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Cinema of France
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
See also: French comedy films Cinema of France | Gaumont palace in Paris, c.1914 | Number ofscreens | 5,653 (2014)[1] | Main distributors | Twentieth Century Fox(14.6%)
Warner Bros. (9.8%)
UGC (6.9%)[1] | Produced feature films (2014)[1][2] | Total | 258 | Animated | 9 (3.49%) | Documentary | 37 (14.34%) | Number of admissions (2014)[1][2] | Total | 208.9768 million | National films | 91.26 million (44.4%) | Gross box office (2014)[1][2] | Total | €1.33 billion | National films | €563.01 million (43.1%) |
Cinema of France refers to the film industry based in France. The French cinema comprises the art of film and creative movies made within the nation of France or by French filmmakers abroad.
France is the birthplace of cinema and was responsible for many of its significant contributions to the art form and the film-making process itself.[3] Several important cinematic movements, including the Nouvelle Vague, began in the country. It is noted for having a particularly strong film industry, due in part to protections afforded by the French government.[3]
Apart from its strong and innovative film tradition, France has also been a gathering spot for artists from across Europe and the world. For this reason, French cinema is sometimes intertwined with the cinema of foreign nations. Directors from nations such as Poland (Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Kieślowski, and Andrzej Żuławski), Argentina(Gaspar Noé and Edgardo Cozarinsky), Russia (Alexandre Alexeieff, Anatole Litvak), Austria (Michael Haneke), and Georgia (Géla Babluani, Otar Iosseliani) are prominent in the ranks of French cinema. Conversely, French directors have had prolific and influential careers in other countries, such as Luc Besson, Jacques Tourneur, or Francis Veber in the United States.
Another element supporting this fact is that Paris has the highest density of cinemas in the world, measured by the number of movie theaters per inhabitant,[4] and that in most "downtown Paris" movie theaters, foreign movies which would be secluded to "art houses" cinemas in other places are shown alongside "mainstream" works. Philippe Binant realized, on 2 February 2000, the first digital cinema projection in Europe, with the DLP CINEMA technology developed by Texas Instruments, in Paris.[5][6][7]
With 206.5 million tickets sold in 2010 and 215.6 million in 2011,[8] France is the third biggest film market in the world both in terms of admissions (after the United States and India) and revenues (after the United States and Japan).[9][10] It is the most successful film industry in Europe in terms of number of films produced per annum, with a record-breaking 261 films produced in 2010.[11] France is also one of the few countries where non-American productions have the biggest share: American films only represented 47.7% of total admissions in 2010.[12] This is largely due to the commercial strength of domestic productions, which accounted for 40% of admissions in 2011 (35.7% in 2010; 45.4% in 2008).[13] Also, the French film industry is closer to being entirely self-sufficient than any other country in Europe, recovering around 80–90% of costs from revenues generated in the domestic market alone.[14]
In 2013, France was the 2nd largest exporter of films in the world after the United States.[15]
A study made in April 2014 shows the excellent image which French cinema maintains around the world, being the most appreciated cinema after American cinema.[15]
Contents
[hide] * 1History * 1.1After World War I * 1.2Post–World War II * 1.2.11940s–1970s * 1.2.21980s * 1.2.31990s * 1.2.42000s * 1.2.52010s * 2Government support * 2.1Co-production * 3Festivals * 4Film distribution and production companies * 5See also * 6References * 7Further reading * 8External links
History[edit]

A scene from Louis Lumière's La Sortie des usines Lumière (1895)
Antoine Lumière realized the first projection with the Cinematograph, in Paris on 28 December 1895.[16] The French film industry in the late 19th century and early 20th century was among the world's most important. Auguste and Louis Lumière invented the cinématographe and their L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat in Paris in 1895 is considered by many historians as the official birth of cinematography.
The early days of the industry, from 1896 to 1902, saw the dominance of four firms: Pathé Frères, the Gaumont Film Company, the Georges Méliès company, and the Lumières.[17] Méliès invented many of the techniques of cinematic grammar, and among his fantastic, surreal short subjects is the first science fiction film A Trip to the Moon(Le Voyage dans la Lune) in 1902).
In 1902 the Lumières abandoned everything but the production of film stock, leaving Méliès as the weakest player of the remaining three. (He would retire in 1914.) From 1904 to 1911 the Pathé Frères company led the world in film production and distribution.[17]
At Gaumont, pioneer Alice Guy-Blaché (M. Gaumont's former secretary) was made head of production and oversaw about 400 films, from her first, La Fée aux Choux, in 1896, through 1906. She then continued her career in the United States, as did Maurice Tourneur and Léonce Perret after World War I.
In 1907 Gaumont owned and operated the biggest movie studio in the world, and along with the boom in construction of "luxury cinemas" like the Gaumont-Palace and the Pathé-Palace (both 1911), cinema became an economic challenger to legitimate theater by 1914.[17]
After World War I[edit]

Poster for La Règle du jeu, directed by Jean Renoir
After World War I, the French film industry suffered because of a lack of capital, and film production decreased as it did in most other European countries. This allowed the United States film industry to enter the European cinema market, because American films could be sold more cheaply than European productions, since the studios already had recouped their costs in the home market. When film studios in Europe began to fail, many European countries began to set import barriers. France installed an import quota of 1:7, meaning for every seven foreign films imported to France, one French film was to be produced and shown in French cinemas.[18]
During the period between World War I and World War II, Jacques Feyder and Jean Vigo became one of the founders of poetic realism in French cinema. He also dominated French Impressionist Cinema, along with Abel Gance, Germaine Dulac and Jean Epstein.
In 1931, Marcel Pagnol filmed the first of his great trilogy, Marius, Fanny, and César. He followed this with other films including The Baker's Wife. Other notable films of the 1930s included René Clair's Under the Roofs of Paris (1930), Jean Vigo's L'Atalante (1934), Jacques Feyder's Carnival in Flanders (1935), and Julien Duvivier's La belle equipe (1936). In 1935, renowned playwright and actor Sacha Guitry directed his first film and went on to make more than 30 films that were precursors to the New Wave era. In 1937, Jean Renoir, the son of painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, directed what many see as his first masterpiece, La Grande Illusion (The Grand Illusion). In 1939, Renoir directed La Règle du Jeu (The Rules of the Game). Several critics have cited this film as one of the greatest of all-time, particularly for its innovative camerawork, cinematography and sound editing.
Marcel Carné's Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise) was filmed during World War II and released in 1945. The three-hour film was extremely difficult to make due to theNazi occupation. Set in Paris in 1828, it was voted Best French Film of the Century in a poll of 600 French critics and professionals in the late 1990s.
Post–World War II[edit]
1940s–1970s[edit]

A scene from Jean-Luc Godard'sNouvelle Vague film Breathless (1960)

Alain Delon was known as much for his beauty as well as his acting career and endured status as a leading man in French cinema.
