Few directors are as ambiguously placed in the French popular imaginary as Jacques Demy. With nine shorts and thirteen full-length features, Demy's filmography is solid. Although he died in October 1990, Demy's legacy as an iconic director for generations of admirers and filmmakers endures. This book examines Demy's relation to the French New Wave (Nouvelle Vague). It probes Demy's 'musicals', Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, Les Demoiselles de Rochefort and Une chambre en ville. The book shows how the films comply with and deviate from the codes and conventions of the Hollywood staple, producing a specifically Gallic and 'Demyesque' twist on the genre. It is a commonplace of writings on Demy to highlight his 'monde en-/ enchanté', meaning both 'expressed through song' and 'enchanted'. The book examines Demy's adaptations of fairytale (Peau d'âne), fable (The Pied Piper) and myth (Parking). The representations of gender and sexuality in Demy's cinema, with particular attention to Le Bel Indifférent, La Naissance du jour L'Evénement le plus important depuis que l'homme a marché sur la lune and Lady Oscar are analysed. Finally, the book reveals how his final feature, Trois places pour le 26, establishes the foundations of his posthumous myth, which Agnès Varda and other directors have affirmed and supplemented since his death. Beneath the apparently sugary coating of his films lie more philosophical reflections on some of the most pressing issues that preoccupy Western societies, including affect, subjectivity, self/other relations and free will.
Jean Epstein, born in Warsaw, was raised in Switzerland, but it was Brittany where he made some of his best films. He was famous yet misunderstood, original yet held to be idiosyncratic and poetic to a fault, consistently referred to by most critics as a key theoretician. Using familiar genres, melodramas and documentaries, he hoped to heal viewers of all classes and hasten social utopia. This book offers the first comprehensive introduction to and preliminary study of Epstein's movies, film theory, and literary and philosophical criticism in the age of cinema. Diluted into a single word, photogénie, his aesthetic project is equated with a naïve faith in the magic power of moving images, whereas Epstein insistently articulated photogénie in detailed corporeal, ethical and political terms. While Epstein scarcely refers to World War One in his writings or film work, it is clearly from this set of urgent questions that he began reflecting on art and literature. The New Wave movement in France in the late 1950s, put melodrama and avant-garde together feels oxymoronic if not sacrilegious. Epstein's filmography contains roughly an equal number of films that can be labelled fiction and documentary, a little over twenty, in each category. Epstein has opened the way for a corporeal cinema predicated on cinematography and montage rather than narration and mise-en-scène. Epstein's work in cinema, film 'theory', and philosophy, offers today a surprisingly contemporary set of movies, cinematographic idioms, and reflections on all the phenomena of cinema.
This book aims to provide an overview of the history and development of film noir and neo-noir in five major European cinemas, France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy, written by leading authorities in their respective fields. It contains a bibliography and extensive filmography. The book describes the distinctiveness of film noir or neo-noir within its respective national cinema at particular moments, but also discusses its interaction with American film noir and neo-noir. It commences with a reflection on the significant similarities and differences that emerge in these accounts of the various European film noirs, and on the nature of this dialogue, which suggests the need to understand film noir as a transnational cultural phenomenon. The problems of defining film noir and the reasons why it has almost always been regarded solely as an American form are discussed. Because British film noir had never received critical recognition, Andrew Spicer argues that British neo-noir had to reinvent itself anew, with little, if any, explicit continuity with its predecessors. The book also explores the changes in the French polar after 1968: the paranoia of the political thriller and the violence of the postmodern and naturalistic thriller. That new noir sensibility is different enough, and dark enough, from what preceded it, for us to call it 'hyper-noir'. British neo-noirs are highly intertextual and allusive, both thematically and visually. The book also discusses German neo-noir, Spanish film noir and neo-noir, and the Italian film noir.
Place, space and the gendered body in Isabel Coixet’s The Secret Life of Words (2005)
sets of material
social relations but also cultural objects (McDowell 1996 : 31–2).
