Cinema of France

From Academic Kids

France has been influential in the development of film as a mass medium and as an art form.

Contents

History

Late 19th century to early 20th century

In the late 19th century, during the early years of cinema, France produced several important pioneers. Auguste and Louis Lumière invented the cinématographe and their screening of L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de la Ciotat in Paris in 1895 is marked by many historians as the official birth of cinema. During the next few years, filmmakers all over the world started experimenting with this new medium, and France's Georges Méliès was influential. He invented many of the techniques now common in the cinematic language, and made the first ever science fiction film A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune, 1902).

Other early individuals and organizations of this period included Gaumont Pictures and Pathé Frères. Alice Guy Blaché was one of the first pioneers in cinema. She made her first film in 1896, 'La Fée au Choux', and was head of production at Gaumont 1897-1906, where she made in total about 400 films. Her career continued in the United States.

Beginning in 1935, renowned playright and actor Sacha Guitry directed his first film. He made more than 30 films that are seen as the precursor to the new wave era.

In 1937 Jean Renoir, the son of famous 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 movie critic's have cited this film as one of the greatest of all-time.

Marcel Carne'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 the conditions during the Nazi occupation. Set in Paris in 1828, the film 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: 1940s-1970s

In the critical magazine Cahiers du cinéma founded by André Bazin, critics and lovers of film would discuss film and why it worked. Modern film theory was born there. Additionally, Cahiers critics such as Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, etc. went on to make films themselves, creating what was to become known as the French New Wave. Some of the first movies of this new genre was Truffaut's The 400 Blows (Les Quatre Cent Coups, 1959) starring Jean-Pierre Léaud and Godard's Breathless (À bout de souffle, 1960), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Personalities from this period

1980s

When Jean-Jacques Beineix made Diva (1981) it sparked the beginning of the 80s 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 Leos Carax.

1990s

In 1991, Jean-Pierre Jeunet made Delicatessen. In 1995 The City of Lost Children (La Cité des enfants perdus) came out. Both films featured a distinctive style.

In the mid-1990s, Krzysztof Kieslowski released his Three colors trilogy, Blue, White and Red. Mathieu Kassovitz's film Hate (La Haine, 1995) made Vincent Cassel into a star.

In 2001 after a brief stint in Hollywood with the fourth Alien film (Alien: Resurrection), Jeunet returned to France with Amélie (Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) starring Audrey Tautou and Kassovitz.

Current situation

As the advent of television threatened the life of cinema itself, countries were faced with the problem of reviving cinema-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 such as the United States are fairly reluctant to import foreign movies. 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 and special effects. Interestingly, the once prospering filmmaking industry of countries such as Italy has now largely been eliminated. The French government has therefore implemented various measures aimed at supporting local film production and movie theaters, including:

  • the Canal Plus TV channel has a broadcast license imposing that it should 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;
  • the sale of DVDs and videocassettes of movies shown in theaters is prohibited for six months after the showing in theaters, so as to ensure some revenue for movie theaters.