In the magazine Cahiers du cinéma founded by André Bazin, critics and lovers of film would discuss film and why it worked. Modern film theorywas born there. Additionally, Cahiers critics such as Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette and Éric Rohmerwent on to make films themselves, creating what was to become known as the French New Wave. Some of the first films of this new genre were Godard's Breathless (À bout de souffle, 1960), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, Rivette's Paris Belongs to Us (Paris nous appartient, 1958 - distributed in 1961), starring Jean-Claude Brialy and Truffaut's The 400 Blows (Les Quatre Cent Coups, 1959) starring Jean-Pierre Léaud. From 1959 until 1979, Truffaut followed Léaud's character Antoine Doinel, who falls in love with Christine Darbon (Claude Jade from Hitchcock'sTopaz) in Stolen Kisses, marries her in Bed & Board and separates from her in the last post-New Wave movie Love on the Run.
Many contemporaries of Godard and Truffaut followed suit, or achieved international critical acclaim with styles of their own, such as theminimalist films of Robert Bresson and Jean-Pierre Melville, the Hitchcockian-like thrillers of Henri-Georges Clouzot, and other New Wave films by Agnès Varda and Alain Resnais. The movement, while an inspiration to other national cinemas and unmistakably a direct influence on the future New Hollywood directors, slowly faded by the end of the 1960s.

Brigitte Bardot was one of the most famous French actress in the 1960s, as well as the actor Alain Delon.

Louis de Funès (left) and Bourvil (right), the two stars of the French comedy La Grande Vadrouille.
During this period, French commercial film also made a name for itself. Immensely popular French comedies with Louis de Funès topped the French box office. The war comedy La Grande Vadrouille (1966), from Gérard Oury with Bourvil and Terry-Thomas, was the most successful film in French theaters for more than 30 years. Another example was La Folie des grandeurs with Yves Montand. French cinema also was the birthplace for many subgenres of the crime film, most notably the modern caper film, starting with 1955's Rififi by American-born director Jules Dassin and followed by a large number of serious, noirish heist dramas as well as playful caper comedies throughout the sixties, and the "polar," a typical French blend of film noir and detective fiction. In addition, French movie stars began to claim fame abroad as well as at home. Popular actors of the period included Brigitte Bardot, Alain Delon, Romy Schneider,Catherine Deneuve, Jeanne Moreau, Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Gabin. Since the Sixties and Seventies they are completed and followed by Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noiret, Annie Girardot, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Claude Jade, Isabelle Huppert, Anny Duperey, Gérard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Miou-Miou, Brigitte Fossey, Stéphane Audran and Isabelle Adjani.
The 1979 film La Cage aux Folles ran for well over a year at the Paris Theatre, an arthouse cinema in New York City, and was a commercial success at theaters throughout the country, in both urban and rural areas. It won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and for years it remained the most successful foreign film to be released in the United States.[19]
1980s[edit]
Jean-Jacques Beineix's Diva (1981) sparked the beginning of the 1980s wave of French cinema. Movies which followed in its wake included Betty Blue (37°2 le matin, 1986) by Beineix, The Big Blue (Le Grand bleu, 1988) by Luc Besson, and The Lovers on the Bridge (Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, 1991) by Léos Carax. These films, made with a slick commercial style and emphasizing the alienation of its main characters, was known as Cinema du look.
Camille Claudel, directed by newcomer Bruno Nuytten and starring Isabelle Adjani and Gérard Depardieu, was a major commercial success in 1988, earning Adjani, who was also the film's co-producer, a César Award for best actress. The historical drama film Jean de Florette (1986) and its sequel Manon des Sources (1986) were among the highest grossing French films in history and brought Daniel Auteuil international recognition.
According to Raphaël Bassan, in his article «The Angel: Un météore dans le ciel de l'animation,» La Revue du cinéma, n° 393, avril 1984. (French), Patrick Bokanowski's The Angel, shown in 1982 at the Cannes Film Festival, can be considered the beginnings of contemporary animation. The masks erase all human personality in the characters. Patrick Bokanowski would thus have total control over the "matter" of the image and its optical composition. This is especially noticeable throughout the film, with images taken through distorted objectives or a plastic work on the sets and costumes, for example in the scene of the designer. Patrick Bokanowski creates his own universe and obeys his own aesthetic logic. It takes us through a series of distorted areas, obscure visions, metamorphoses and synthetic objects. Indeed, in the film, the human may be viewed as a fetish object (for example, the doll hanging by a thread), with reference to Kafkaesque and Freudian theories on automata and the fear of man faced with something as complex as him. The ascent of the stairs would be the liberation of the ideas of death, culture, and sex that makes us reach the emblematic figure of the angel.
1990s[edit]

The Palme d'Or ("Golden Palm"), the most prestigious award given out atCannes Film Festival.
Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Cyrano de Bergerac was a major box-office success in 1990, earning several César Awards, including best actor for Gérard Depardieu, as well as anAcademy Award nomination for best foreign picture.
Luc Besson made Nikita in 1990, a movie that inspired remakes in both United States and in Hong Kong. In 1994, he also made Léon and in 1997 The Fifth Element, which both became a cult favorite and launched the careers of Natalie Portman and Milla Jovovich.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet made Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children (La Cité des enfants perdus), both of which featured a distinctly fantastic style.
In 1992, Claude Sautet co-wrote (with Jacques Fieschi) and directed Un Coeur en Hiver, considered by many to be a masterpiece. Mathieu Kassovitz's 1995 film Hate (La Haine) received critical praise and made Vincent Cassel a star, and in 1997, Juliette Binoche won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The English Patient.
The success of Michel Ocelot's Kirikou and the Sorceress in 1998 rejuvenated the production of original feature-length animated films by such filmmakers as Jean-François Laguionie and Sylvain Chomet.
2000s[edit]
In 2001, after a brief stint in Hollywood, Jean-Pierre Jeunet returned to France with Amélie (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain) starring Audrey Tautou. It became the highest-grossing French-language film ever released in the United States. The following year, Brotherhood of the Wolf became the second-highest-grossing French-language film in the United States since 1980 and went on to gross more than $70 million worldwide.

Marion Cotillard (left) and Jean Dujardin (right), both awarded with an Oscar in United States, for their respective roles in La Vie en Rose (2007) and The Artist (2011).
In 2008, Marion Cotillard won the Academy Award for Best Actress and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of legendary French singer Édith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, the first French-language performance to be so honored. The film won two Oscars and four BAFTAs and became the third-highest-grossing French-language film in the United States since 1980. Cotillard was the first female and second person to win both an Academy Award and César Award for the same performance.
At the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, Entre les murs (The Class) won the Palme d'Or, the 6th French victory at the festival. The 2000s also saw an increase in the number of individual competitive awards won by French artists at the Cannes Festival, for direction (Tony Gatlif, Exils, 2004), screenplay (Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri, Look at Me, 2004), female acting (Isabelle Huppert, The Piano Teacher, 2001; Charlotte Gainsbourg, Antichrist, 2009) and male acting (Jamel Debbouze, Samy Naceri, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila and Bernard Blancan, Days of Glory, 2006).
The 2008 rural comedy Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis drew an audience of more than 20 million, the first French film to do so. Its $193 million gross in France puts it just behind Titanic as the most successful film of all time in French theaters.
In the 2000s, several French directors made international productions, often in the action genre. These include Gérard Pirès (Riders, 2002), Pitof (Catwoman, 2004), Jean-François Richet (Assault on Precinct 13, 2005), Florent Emilio Siri (Hostage, 2005), Christophe Gans (Silent Hill, 2006), Mathieu Kassovitz (Babylon A.D., 2008), Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, 2002; Transporter 2, 2005; Olivier Megaton directed Transporter 3, 2008), Alexandre Aja (Mirrors, 2008), and Pierre Morel (Taken, 2009).
