Select bibliography
in Bertrand Blier

Select bibliography

See also the References sections at the end of each chapter

Books, book chapters and journal articles on Blier’s films

Austin, Guy ‘History and Spectacle in Blier’s Merci la vie’, French Cultural Studies 5, 1994, 73–84. A perceptive analysis of Merci la vie in relation to questions of spectatorship, testimony and the representation of history. Austin’s discussion of the tension between voyeuristic pleasure and disturbing historical spectacle is particularly revealing.

Austin, Guy Contemporary French Cinema, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1996. Blier’s work is discussed as part of an overview of French cinema in the 1980s and 1990s. Les Valseuses, Tenue de soirée and Merci la vie are read in terms of the challenge they present to established cinematic genres, in particular in their treatment of the representation of sexuality.

Forbes, Jill ‘In Search of the Popular Cinema: New French Comedy’ in The Cinema in France: After the New Wave, London, Macmillan, 1992, 171–88. Forbes’s chapter was the first sustained study of Blier’s work in English. Her analysis of the comic mechanisms at work in Blier’s films up to Trop belle pour toi (1989), and her very full discussion of Blier’s exploration of masculinity and questions of sexual identity have paved the way for other scholars, myself included, to assess Blier’s contribution to modern French film-making. Her book provides essential information about the post-1968 context in which Blier’s films emerged, and the chapter highlights the significance of the café-théâtre to both his work and working methods.

Forbes, Jill ‘Sex, Politics and Popular Culture: Bertrand Blier’s Les Valseuses (1973)’ in Susan Hayward and Ginerte Vincendeau, French Film: Texts and Contexts, 2nd edn, London and New York, Routledge, 2000, 213–26. This recent essay re-evaluates Les Valseuses almost thirty years after its release, and points to its importance both as a social document and as a groundbreaking example of post-new wave cinema. The discussion of Godardian intertextuality in this film is especially illuminating.

Harris, Sue ‘The People’s Filmmaker? Popular Theatre and the Films of Bertrand Blier’ in Sheila Perry and Marie Cross (eds), Voices of France: Social, Political and Cultural Identity, London and Washington, Pinter, 1997, 114–26. This essay examines Blier’s work in terms of traditions of popular performance, and their influence on French theatre practice in the 1960s and 1970s. It argues the case that the popular dimension of Blier’s work is stylistically consistent with a specifically theatrical concept.

Harris, Sue ‘Hitler, connais pas! Bertrand Blier’s Apprenticeship in the Techniques of Spectacle’, French Cultural Studies (special edition on 100 years of French cinema, edited by Keith Reader) 7 (1996), 295–307. This essay provides a detailed analysis of Blier’s first film, and invites a reading of it as a formative work in his œuvre. Although apparently very different in methodology and content from the commercially successful fiction films of Blier’s mature career, the film is presented as one which, in fact, laid the ground for the innovations in style and form that we have come to associate with Blier.

Harris, Sue ‘Les comiquesfont de la résistance: Dramatic Trends in Popular Film Comedy’, Australian Journal of French Studies (special edition on popular culture in post-war France), March 1998, 86-99. This essay examines the impact of the café-théâtre on modern film comedy, using the work of Blier and the Splendid theatre group as examples.

Harris, Sue, and King, Russell S. Bertrand Blier and Misogyny, Stirling French Publications, 4, 1996. This short work includes responses by each of the authors to the accusation of misogyny levelled at Blier by critics and scholars throughout his career. King’s essay, ‘Bertrand Blier’s Men Behaving Badly: the Question of Misogyny’ (1–11) argues that postmodern insecurity about masculinity and male identity is translated in Blier’s work into a generalised social misanthropy, which has been misinterpreted by critics as misogyny. The second essay, ‘Image, Position, Performance: Misogyny and the Female Subject in the Films of Bertrand Blier’ (12–23) argues for a recognition of the complexity and originality of female roles and performances in Blier’s work, which have so far remained obscured by facile and superficial readings of the director’s ‘misogyny’.

Haustrate, Gaston Bertrand Blier, Paris, Edilig, 1988. This well-sustained study of Blier’s early work from Hitler, connais pas! (1963) to Tenue de Soirée (1986) combines interviews with Blier with thematic and stylistic analysis of individual films. At the time of publication, this remains the only book in French on the director’s work.

Mesnil, Michel, ‘Merci la vie ou l’imaginaire à la française’, Esprit, May 1991, 126–35. Mesnil offers a persuasive reading of Merci la vie as a film about the imagination, in this case that of an adolescent girl revising for her baccalauréat. The main body of the film is explained by the author as a projection of nightmarish and often subversive fantasies, conflating history (the subject being revised) and sexual experiences (whether real or imagined).

