant-garde film-makers, including Germaine Dulac, were unable to continue in the 1930s, faced with the technical demands and high production costs of the sound film. Exacerbated by the Depression, and above all by the financial collapse of both Gaumont and Pathé, film production fell from 158 features the previous year to only 126 in 1934, and 115 in 1935. While poetic realism was at its height, a talismanic figure in post-war film was faced with a generally lukewarm reception from critics and audiences. Thanks largely to German finance and also to an influx of filmmakers replacing those who had departed, after 1940 French film. If 1968 marked a watershed in French cinema's engagement with politics and history 1974 did the same for representations of sexuality. In that year, pornography entered mainstream French cinema. Although film-making remains male-dominated in France as elsewhere, 'more women have taken an active part in French cinema than in any other national film industry'. A quarter of all French films made in 1981 were polars, and many of those were box-office successes. French fantasy has had a particular national outlet: the bande dessinée. The heritage film often takes its subject or source from the 'culturally respectable classicisms of literature, painting, music'.

Jo George

Super8, video, and in its early days, digital, have rarely been used in feature filmmaking. They have, however, been widely used by avant-garde film-makers, who often identify more closely with amateurs than they do with their professional counterparts. As Maya Deren puts it: The very classification ‘amateur’ has an apologetic ring. But that very word – from the Latin ‘amateur’ – ‘lover’ means one who does something for the love of the thing rather than for economic reasons or necessity. And this is the meaning from which the amateur

in British art cinema
Jonathan Bignell

for new forms. The historical avant-garde aimed to destroy the institution of art, in production and distribution, as Peter Bürger (1984) has argued. So as John Caughie (2000) explains, since television is made in and by institutions for institutional distribution, it cannot by definition have an avant-garde. In film, on the other hand, avant-garde films are the products of individual artists or groups working outside the mainstream and without established funding sources. This facilitates the role of the avant-garde film maker as author, along the lines of the

in Beckett on screen
Tom Gunning

themselves in an ever-changing urban scene, just as Cornell sought to do in his aimless walks that inspired these films. A Legend for Fountains opens as his female protagonist, played by Suzanne Miller, descends a dark stairway and exits through an arched corridor. Her slow pace resembles the somnambulist protagonists of the trance films made by American avant-garde film-makers of this era such as Maya Deren, Curtis Harrington, and Brakhage (especially in Brakhage’s Reflections on Black (1955)). 77 Of all his films, Legend most recalls Cornell’s boxes, with its

in Surrealism and film after 1945
The Second Situationist International on freedom, Freddie, and film
Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen

film and engaging in virulent attacks on contemporary so-called avant-garde film-makers such as Julien Duvivier, Federico Fellini, Alain Resnais, and Jean-Luc Godard. 5 For Debord and his small vanguard, the filmic medium needed to be attacked. It fostered passivity; it was a staging of separation. But for them this medium also gestured towards a different kind of cinema which expressed historical necessity and abolished the separation between theory and practice. If this kind of creative expression succeeded, art would reveal itself to be part of a historical

in Surrealism and film after 1945
Guy Austin

on to have a long and brilliant career, making numerous films in France, Spain and Mexico, and carrying his own brand of surrealism into the 1970s (see chapter 3 ). But most avant-garde film-makers, including Germaine Dulac, were unable to continue in the 1930s, faced with the technical demands and high production costs of the sound film. Sound cinema and poetic realism The late 1920s and early 1930s

in Contemporary French cinema
Abstract only
Phil Hubbard

England, and stands for the end times, its brutal block of a power station standing on ‘a shifting bed of stones beneath a duplicitous blue sky’. 50 But it is arguably in the work of Derek Jarman that we find the clearest articulation of the connections between the nuclear uncanny, Englishness and questions of identity. Jarman's home at Dungeness is arguably the principal reason why the area has gentrified, his reputation as avant-garde film-maker, painter, queer activist and writer having grown significantly since his

in Borderland
Abstract only
Andy Birtwistle

more closely associated with the traditions of Soviet cinema, and embraced narrative and language. Wollen’s article called for a re-unification of the two traditions. He writes, ‘The way into narrative cinema is surely not forbidden to the avant-garde film-maker, any more than the way into verbal language. Cinema . . . is a multiple system – the search for the specifically cinematic can be deceptively

in Cinesonica
Abstract only
Alfred Kinsey’s informants
Barry Reay

knew the avant-garde film-maker Kenneth Anger and got him to locate in Sicily some classic erotic photographs by Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856–1931), one of the first photographers of the male nude. Anger was in Taormina in December 1955 and located 100 of von Gloeden’s prints to ship to Kinsey (see Figure 26). Anger combined work and pleasure, for he also sent Kinsey a map with a list of his sexual contacts marked in blue: ‘18 years of age in a ruined house’; ‘16 years, 4 nights (near the Madonna della Rocco)’.46 Kinsey was in Sicily later that same month and noted that

in Sex in the archives
Sarah Lonsdale

noted that she ‘shows interest’ in nature study. At 16 Pilley went to Queenwood School in Eastbourne, a boarding school on the edge of the South Downs, where she made friends with Winifred Ellerman, who would later become known as the modernist writer and avant-garde film-maker Bryher. 12 Few girls went on to university from the school, and Ellerman’s memoir highlights the cold, the regular prayers and an emphasis on good behaviour rather than achievement. 13 In 1912 Pilley sat the Oxford Local Examinations and obtained third class Honours in the Associate in Arts

in Rebel women between the wars