Surveying the entire range of French filmmaking today, Tim Palmer calls contemporary cinema in France a kind of eco-system, in which commercial cinema co-exists with artistic radicalism, first-time directors (who make up about 40% of all France's directors each year) mingle with veterans, and there even occasionally emerges a fascinating pop-art hybridity, in which the features of intellectual and mass cinemas are interrelated (as in filmmakers like Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Olivier Assayas, Maïwenn, Sophie Fillières, Serge Bozon, and others).[20]
2010s[edit]
One of the most noticed and best reviewed films of 2010 was the drama Of Gods and Men (Des hommes et des dieux), about the Assassination of seven monks in Tibhirine, Algeria. 2011 saw the release of The Artist, a silent film shot in black and white by Michel Hazanavicius that reflected on the end of Hollywood's silent era.
French cinema continued its upward trend of earning awards at the Cannes Festival, including the prestigious Grand Prix for Of Gods and Men (2010) and the Jury Prize for Poliss (2011); the Best Director Award forMathieu Amalric (On Tour, 2010); the Best Actress Award for Juliette Binoche (Certified Copy, 2010); and the Best Actor Award for Jean Dujardin (The Artist, 2011).
In 2011, the film Intouchables became the most watched film in France (including the foreign films). After ten weeks nearly 17.5 million people had seen the film in France,[21] Intouchables was the second most-seen French movie of all-time in France, and the third including foreign movies.
In 2012, with 226 million admissions (1,900 million USD) in the world for French films (582 films released in 84 countries), including 82[22] million admissions in France (700 million USD), 2012 was the fourth best year since 1985. With 144 million admissions outside France (1,200 million USD),[23] 2012 was the best year since at least 1994 (since Unifrance collects data),[24] and the French cinema reached a market share of 2.95% of worldwide admissions and of 4.86% of worldwide sales.[25][26] Three films particularly contributed to this record year: Taken 2, The Intouchables and The Artist.[27] In 2012, films shot in French ranked 4th in admissions (145 million) behind films shot in English (more than a billion admissions in the US alone), Hindi (?: no accurate data but estimated at 3 billion for the whole India/Indian languages) and Chinese (275 million in China plus a few million abroad), but above films shot in Korean (115 million admissions in South Korea plus a few millions abroad) and Japanese (102 million admissions in Japan plus a few million abroad,[28][29] a record since 1973 et its 104 million admissions). French-language movies ranked 2nd at in export (outside of French-speaking countries) after films in English. 2012 was also the year French animation studio Mac Guff was acquired by an American studio, Universal Pictures, through its Illumination Entertainment subsidiary. Illumination Mac Guff became the animation studio for some of the top English-language animated movies of the 2010s, including The Lorax and the Despicable Me franchise.
In 2015 French cinema sold 106 million tickets and grossed €600 million outside of the country. The highest-grossing film was Taken 3 (€261.7 million) and the largest territory in admissions was China (14.7 million).[30]
Government support[edit]
As the advent of television threatened the success of cinema, countries were faced with the problem of reviving movie-going. The French cinema market, and more generally the French-speaking market, is smaller than the English-speaking market; one reason being that some major markets, including prominently the United States, are reluctant to generally accept foreign films, especially foreign-language and subtitled productions.[31] As a consequence, French movies have to be amortized on a relatively small market and thus generally have budgets far lower than their American counterparts, ruling out expensive settings andspecial effects.
The French government has implemented various measures aimed at supporting local film production and movie theaters. The Canal+ TV channel has a broadcast license requiring it to support the production of movies. Some taxes are levied on movies and TV channels for use as subsidies for movie production. Some tax breaks are given for investment in movie productions, as is common elsewhere including in the United States. The sale of DVDs is prohibited for four months after the showing in theaters, so as to ensure some revenue for movie theaters. Recently, Messerlin and Parc (2014) described the effect of subsidies in the French film industry.[32]
Co-production[edit]
The French national and regional governments involve themselves in film production. For example, the award-winning documentary In the Land of the Deaf (Le Pays des sourds) was created by Nicolas Philibert in 1992. The film was co-produced by multinational partners, which reduced the financial risks inherent in the project; and co-production also ensured enhanced distribution opportunities.[33] * Les Films d’Ici.[34] * La Sept-cinéma.[34] * Rhône-Alpes European Cinematographic Centre.[35] * Canal+.[36] * Rhône-Alpes région.[35] * Centre National de la Cinématographie.[36] | * Fondation de France.[36] * Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (France).[36] * Rai 3.[36] * BBC Television.[36] * Télévision Suisse Romande.[36] |
In Anglophone distribution, In the Land of the Deaf was presented in French Sign Language (FSL) and French, with English subtitles and closed captions.[37]
Festivals[edit]
French comedy films
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
French comedy films are comedy films produced in France. Comedy is also the most popular French genre in cinema.[1]
Comic films began to appear in significant numbers during the era of silent films, roughly 1895 to 1930. The visual humour of many of these silent films relied on slapstick and burlesque. A very early comedy short was Watering the Gardener (1895) by the Lumière brothers. In his native France and throughout the world, Max Linder was a major comic feature and might qualify as the first true film star.
Later, when the sound came in 1927,[N 1] Comedy films took another swing, due to laughter can now be caused not only by the burlesque situations, but also the dialogues.
Always a favorite of the public, as well as acclaimed, French cinema has many comedy films that are among the biggest box-office success in France. Some were the subject of remakes in other countries and have had great success worldwide, sometimes rewarded with prizes.