Notable contemporary French cinema personalities

Actors

Directors

LITERATURE

  • Armes, Roy. 1985. French Cinema. London: Secker and Warburg
  • Aumont, Jaques. 2000 2nd ed. 'The Fall of the Gods: Jea-Luc *Godard's Le Mepris (1963). Hayward, Susan and Vincendeau, Ginette.eds. French Film: texts and contexts. London: Routledge
  • Austen, Guy. 1996. Contemporary French Cinema. Manchester: Manchester University Press
  • Boston, Richard. Boudu Saved From Drowning. London: BFI
  • Burch, Noel and Sellier, Genevieve. 2000. 'Evil Women in the Post-war French Cinema'. Sieglohr, Ulrike.ed. Heroines Without Heroes. London: Cassell
  • Condron, Anne Marie. 1997. Cinema' . Perry, Sheila.Ed. Aspects of Contemporary France London : Routledge
  • Douchet, Jean. 1999. French New Wave. New York: Distributed Art Publishers
  • Flitterman-Lewis, Sandy. 1996. To Desire Differently: Feminism and the French Cinema. New York: Columbia University Press
  • Forbes, Jill. 2000. 'La Haine'. In Forbes, Jill and Street, Sarah. European Cinema: An Introduction. London: Palgrave
  • Forbes, Jill. Les Enfants du Paradise. London: BFI
  • Forbes , Jill. 1992 . The Cinema in France After the New Wave. Basingstoke : Macmillan
  • Gillain, Anne. 2000 2nd ed. 'The Script of Delinquency: Francois Truffaut's Les 400 coups' (1959). Hayward, Susan and Vincendeau, Ginette.eds. French Film: texts and contexts. London: Routledge
  • Graham , Peter. 1997. ' New directions in French Cinema'. Nowell - Smith Geoffrey Ed : Oxford History of World Cinema :Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Greene, Naomi. Landscapes of Loss: The National Past in Postwar French Cinema. Princeton: Princeton University Press
  • Hayes, Graeme. 1999. 'Representation, Masculinity, Nation: The Crises of Les Amant du Pont-Neuf (Carax 1991).' Powrie, Phil. Ed. French Cinema in the 1990s: Continuity and Difference. Oxford: OUP
  • Hayward, Susan. 2000 2nd ed. 'Beyond the Gaze and into femme filmcriture: Agnes Varda's Sans toit ni loit'. Hayward, Susan and Vincendeau, Ginette.eds. French Film: texts and contexts. London: Routledge
  • Hayward, Susan. 1993. French National Cinema. London: Routledge
  • Hayward, Susan. 2002. 'Luc Besson'. Tasker, Yvonne. ed. Fifty Contemporary Filmmakers : Routledge: London
  • Hayward, Susan. 2000 2nd ed. 'Recycled woman and the postmodern aesthetic: Luc Besson's Nikita (1990). Hayward, Susan and Vincendeau, Ginette.eds. French Film: texts and contexts. London: Routledge
  • Hayward, Susan and Vincendeau, Ginette.eds. 2000 2nd ed. French Film: texts and contexts. London: Routledge
  • Hughes, Alex and Williams James S. Eds. 2001. Gender and French Cinema. Oxford: Berg
  • Hughes, Alex and Williams, James S. 2001. ' Introduction'. Hughes, Alex and Williams, James S. Eds. Gender and French Cinema. Oxford: Berg
  • Jackel, Anne. 1996. ' European Co-production Strategies: the Case of France and Britain'. Moran, Albert Ed. Film Policy. London: Routledge
  • Jackson, Julian. 2001. France the Dark Years. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Jeancolas, Jean-Pierre. 2000 2nd ed. 'Beneath the despair, the show goes on: MarcelCarne's Les Enfants du paradis (1943-45). Hayward, Susan and Vincendeau, Ginette.eds. French Film: texts and contexts. London: Routledge
  • Kaplan, Nelly. Napoleon. London: BFI
  • Kedward, H. R. 2000.'The Anti-Carnival of Collaboration'. Hayward, Susan and Vincendeau, Ginette.eds. French Film: texts and contexts. London: Routledge
  • Konstantarakos, Myrto. 1999.'Which Mapping ofthe City? La Haine (Kassovitz, 1995) and the cinema de banlieue.' Powrie, Phil. Ed. French Cinema in the 1990s: Continuity and Difference. Oxford: OUP
  • Lanzoni, Remi. 2002. French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present. London: Continuum
  • Leahy Sarah and Hayward Susan. 2000. 'The Tainted Woman: Simone Signoret, Site of Pathology or Agent of Retribution? Sieglohr, Ulrike.ed. Heroines Without Heroes. London: Cassell
  • Marie, Michel. 2003. (Trans Neupert) The French New Wave, an Artistic School. Oxford: Blackwell
  • Marie, Michel. 2000 2nd ed. '"It really does make you sick!': Jean-Luc Godard's a bout de souffle (1959)". Hayward, Susan and Vincendeau, Ginette.eds. French Film: texts and contexts. London: Routledge
  • Neupert, Richard.2002. A History of the French New Wave Cinema. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Perry, Sheila.Ed.1997. Aspects of Contemporary France. London : Routledge
  • Powrie, Phil. Ed. 1999. French Cinema in the 1990s: Continuity and Difference. Oxford: OUP
  • Powrie, Phil. 1999. 'Heritage, History, and 'New Realism': French Cinema in the 1990s'. Powrie, Phil. Ed. French Cinema in the 1990s: Continuity and Difference. Oxford: OUP
  • Powrie, Phil. 2002. 'Jean-Jaques Beneix'. Tasker, Yvonne. Ed Fifty Contemporary Filmakers. London: Routledge
  • Predal, R. 1991 Le Cinema Francais depuis 1945. Paris Nathan
  • Reader, Keith. 2002. 'Laisser-passer'. Sight and Sound Volume 12 Issue 11, pp 49-50
  • Sellier, Genevieve. 2001. 'Gender, Modernism and Mass Culture in the New Wave.' Hughes, Alex and Williams, James S. Eds. Gender and French Cinema. Oxford: Berg
  • Sorlin, Pierre. 2000 2nd ed. 'A breath of sea air: Jacques Tati's Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1952). Hayward, Susan and Vincendeau, Ginette.eds. French Film: texts and contexts. London: Routledge
  • Tarr, Carrie. 1999. 'Ethnicity and Identity in the cinema de banlieue'. Powrie, Phil. Ed. French Cinema in the 1990s: Continuity and Difference. Oxford: OUP
  • Thompson, David. 2003. 'Lust for Life'. Sight and Sound. August Vol 13 / Issue 8, pp 30-33
  • Vincendeau, Ginette. 2003. 'Ageing Cool'. Sight and Sound. September, Vol 13 Issue 9 pp 26-28
  • Vincendeau, Ginette. 2000 2nd ed. 'Designs on the banlieu: Mathieu Kassovitz's La Haine (1995). Hayward, Susan and Vincendeau, Ginette.eds. French Film: texts and contexts. London: Routledge
  • Vincendeau, Ginette. 2003. Jean-Pierre Melville. London: BFI
  • Vincendeau, Ginette. 1998. Pepe le Moko. London: BFI
  • Vincendeau, Ginette. 1997. 'The Popular Art of French Cinema'. Nowell - Smith Geoffrey Ed : Oxford History of World Cinema :Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Vincendeau, Ginette. 2000. Stars and Stardom in French Cinema. London: Continuum
  • Vincendeau, Ginette. 'White Collar Blues'. Sight and Sound Volume 12 Issue 4, pp 30-32. ( on Laurent Cantet)
  • Warner, Mary. 1993. L'Atalante. London : BFI
  • Williams, Alan. 1992. Republic of Images: A History of French Filmaking. Cambridge Mass. : Harvard

See also

ja:フランス映画 pt:Cinema francês

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