I have organised my arguments into
three sections. First, I will map Isabel Coixet’s filmography to
determine both the thematisation of gender discourse and the overlap
between different national and transnational regimes. Second, I propose
an examination of
more difficult of access, is no less interesting.
Agnès Varda’s filmography is both long and varied,
and, unusually, her career has alternated between fiction and documentary,
with some films hovering somewhere between the two ( Jacquot de Nantes
being the most recent and the most ambiguous). Varda’s best-known
films, mentioned above, come into the category ‘fiction’ with
the exception of Jacquot de Nantes , and indeed they
This book provides an in-depth, holistic examination of evaluative aesthetics and criticism as they apply to film. Organised around the explanation of key concepts, it illuminates connections between the work of philosophers, theorists and critics, and demonstrates the evaluation of form through the close analysis of film sequences. The book advocates that aesthetic evaluation should be flexibly informed by a cluster of concerns including medium, convention, prominence, pattern and relation; and rather than privileging a particular theory or film style, it models a type of approach, attention, process and discourse. Suitable for students of film studies and philosophical aesthetics at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, Aesthetic evaluation and film also provides a framework for academics researching or teaching in the area. At the same time, the crisp and lucid style will make the book accessible to a wider readership.
This is the first full-length study of the career and achievements of David
Milch, the US writer who created NYPD Blue, Deadwood and other ground-breaking
television dramas. It locates Milch’s work in the traditions of American
literature while tracking his career from academic research assistant to leading
Hollywood screenwriter of his generation. It draws on behind-the-scenes material
in order to evaluate the nature and significance of authorship, intention,
collaboration and performance in his shows, and in doing so provides a major
contribution to the study of television art.
The 1940s represent a high point in the history of British film, characterised by the works of such recognised greats as David Lean and Michael Powell. But alongside this ‘quality cinema’ there exists a body of popular productions by film-makers who have not yet been the objects of detailed scholarly attention. Four from the forties addresses this oversight, drawing attention to four directors whose career trajectories had a good deal in common and can tell us much about what British film-goers expected from the cinema in this crucial decade. Leslie Arliss, Arthur Crabtree, Bernard Knowles and Lawrence Huntington were all born at the turn of the century. All had been active in a range of film-making functions in the 1930s, and all would do their most proficient and popular work in the 1940s, thereafter prolonging their careers into the 1960s through ‘B’ movies, co-features and television. Taken together, they offer a commentary on the changing fortunes of mid-century British cinema.
This is a full-length monograph about one of France's most important contemporary filmmakers, perhaps best known in the English-speaking world for his award-winning Les Roseaux sauvages/Wild Reeds of 1994. It locates André Téchiné within historical and cultural contexts that include the Algerian War, May 1968 and contemporary globalisation, and the influence of Roland Barthes, Bertolt Brecht, Ingmar Bergman, William Faulkner and the cinematic French New Wave. The originality of his sixteen feature films lies in his subtle exploration of sexuality and national identity as he challenges expectations in his depictions of gay relations, the North African dimensions of contemporary French culture and the centre–periphery relationship between Paris, especially his native southwest and the rest of France. The book also looks at the collaborative nature of Téchiné's filmmaking, including his work with Catherine Deneuve, who has made more films with him than with any other director, and the role of Philippe Sarde's musical scores.
This book provides an extended analysis of Paul Auster's essays, poetry, fiction, films and collaborative projects. It explores his key themes of identity; language and writing; metropolitan living and community; and storytelling and illusion. By tracing how Auster's representations of New York and city life have matured from a position of urban nihilism to qualified optimism, the book shows how the variety of forms he works in influences the treatment of his central concerns. The chapters are organised around gradually extending spaces to reflect the way in which Auster's work broadens its focus, beginning with the poet's room and finishing with the global metropolis of New York: his home city and often his muse. The book uses Auster's published and unpublished literary essays to explain the shifts from the dense and introspective poems of the 1970s, through the metropolitan fictions of the 1980s and early 1990s, to the relatively optimistic and critically acclaimed films, and his return to fiction in recent years.