Contents
[hide] * 1Characteristics of French comedy films * 1.1A social comedy * 1.2Comedy duos * 1.3Other characteristics * 2History * 2.1French comedy before cinema * 2.2Beginning of cinema * 2.3Sound film of Interwar period and during the Occupation * 2.4From the end of the war to 1970s : film shows the evolution of society * 2.5From the 1970s to 1990s * 2.5.1Le Splendid * 2.5.2Provocation comedy films in the 1970s and 1980s * 2.5.3'Francois Pignon' concept (movies from the 1980s to the 2000s) * 2.5.4Apparition of series of films in the 1990s * 2.6The 2000s, the transition * 2.6.1Old generation of actors * 2.6.1.1Evolution of personality of some characters * 2.6.2New generation of actors * 2.7From the 2010s * 3Lists of notable films * 3.1Lists of highest-grossing films in France * 3.2Lists of remakes in foreign countries * 4See also * 5Notes and references * 5.1References * 5.2Notes
Characteristics of French comedy films[edit]
French comedy films are very often social comedies. That is a big difference compared to American comedies.[2] “ | Since Rabbi Jacob [...], the pattern of community comedy remained the same: a "foreign element" (potentially "disruptive") integrates (often against their will!) a community (ethnic, religious, geographical, etc.). Past the cultural shock and the inevitable mutual rejection phase, the protagonists inevitably realize that despite their differences (and before the end of the film), they are made for each other ... | ” | — Xavier Beaunieux, Quoi info[3] |
A social comedy[edit]
The cultural shock, in several French comedy films are due to several 'clichés' which can be : * religion (The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob in the 1970s, and Serial (Bad) Weddings in the 2010s) * social background (Life Is a Long Quiet River in the 1980s, and The Intouchables in the 2010s) * difference of life between two places (Welcome to the Land of Shtis in the 2000s) * difference of life between two periods of time (The Visitors and The Visitors II: The Corridors of Time in the 1990s) * difference of life in a parallel world (Jean-Philippe in the 2000s)
The Social Comedy can be shown by a big contrast of personality between some people (French Fried Vacation and French Fried Vacation 2 in the 1970s, The Three Brothers in the 1990s, Hunting and Gathering in the 2000s)
Comedy duos[edit]
Some French Comedy films are based on Buddy film in which two people of the same sex and of different personality are put together. From the | Duos | Films | 1950s | Louis de Funès / Bourvil | Poisson d'avril, La Grande Vadrouille, Le Corniaud | | Fernandel / Gino Cervi | serie of films Don Camillo. | 1960s | Louis de Funès / Jean Marais | serie of films Fantômas. | | Louis de Funès / Michel Galabru | serie of films Le Gendarme. | 1970s | Gérard Depardieu / Patrick Dewaere | Les Valseuses. | | Michel Serrault / Ugo Tognazzi | serie of films la Cage aux folles. | 1980s | Duos with François Pignon and François Perrin | cf. Francois Pignon. | | Philippe Noiret / Thierry Lhermitte | serie of films Les Ripoux. | 1990s | Jean Reno / Christian Clavier | serie of films Les Visiteurs | | Gérard Depardieu / Christian Clavier | Les Anges gardiens | | Samy Naceri / Frédéric Diefenthal | serie of films Taxi. | 2000s | Kad Merad / Dany Boon | Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, Supercondriaque | 2010s | François Cluzet / Omar Sy | The Intouchables |
Other characteristics[edit] * French comedy film can be based on linguistic differences: “ | The things that make the French laugh involve linguistic somersaults that only work in their own language. Much of French humour is 'jeux de mots', untranslatable wordplays. | ” | — The French have jokes, but do they have a sense of humour?, 20 décembre 2003, p. 75-76., The Economist[4] |
History[edit]
French comedy before cinema[edit]
In Europe, the theatrical genre like comedy developed in the Greco-Roman antiquity, which it shared with the tragedy theaters built in the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, the theater plays in the street, in the form of mystery plays, fabliaux, farces, soties and mimes. Some of these types are more or less inspired by antique survivals genres like Atellan.
In France in the 17th century under Louis XIV, the Italian influence and Molière are recognizing the comedy theater as an art in itself and not as a subgenre compared to the tragedy. From the 18th to the 19th century, comedy would go to incorporate opera and comédie-ballet to become opéra comique. Comedy would also go to create the Operetta (Offenbach) in the middle of the 19th century. In the beginning of the 20th century, operettas were transformed into musical theatre. Bourvil and Fernandel started as operetta singers ; Louis de Funès, started as a music-hall pianist.
Beginning of cinema[edit] *
Pantomimes cartoons by Reynaud *
Fratelli Lumiere *
Clip from the hand-colored version of A Trip to the Moon
In 1892, before cinema was created, Émile Reynaud realized several Comedy Cartoons : Le Clown et ses chiens ... Comic films began to appear in significant numbers during the era of silent films, roughly 1895 to 1930. The visual humour of many of these silent films relied on slapstick and burlesque. A very early comedy short was Watering the Gardener (1895) by the Lumière brothers. In his native France and throughout the world, Max Linder was a major comic feature and might qualify as the first true film star.
Georges Méliès, from theatre, created the first studio de cinéma. He also created a lot of silent comedies in which a lot will be destroyed later. He would have an homage in 2011 with the movie Hugo.
During the First World War, America would have the monopoly of Comedy Movies with the 'Silent film' (Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy...) It is after the coming of sound (The Jazz Singer was released in 1927 in US) that Comedy films would start being produced in France from the 1930s.
Sound film of Interwar period and during the Occupation[edit]
When the sound came in 1927, Comedy films took another swing, due to laughter can now be caused not only by the burlesque situations, but also the dialogues.
In the 1930s, French comedies talked about farmers and villages (as the majority of the populace was rural).
Le schpountz is a story of a man from little village, who is naive, and who wants to have the chance to be actor.
The Baker's Wife and The Well-Digger's Daughter are other movies, also based on a novel of Marcel Pagnol, which occurs in a little village.
The theme of countryside associated to medecine occurs in the film Dr. Knock of 1933, based on the novel Knock by Jules Romains. In this film, Louis Jouvet plays the character Dr. Knock ; later he played the same character in the famous movie Dr. Knock of 1951.
In A Cage of Nightingales of 1945, a teacher (Noël-Noël) has to face difficult teens. He decides to create a choral, and thus he improves the personality of the students. This masterpiece would have a famous remake in 2000 : 'Les Choristes'. And in a certain way, the movie Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit is influenced from this movie.
From the end of the war to 1970s : film shows the evolution of society[edit]
After the Second World War, French Society changed a lot from the 1940s to the 1970s (it was the Reconstruction Era, and Trente Glorieuses in France), so it had a big impact upon French Comedy Films of this period. A number of French comedians were able to find an English speaking audience in this period, including Fernandel, Bourvil, Louis de Funès and Jacques Tati.
Fernandel, after having played in Marcel Pagnol's movie (Topaze...), became Don Camillo in a lot of series of films. He is in a certain way a 'Franco-Provençal actor.'
Bourvil, diversified from Fernandel comedy and from 'Farmer comedy' (derived from trooper comedy) after being influenced from. He is also present in the genre of Swashbuckler film (with his roles in The Three Musketeers, The Hunchback and Captain Blood of 1960) to which he brings a humorous tone.
Bourvil formed a Comedy Duo with Louis de Funès in several movies: April Fools and then The Sucker, La Grande Vadrouille : "two road movie in the open air", with very great success. The Sucker is the "first film in French Cinema History to have reached 11 million tickets," and La Grande Vadrouille had remained the biggest French success for over 40 years.
Louis de Funès (which is needed at the right timing for movies that are colorising, because films are in competition with television in the 1960s), played with Jean Marais a series of films called 'Fantomas' (Fantomas,Fantomas Unleashed...) before being in duo with Michel Galabru in the series of films 'les gendarmes' (The Troops of St. Tropez ...) At this time, for at least 10 years, Louis de Funès monopolized the French Comedy films in cinema : annually at least 1 of the 10 biggest box office success in France was a Louis de Funès film.

Don camillo with Fernandel.
Jacques Tati created his own style by playing with the burlesque, people's behaviour, and sound. It was a way for him to show the change of the society between the 1940s and 1960s : Jour de Fête in 1949 (life in a French village after the war), Les Vacances de monsieur Hulot en 1953 (new society in the 1950s during Sea Holliday), Mon oncleen 1958 (that showed the contrast between the traditional Paris that still existed at the beginning of the 1950s and a world which was changing), and Playtime in 1967 (that showed the new society which was coming in the 1970s). One of the biggest homages to Tati was the 2003 cartoon les Triplettes de Belleville.
In 1967, the film An idiot in Paris (with Jean Lefebvre, Dany Carrel and Bernard Blier) shows a certain nostalgia of rural society (whereas rural society transition to urban society has already been completed in the 1960s).
In the 1970s (which is the Golden Age of comedies of Louis de Funès), the change of society of the 1970s is shown.
