French Cinema: A Critical Filmography - Vol. 2

French Cinema: A Critical Filmography - Vol. 2

French Cinema: A Critical Filmography - Vol. 2

French Cinema: A Critical Filmography - Vol. 2

Synopsis

This invaluable resource by one of the world's leading experts in French cinema presents a coherent overview of French cinema in the 20th century and its place and function in French society. Each filmography includes 101 films listed chronologically (Volume 1: 1929-1939 and Volume 2: 1940-1958) and provides accessible points of entry into the remarkable world of 20th-century French cinema. All entries contain a list of cast members and characters, production details, an overview of the film's cultural and historical significance, and a critical summary of the film's plot and narrative structure. Each volume includes an appendix listing rewards earned and an extensive reference list for further reading and research. A third volume, covering the period 1958-1974, is forthcoming.

Excerpt

The films dealt with in this filmography were produced during a time of intense political, social, and institutional change. the most dramatic events, of course, relate to World War ii, so the period can initially be divided into two distinct if unequal sections: first, the war years (September 1939–September 1945, including the German occupation of France from June 1940 to August 1944), and second, the postwar period, marked by progressive prosperity, reconstruction, and the development of what was to become known as neo-capitalism or consumer capitalism. If the declaration of war provides a clear-cut initial date for this filmography, the terminal date is less obvious. in political terms, however, the period 1946–1958 corresponds to France’s Fourth Republic and ends with the signing into existence of the Common Market, while in institutional terms, the years 1958–1960 saw the production (and, for the most part, release) of the first feature films by many of those directors later classified as the New Wave—Claude Chabrol (Le Beau Serge and Les Cousins, both produced in 1958), François Truffaut (Les 400 Coups, 1958), Alain Resnais (Hiroshima mon amour, 1958), Pierre Kast (Le Bel Âge, 1958), Jacques Rivette (Paris nous appartient, 1958), Jacques Doniol-Valcroze (L’Eau à la bouche, 1959), Jean-Luc Godard (À bout de souffle, 1959), and Éric Rohmer (Le Signe du lion, 1959). Those years also saw the production of the final (or, where they continued, the final significant) films of most members of the previous “generations”—Julien Duvivier (Marie Octobre, La Femme et le pantin, 1959), Marcel Carné (Les Tricheurs, 1957, #101), the Allégret brothers, Claude Autant-Lara (La Jument verte, 1959), Henri-Georges Clouzot (La Vér ité, 1960), Abel Gance and Roger Richebé (Austerlitz, 1959), Jean Delannoy (La Princesse de Clèves, 1960), and Jacques Becker (Le Trou, 1959), while both Jean Cocteau and Jean Renoir metaphorically bade farewell to the cinema with Le Testament d’Orphée and Le Testament du Dr. Cordelier (both 1959), respectively. I have confined the entries here to feature-length films, so it is logical to leave all material related to the “apprenticeship” of those figures who established the New Wave—their short and mid-length films, many of which nevertheless created a degree of controversy—to be dealt with in the volume covering their ascendancy in the following decade.

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