Powrie, Phil, ‘Tenue de soirée: the “Suffering Macho”‘ in French Cinema in the 1980s: Nostalgia and the Crisis of Masculinity, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1997, 171–82. Powrie uses the example of Depardieu in Tenue de soirée to conclude his discussion of the crisis in masculinity in modern French culture as mediated by contemporary film-makers. Powrie examines the challenge to received notions of masculinity represented by Depardieu/ Bob in the film, and argues that the actor/character is a problematic, but emblematic figure, in what he identifies as the repositioning of masculinity in 1980s cinema.

Interviews with Blier and his principal actors

Alion, YvesEntretien avec Bertrand Blier’, Revue du cinéma 417, June 1986, 49–0.

Alion, YvesEntretien avec Miou-Miou: des Valseuses a Tenue de soirée’, Revue du cinéma 417, June 1986, 57.

Audé, Françoise and Jeancolas, Jean-PierreEntretien avec Bertrand Blier’, Positif, May 1989, 6–1.

Chevrie, Marc and Dubroux, DanièleA la recherche de l’histoire: entretien avec Bertrand Blier’, Cahiers du cinéma 371/2, May 1985, 12–3.

Cuel, Fran9ois and Carcassonne, PhilippeEntretien avec Bernard Blier’, Cinématographe 54, January 1980, 40–4.

Cuel, François and Carcassonne, PhilippeEntretien avec Bertrand BlierCinématographe 54, January 1980, 45–8.

Dufreigne, Jean-PierreJe tourne par mauvaise humeur’, L’Express, 19 August 1993, 52.

Douin, Jean-LucEntretien avec Miou-Miou’, Télérama 1359, 28 January 1976, 60–1.

Garcin, JérômeUn deux trois théâtre’, Le Nouvel Observateur 1713, 4 September 1997, 54.

Halberstadt, Michèle and Moriconi, MartineLe perturbateur tranquille: entretien avec Bertrand Blier’, Première 109, April 1986, 78–9 and 171–4.

Jousse, ThierryRencontre avec Josiane Balasko’, Cahiers du cinéma 489, March 1995, 62–3.

Lavoignat, Jean-PierreEntretien avec Miou-Miou’, Première 109, April 1986, 81 and 176.

Le Bon Plaisir de Bertrand Blier’, broadcast by France Culture, 18 February 1995. Le Guay, PhilippeEntretien avec Bertrand Blier’, Cinématographe 119, May 1986, 20–3.

Maillet, DominiqueEntretien avec Miou-Miou’, Cinématographe 24, February 1977, 22–3.

Martin, MarcelHitler, connais pas! Onze jeunes devant la caméra-question de Bertrand Blier’, Les Lettres françaises, 2 May 1963, 1 and 6.

Michaux, SylvieBertrand Blier: Une fantastique admiration pour la femme...Le Nouvel Observateur 1119, 18 April 1986, 60.

Pagnon, GérardEntretien avec Bertrand Blier: Un film, c’est un hold-up’, Télérama 2148, 13 March 1991, 24–6.

Spira, AlainBertrand Blier envoie valser le cinéma pour le théâtre’, Pans Match, 18 September 1997, 3–5.

Toubiana, SergeLes mots etles choses: entretien avec Bertrand BlierCahiers du cinéma 382, April 1986, 9–65.

Toubiana, SergeLa baguette magique: entretien avec Michel Blanc’, Cahiers du cinéma 382, April 1986, 11–12.

Toubiana, SergeJosiane Balasko, Bertrand Blier: jeux de mots, jeux d’acteurs’, Cahiers du cinéma 407-8, May 1988, 12–17.

Toubiana, Serge and Jousse, ThierryEntretien avec Bertrand Blier: la truculence, le fantastique et le sentimental’, Cahiers du cinéma 419/20, May 1989, 68–71.

Toubiana, SergeEntretien avec Bertrand Blier’, Cahiers du cinéma 441, March 1991, 22–7.

Vecchi, PhilippeJ’aime les places où il n’y a pas un arbre’, Libération, 18 August 1993, 25–6.

Works by Blier

Les Valseuses, Laffont (Paris, 1972).

Buffet froid, Avant-scène du Cinéma 244, 15 March 1980.

Beau-père, Laffont (Paris, 1981).

Les Côtelettes, Actes Sud (Paris, 1997).

Existe en blanc, Laffont (Paris, 1998)


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