For instance, the fact that kids want to have more power in the family (Let's Get Those English Girls), foods changes (The Wing or the Thigh), the transition to a leisure society (les gendarmes), problems related to pollution (The Spat), cultural shock due to the transformation of the countryside to city (Cabbage Soup)...
From the 1970s to 1990s[edit]
At the beginning of the 1970s, new actors from the "baby-boomer" generation starred in Comedy films :
Gérard Depardieu, the Splendid troupe, Daniel Auteuil, Daniel Prévost, Coluche...
In the late 1990s, 'The Visitors' and 'Taxi' were triumphs. Also, some new actors would become famous through the Internet; especially Les Inconnus, and also Jean Dujardin. *
Thierry Lhermittein 1998. *
Daniel Prévost andJacques Villeret in ceremony of Césars. *
Depardieu withCarole Bouquet at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. *
Daniel Auteuilin 2000.
Le Splendid[edit]
The 1970s to 1990s corresponds to the golden age of comedies created and played by le Splendid which has been very famous through the theatre.
This troupe has : Josiane Balasko, Michel Blanc, Marie-Anne Chazel, Christian Clavier, Gérard Jugnot, Thierry Lhermitte...
Among the most important success of le Splendid, there are : French Fried Vacation, French Fried Vacation 2, Santa Claus is a bastard...
Later, each member of the troupe star on their own, with the following successful movies.
Provocation comedy films in the 1970s and 1980s[edit]
These types of Comedy Movies appeared right after May 1968 events in France, in which the French Society was questioned, the 1970s comedy tackle new social phenomena and sometimes provoke or shock.
Indeed, in the early 1970s, the French comedy - in crisis for several reasons - must reinvents by itself: “ | In the 1970s, "French comedy" style begins to choke (in any case to bring less money, as the market is saturated: the genre is criticized by the New Wave, May 68 has been there, and American films begin to break the market in France). This kind of film is no longer a success from the late 70's and the social claim a little naughty tend to replace the face of the 60s films. In 1970s appears celebrities roles more "hard" like Dewaere Patrick, Gerard Depardieu, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu or Alain Delon (period "Delon super cop") which collect the dividends of popular cinema, exhausted by poor easy comedies on the one hand, and the pretentious New Wave intellectualism on the other hand. | ” | — nanarland.com, Jean Lefebre |
There are provocations in several films post May 68 like Going Places, La Grande Bouffe, Les Babas Cool, Menage... For example, in Santa Claus is a bastard, Santa Claus (who is traditionally supposed to be calm) is totally violent, vulgar, rude and brandishes a gun. In its entirety, the film addresses very controversial subjects in the 1980s: suicide, homosexuality and transvestites (by the character played by Christian Clavier), violence, poverty and loneliness. "The comedy arises from the incompatibility between the connotations of the costume - the party, childhood, gifts - and the character of Santa Claus who is violent and unscrupulous.[5]"
'Francois Pignon' concept (movies from the 1980s to the 2000s)[edit]
It is basis of the concept of 'Francois Pignon' and 'Francois Perrin' by Francis Veber, which symbolize the 'stupid' and 'naive' guy who is lucky and who - despite these weaknesses - stands up to difficulties, compared to the 'strong' and 'smart' guy who loses.
- in the 1980s, there is the duo Gérard Depardieu/Pierre Richard (Knock on Wood, ComDads, Les Fugitifs...) with Pierre Richard as 'Francois Pignon' and 'Francois Perrin'.
- in the 1990s, there is the duo Thierry Lhermite/Jacques Villeret (Le Dîner de cons) with Jacques Villeret as 'Francois Pignon'
- in the 2000s, there is the duo Gérard Depardieu/Daniel Auteuil (The Closet) with Daniel Auteuil as 'Francois Pignon' ; and there is the duo Daniel Auteuil/Gad Elmaleh (The Valet) with Gad Elmaleh as 'Francois Pignon'
Apparition of series of films in the 1990s[edit]
From the 1990s, several series of films have a good rank in box-office: * Les Visiteurs (Christian Clavier, Jean Reno) * Taxi (Frédéric Diefenthal) * La vérité si je mens (Richard Anconina, José Garcia) * Les Randonneurs (Benoît Poelvoorde) * Astérix (Gérard Depardieu)
And new actors become famous by TV and internet (Les Nuls, Les Inconnus, and Jean Dujardin with his character of Brice de Nice). * Les Inconnus produced Les Trois Frères and The Bet in the 1990s, Les Rois mages and Madame Irma in the 2000s. * Les Nuls produced La Cité de la peur and Didier in the 1990s, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra and RRRrrrr!!! in the 2000s. * Jean Dujardin, after being famous on the internet, went on to TV (Un gars, une fille) and then on to cinema at the beginning of 2000s (If I Were a Rich Man...)
The 2000s, the transition[edit]
The 2000s correspond to a transition: indeed, the Splendid troupe generation of the 1970s tends to give over to newcomers (Dany Boon, Jamel Debbouze, Omar Sy) who have become famous with 'one man shows'. *
Jamel Debbouzein Cannes Festival in 2010. *
Dany Boon as Postman. *
Audrey Tautou in Cannes Festival in 2013.
The Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra film - who unified the two generations of actors - went to the box office.
Amélie in 2001, and The Chorus in 2004, belong to the list of French submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Old generation of actors[edit]
The generation which have a long experience in film comedies (which started for most of them in the 1970s)
Francis Veber would realize new movies based on 'François Pignon' : The Valet and The Closet.
Evolution of personality of some characters[edit]
- The character of Daniel Auteuil would become more developed : from cunning in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s (The Under-Gifted, Pour cent briques, t'as plus rien..., On Guard), it would develop to be sad and more sensible in the 2000s (The Closet, The Valet, My Best Friend). In "The Closet", he was named Best Actor at the 'Shanghai International Film Festival'.
- The character of Michel Blanc, which came from the character of 'Jean-Claude Dusse' in 'French Fried Vacation' went from 'loser' and 'unlucky' in the 1970s and 1980s (French Fried Vacation, French Fried Vacation 2, Viens chez moi, j'habite chez une copine, Menage ...), to 'romantic' (You Are So Beautiful ...) in the 2000s. In "You Are So Beautiful", he was nominated as Best Actor for the César Award.
- The character of Gérard Jugnot, went from choleric (Bernard Morin in French Fried Vacation and French Fried Vacation 2) and violent (Félix in Santa Claus is a bastard, Ramirez in Papy fait de la résistance) in the 1970s and 1980s, to calm in the 2000s (Monsieur Batignole, The Chorus, Le Petit Nicolas.) The movie The Chorus in which he is teacher will be a triumph all around the world in 2005.
- The character of Daniel Prévost match the cunning - even the scammer - whatever the business in which he works (1990s : The Dinner Game as tax inspector, Asterix & Obelix Take On Caesar as false prophet ; 2000s : A Crime in Paradise as lawyer and The House of Happiness as real estate agent.) For the great interpretation of the tax inspector in "The Dinner Game", he received the Cesar for Best Supporting Actor in 1998.
New generation of actors[edit]
The movies Podium and Welcome to the Land of Shtis are very popular.
The same for the Romantic Comedies 'Amélie', 'Priceless' and 'Hunting and Gathering' with Audrey Tautou.
From the 2010s[edit]
The movies The Intouchables and Serial (Bad) Weddings have very big success.
Jean Dujardin wins the Oscar award of the Best Actor for The Artist, and Omar Sy wins the César award of the Best Actor in 2012 for The Intouchables.
New French Extremity
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
New French Extremity (or New French Extremism) is a term coined by Artforum critic James Quandt for a collection of transgressive films by French directors at the turn of the 21st century.[1] The filmmakers are also discussed by Jonathan Romney of The Independent.[2]
Bava as much as Bataille, Salò no less than Sade seem the determinants of a cinema suddenly determined to break every taboo, to wade in rivers of viscera and spumes of sperm, to fill each frame with flesh, nubile or gnarled, and subject it to all manner of penetration, mutilation, and defilement. — James Quandt, Artforum.[1]
Quandt associates François Ozon, Gaspar Noé, Catherine Breillat, Bruno Dumont, Claire Denis' Trouble Every Day (2001), Patrice Chéreau's Intimacy(2001), Bertrand Bonello's The Pornographer (2001), Marina de Van's In My Skin (2002), Leos Carax's Pola X (1999), Philippe Grandrieux's Sombre(1998) and La vie nouvelle (2002), Jean-Claude Brisseau's Secret Things (2002), Jacques Nolot's La Chatte à deux têtes (2002), Virginie Despentes andCoralie Trinh Thi's Baise-moi (2000), and Alexandre Aja's Haute tension (2003) with the label.[1]
While Quandt intended the term as pejorative, many so labeled have produced critically acclaimed work. David Fear indicates that the lack of humanity beneath the horror represented in these films leads to their stigma, arguing that Bruno Dumont's Flanders (2006) "contains enough savage violence and sexual ugliness" to remain vulnerable to the New French Extremity tag, but "a soul also lurks underneath the shocks".[3] Nick Wrigley indicates that Dumont was merely chastised for "letting everybody down" who expected him to be the heir to Robert Bresson.[4]
Jonathan Romney also associates the label with Olivier Assayas' Demonlover (2002) and Christophe Honoré's Ma mère (2004).[2]
Tim Palmer has also written about these films, describing them as constituting a "cinema of the body."[5] Palmer has argued that such films reflect a large scale stylistic trajectory, a kind of avant-garde among like-minded directors, from Catherine Breillat to François Ozon, along with contemporary figures such as Marina de Van, Claire Denis, Dumont, Gaspar Noé, and many others. Palmer situates this tendency within the complex eco-system of French cinema, underlining the conceptual diversity and artistic scope in French cinema today.[6]
Contents
[hide] * 1History * 2Themes and characteristics * 3Cinematic roots * 3.1New French Extremity and body horror * 3.2New French Extremity and exploitation cinema * 4Political controversy * 4.1Frontiere(s) * 4.2Martyrs * 5New wave of French horror * 6Examples * 6.1List of films associated with New French Extremity * 6.2List of directors associated with New French Extremity * 7Legacy and influence * 8Further reading * 9See also * 10References * 10.1Bibliography
History[edit]
Jonathan Romney traces a long line of (mainly French) painters and writers influencing these directors, beginning with the Marquis de Sade, and including Gustave Courbet's 1866 L'origine du monde, Comte de Lautréamont, Antonin Artaud, Georges Bataille, William S. Burroughs, Michel Houellebecq, and Marie Darrieussecq.[2] He locates filmic predecessors in Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, Roman Polanski, Jean-Luc Godard's Le weekend, Andrzej Zulawski's Possession, and Michael Haneke.[2] Quandt also alludes to Arthur Rimbaud, Buñuel, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Georges Franju, Michelangelo Antonioni, Pier Paolo Pasolini,Guy Debord, Walerian Borowczyk, Godard, Psycho, Zulawski, Deliverance, Jean Eustache's La maman et la putain, and Maurice Pialat's A Nos Amours as models, but criticizes that the contemporary filmmakers so far lack the "power to shock an audience into consciousness".
John Wray notes that some of these filmmakers show less affection for Hollywood films than their New Wave predecessors, and take after Jean Renoir as well as Bresson.[7] He also notes the long shots and enigmatic story-telling style of Dumont and the Dardenne brothers.[7]
The expanded term "The New Extremism", referring to European filmmakers such as Lars von Trier, Lukas Moodysson, and Fatih Akın, has subsequently appeared.[7][8]
Themes and characteristics[edit]
While the New French Extremity refers to a stylistically diverse group of films and filmmakers, it has been described as "[a] crossover between sexual decadence, bestial violence and troubling psychosis".[9] The New French Extremity movement has roots in art house and horror cinema.[10] According to film blogger Matt Smith, this tradition has recently "shoved its way very consciously into [France's] genre endeavors".[10] Says Smith:
[T]his new crop of horror is something altogether entirely different, concerned as much with gender identity as it is with sheer taboo-breaking of the screen images of bodies. The New French Extremity in particular is a wide-ranging set of films, encompassing art-house darlings like Claire Denis and Catherine Breillat (a filmmaker much more interested in sex than violence, or rather sex as violence) as well as those who might be deemed schlockmeisters by their detractors[,] like Xavier Gens and Alexandre Aja.[11]
Films belonging to the New French Extremity take a severe approach to depicting violence and sex.[12]
Smith identifies five films that he believes primarily comprise a new wave of horror in France: High Tension, Ils, Frontiere(s), À l'intérieur and Martyrs.[10] These films, he says, provide a "comprehensive snapshot of human anxieties about our bodies", both corporeally and socially.[10] Within these works, Smith identifies two predominant themes: home invasion and, relatedly, a fear of the Other.[10]
Pascal Laugier, director of the film Martyrs, has said that his work is connected to American torture porn efforts like the Saw series and director Eli Roth's Hostel, though he likens Martyrs to an "anti-Hostel".[13][14]What makes his film different from its American counterpart, he says, is that Martyrs is about pain rather than torture.[15] Per Laugier:
My film is very clear about what it says about human pain and human suffering. [...] The film is only really about the nature and the meaning of human suffering. I mean, the pain we all feel on an everyday basis - in a symbolic way. The film doesn't talk about torture - it talks about the pain".[15]
Film scholar Steve Jones has also charted the relationship between New Extremism and torture porn based on their shared themes and characteristics.[16]
Cinematic roots[edit]
New French Extremity and body horror[edit]
Although films belonging to the New French Extremity exhibit traits representative of a wide range of horror subgenres—including slashers, revenge films and home invasion films—the body horror subgenre has been particularly influential.
Smith identifies body horror as one of the New French Extremity's most significant thematic antecedents, citing the early work of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg as a key influence on the movement.[11] He calls attention to the collective focus of the New French Extremity on human corporeality, specifically its destruction and violation:
As the French seem intent to prove, it is not our corporeal existence that should be held sacred - [their] insistence on showing anything and everything is evidence of this. The body is meant to be examined, explicitly and externally, to deepen our understanding of our own humanity...and what we hope lies in wait for us at the end of it all.[10]
Xavier Gens, a director associated with the New French Extremity, has loosely situated his work within the body horror tradition.[17] He cites David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly as an influence on his filmFrontiere(s), saying: "To me, Frontiere(s) is a love letter to the genre movie. There's a lot of reference to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Fly, and to many others...".[17]
Relatedly, film scholar Linda Williams has written about the so-called "body genres"—also known as "gross" genres or "genres of excess"—a label that includes pornography, horror and melodrama.[18] Body genre films "promise to be sensational, to give our bodies an actual physical jolt. [...] [T]heir displays of sensations...are on the edge of respectable", which is what attracts audiences to them.[19] Such films are necessarily spectacle-driven, depicting human bodies overcome by intense physical or emotional sensations (e.g., pleasure, terror, sadness). Body genre films are also marked by the fact that they induce within viewers an involuntary mimicry of the emotions or sensations portrayed onscreen—for example: pleasure in porn, terror in horror or sadness in melodrama.[20]
Williams has widely featured the work of New French Extremity filmmaker Catherine Breillat in her discussion of body genres, particularly Breillat's 1999 film, Romance.[21]
New French Extremity and exploitation cinema[edit]
The New French Extremity bears certain thematic comparisons to the American exploitation cinema of the 1970s. USC film scholar Tania Modleski notes that much of what distinguished the American exploitation movement from the Hollywood-dominated horror films that preceded it was "[exploitation films'] unprecedented assault on all that bourgeois culture is supposed to cherish--like the ideological apparatuses of the family and the school".[22] Films like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Brood, she says, were at the time noteworthy for their "adversarial relation to contemporary culture and society".[22] In much the same way, many films belonging to the New French Extremity have been explicit in their criticism and rejection of bourgeois ideals. Films like Martyrs, À l'intérieur and Frontiere(s), for example, have been noted for their subversive attitudes toward dominant political, social and cultural orders.[23]
Both exploitation cinema and the New French Extremity are characterized in large part by their transgressive attitudes towards depicting violence and sex.
Political controversy[edit]
While films associated with the New French Extremity are unified by their transgressive content, critics and scholars have also highlighted their tendency to incorporate social and political themes.[24][25][26] According to film scholar Tim Palmer, "[the New French Extremity] offers incisive social critiques, portraying contemporary society as isolating, unpredictably horrific and threatening".[12]
Writer and film scholar Jon Towlson says that "the New French Extremity movement, [sic] can... be seen most significantly as a response to the rise of right-wing extremism in France during the last ten years..., a response that filmmakers are in the process of working through".[27]
Still, films of the New French Extremity do not appear to reflect a unified social or political platform. Some have been noted to include politically progressive commentary[28] while others have been called conservative,homophobic and fascistic.[29]
Critics disagree as to whether the sensational nature of many New French Extremity films disqualifies them as legitimate expressions of social, political and philosophical commentary.[27] Some critics and scholars have judged the movement's treatment of such themes positively;[26] others have dismissed it as tacked on, miscalculated or even offensive.[30]
Several films associated with the New French Extremity have generated significant controversy upon their premieres.[31] Irréversible and Trouble Every Day, which respectively debuted at the 2002 and 2001 Cannes film festivals, were noteworthy for prompting widespread walkouts among audience members.[31] Martyrs was received similarly upon its debut at Cannes 2008, with audience members reportedly walking out, fainting, vomiting and bursting into tears.[32][33][34]
Frontiere(s)[edit]
In a positive review of Xavier Gens' Frontiere(s), New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis notes the film's exploitative tendencies while also crediting its "amusingly glib and timely political twist".[35] In the film, a group of French-Arab youths flees a riotous Paris following the election of a far-right government, only to be pursued by a murderous family of militant white fascists. "There's enough blood in the unrated french horror film Frontiere(s) to satiate even the most ravenous gore hounds", Dargis says.[35] "The real surprise here is that this creepy, contemporary gross-out also has some ideas, visual and otherwise, wedged among its sanguineous drips...".[35] While Dargis ultimately regards the film's political convictions in a positive light, she notes that certain scenes veer "dangerously close to the unpardonable, with images that evoke the Holocaust too strongly".[35]
Like Dargis, Village Voice critic Jim Ridley acknowledged Frontiere(s)'s political themes.[36] Ridley, however, is less favorable of the movie, describing it as "vigorously art-directed torture porn".[36] Comparing it to other films in the New French Extremity (specifically Haute Tension, Sheitan and À l'intérieur), he says Frontiere(s) takes "the most bluntly political tack yet." It is "both hysterical and muddled", even when interpreted as satire.[36]
Director Gens was himself vocal about the film's intended socio-political message. Asked in one interview about his inspiration for Frontiere(s), Gens said: "It came from the events in 2002, when we had the presidential elections [in France]. There was an extreme right party in the second round. That was the most horrible day of my life. The idea of Frontiere(s) came to me then...".[37]
Martyrs[edit]
Pascal Laugier's Martyrs was the subject of similar contention upon its debut at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, where early reporting highlighted viewers' divergent reactions to the film's violence and socio-philosophical themes. Anton Bitel of Britain's Film4 praised the film, saying it "eludes the 'torture porn' label precisely by questioning what those terms might mean, what appeal they might possibly have, and what questions - fundamental, even metaphysical questions - they might answer".[38] Jamie Graham of Total Film called Martyrs "one of the most extreme pictures ever made, and one of the best horror movies of the last decade".[13] He also likened it to "a torture-porn movie for Guardian readers", one that owed as much to Francis Bacon and Raphael as to its genre contemporaries.[13] By contrast, writer and film scholar Jon Towlson says Martyrs' "political intentions are less overt, more ambivalent and ultimately nihilistic" compared to its contemporaries.[27] "Putting the audience 'through it,'" he says, "is the film's raison d'etre"[27]
Commenting on the controversy surrounding his film to IndieLondon, director Laugier said he felt "insulted" by many critics' misinterpretations of Martyrs.[15]
New wave of French horror[edit]
Some films considered as part of the New French Extremity rework elements of the horror genre. Other contemporary French horror films with a similar sensibility include Trouble Every Day, Sheitan, Ils, Haute Tension, Frontier(s) and À l'interieur. The Belgian film Calvaire has also been associated with this trend.[39]
Pascal Laugier, director of the controversial horror film Martyrs, disagrees with the idea of there being a horror revival in France: “ | The fact is that we are much more successful in foreign countries and in our homeland it's always the same stuff where you're never a prophet..What I mean is that even the horror fans, the French ones, they are very condescending about French horror films. It's still a hell to find the money, a hell to convince people that we are legitimate to make this kind of movie in France. So I know from an American point of view and probably an English one too, there is a kind of new wave of modern horror film, but it's not true. It's still hell. My country produces almost 200 films a year and there are like 2 or 3 horror films. It's not even an industry, French horror cinema is very low budget, it's kinda prototype. I think that a genre really exists when it's industrially produced like the Italians did 600spaghetti westerns. So we can't really say that there is a wave of horror in French Cinema, I don't believe it.[40] | ” |
Laugier does, however, acknowledge the existence of a broader wave of new European horror. He notes Spain, France, England and Sweden as contributors.[41]
Examples[edit]
List of films associated with New French Extremity[edit] * À l'intérieur, a.k.a. Inside * Baise-moi * Demonlover * Enter the Void * Frontiere(s) * Haute Tension, a.k.a. High Tension, a.k.a. Switchblade Romance * Ils, a.k.a. Them * Intimacy * Irréversible * La Chatte à deux têtes, a.k.a. Glowing Eyes * La vie nouvelle * Ma mère * Martyrs * Pola X * The Pornographer * Secret Things * Seul Contre Tous, a.k.a. I Stand Alone * Sheitan * Sombre * Trouble Every Day
List of directors associated with New French Extremity[edit] * Alexandre Aja * Olivier Assayas * Bertrand Bonello * Catherine Breillat * Jean-Claude Brisseau * Alexandre Bustillo * Leos Carax * Patrice Chéreau * Claire Denis * Virginie Despentes * Vincent Dieutre * Bruno Dumont * Xavier Gens * Philippe Grandrieux * Christophe Honoré * Pascal Laugier * Julien Maury * Gaspar Noé * Jacques Nolot * François Ozon * Coralie Trinh Thi * Marina de Van
Legacy and influence[edit]
The New French Extremity movement has influenced filmmakers in other countries, particularly in Europe, prompting some to suggest that a greater movement of European Extremity is afoot.[42][43][44][45]
Some filmmakers associated with the New French Extremity have gone on to make mainstream horror films for major American studios. Alexandre Aja, director of France's High Tension, went on to direct a remakeof Wes Craven's 1977 exploitation/revenge film The Hills Have Eyes. Xavier Gens, director of France's Frontiere(s), had already directed a major Hollywood adaptation of the popular Hitman video game series whenFrontiere(s) was released, and went on to make the English-language The Divide.
Further reading[edit] * Palmer, Tim (2011). Brutal Intimacy: Analyzing Contemporary French Cinema. Wesleyan University Press. * Horeck, Tanya; Kendall, Tina (2011). The New Extremism in Cinema: From France to Europe. Edinburgh University Press.

French impressionist cinema
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from French Impressionist Cinema) | This article has an unclear citation style. The references used may be made clearer with a different or consistent style of citation, footnoting, or external linking. (December 2012) |
French impressionist cinema, also referred to as the first avant-garde or narrative avant-garde, is a term applied to a group of French films and filmmakers of the 1920s.
Film scholars have had much difficulty in defining this movement or for that matter deciding whether it should be considered a movement at all. David Bordwell has attempted to define a unified stylistic paradigm and set of tenets. 1 Others, namely Richard Abel, criticize these attempts and group the films and filmmakers more loosely, based on a common goal of “exploration of the process of representation and signification in narrative film discourse.” 2 Still others such as Dudley Andrew would struggle with awarding any credibility at all as “movement.” 3
Contents
[hide] * 1Filmmakers and films (selection) * 2Periodization * 3Stylistic paradigm * 4Relation to/deviation from Hollywood stylistics * 5Criticism * 6Theory * 7Notes * 8External links
Filmmakers and films (selection)[edit] * Abel Gance (La Dixième symphonie (1918), J’Accuse (1919), La Roue (1922), and above all, Napoléon (1927)) * Jean Epstein (Coeur fidèle (1923), Six et demi onze (1927), La Glace a Trois Face (1928), The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)) * Germaine Dulac (The Smiling Madame Beudet (1922)) * Marcel L'Herbier (El Dorado (1921)) * Louis Delluc – critic/theorist * Jean Renoir (Nana (1926))
Periodization[edit]
1. Pictorialism (beginning in 1918): made up of films that focus mainly on manipulation of the film as image, through camerawork, mise-en-scene, and optical devices.
2. Montage (beginning in 1923): at which point rhythmic and fast paced editing became more widely used.
3. Diffusion (beginning in 1926): at which point films and filmmakers began to pursue other stylistic and formal modes.
Stylistic paradigm[edit]
Based on David Bordwell’s family resemblance model: 4
I. Camerawork
A. Camera distance: close-up (as synecdoche, symbol or subjective image)
B. Camera angle (high or low)
C. Camera movement (independent of subject, for graphic effects, point of view)
II. Mise-en-scene
A. Lighting (single source, shadows indicating off-screen actions, variety of lighting situations)
B. Décor
C. Arrangement and movement of figures in space
III. Optical devices
A. As transitions
B. As magical effects
C. As emphasizing significant details
D. As pictoral decoration
E. As conveyors of abstract meanings
F. As indications of objectivity (mental images, semi-subjective images, optical subjectivity)
IV. Characteristic editing patterns
A. Temporal relations between shots (Flashback or fantasy)
B. Spatial relation between shots (synthetic, glance/object, crosscutting)
C. Rhythmic relations between shots
Relation to/deviation from Hollywood stylistics[edit]
However, even Marcel L’Herbier, one of the chief filmmakers associated with the movement, admitted to an ununified theoretical stance: “None of us – Dulac, Epstein, Delluc or myself – had the same aesthetic outlook. But we had a common interest, which was the investigation of that famous cinematic specificity. On this we agreed completely.” 5
Richard Abel’s re-evaluation of Bordwell’s analysis sees the films as a reaction to conventional stylistic and formal paradigms, rather than Bordwell’s resemblance model. Thus Abel refers to the movement as the Narrative Avant-Garde. He views the films as a reaction to narrative paradigm found in commercial filmmaking, namely that of Hollywood, and is based on literary and generic referentiality, narration through intertitles, syntactical continuity, a rhetoric based on verbal language and literature, and a linear narrative structure 6, then subverts it, varies it, deviates from it.
Criticism[edit]
The movement is also often credited with the origins of film criticism and Louis Delluc is often cited as the first film critic. The movement published journals and periodicals reviewing recent films and discussing trends and ideas about cinema.
Cine-clubs were also formed by filmmakers and enthusiasts, which screened hand picked films: select American fare, German and Swedish films, but most often films made by the members of the clubs themselves.
Theory[edit]
The narrative avant-garde did have a theoretical base, although its divergent articulation by different writer-filmmakers has confused the issue to a certain extent. Much of it is an extension of Symbolist poetics that posit a realm beyond matter and our immediate sense experience that art and the artist attempt to reveal and express 7. Bordwell goes on to point out the massive holes in this theorization, that the true nature of reality and experience are never established. Holes aside, the narrative avant-garde explores the perception of reality, and does so through two main concepts: subjectivity and photogénie. Neither of these terms is easily explainable, if at all, but that is part of the point — for these filmmakers explored an unattainable understanding that can only be reached for. French impressionism destabilized familiar or objective ways of seeing, creating new dynamics of human perception. Using strange and imaginative effects, it altered traditional views and aimed to question the norm of the film industry at the time.
Subjectivity
Through the properties noted above in Bordwell’s stylistic paradigm, filmmakers sought to portray the internal state of the character or characters and in some of the later and more complex films attempt to bring the audience into the equation as subjective participant.
Photogénie
Photogénie occurs at the meeting of the profilmic (what is in front of the camera) and the mechanical and the filmmaker. It is above all a defamiliarization of the spectator with what appears on screen. It is a property that cannot be found in “reality” itself, a camera that is simply switched on does not record it, and a filmmaker cannot simply point it out. As Aitken summarizes, “…fully realized photogénie could only be manifested when its latent power was employed to express the vision of the film-maker, so that the inherent poetry of the cinema could be harnessed, and developed in a revelatory manner by the auteur” 8. However, the narrative avant-garde lacked a theoretical and philosophical base upon which these notions rest and thus the concept of photogénie is always on the edge of an inexplicable mysticism that many critics cannot accept.

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