France Cinema Part I

After May 1968 and its repercussions in the works of J.-L. Godard, A. Resnais, L. Malle, J. Rivette, as well as those of politically or poetically engaged young directors such as M. Karmitz and P. Garrel, French cinema quickly falls into the ranks. Once the propulsive thrust of the Nouvelle Vague is exhausted (see cinematography, App. IV, i, p. 448), we proceed to the restoration of genres: the detective, first of all, which boasts a long national tradition inspiring both auteur films (by C. Chabrol, C. Miller, A. Corneau, J. Bral and P. Leconte, protagonists the rebirth of the genre in the 1970s and 1980s) and more commercial products such as those of J. Deray, Y. Boisset, France Girod, E. Molinaro, G. Lautner; the comedy, in which the directors C. Zidi, G. Oury, Y. Robert, JP Mocky, J. Girault, France Veber stand out; the intimate and sentimental vein, represented at different levels by C. Sautet, C. Lelouche, C. Pinoteau.

A priority role in this commercial production is played by the actors: J.-P. Belmondo and A. Delon, undisputed stars of the seventies, dominate the box-office passing from one genre to another until their sudden decline in the eighties. On another side L. de Funès and P. Richard ensure the fortunes of the comic film. At the same time, a new school of actors and directors from the café-théâtre emerged: G. Depardieu, who became the symbol of French cinema in the second half of the seventies and eighties, P. Dewaere, Coluche, M. Blanc, G. Jugnot, D. Auteuil, Miou-Miou, D. Lavanant, Anémone, J. Bolasko, G. Lanvin. To these talents, trained at R. Bouteille’s ” Café de la Gare ” and ” Splendid ”, we owe the new moods of French comedy, its most iconoclastic and mocking vein.

On the other hand, commercial cinema coexists with auteur cinema: while the veterans of the Nouvelle Vague, very active in the last twenty years, continue on various artistic itineraries already outlined, new names are imposed, confirming the experimentalistic vocation of cinema French, his ability to preserve and nurture a production linked to an undisturbed concept of the author.

According to payhelpcenter, Truffaut chooses to operate at the center and not at the margins of the market by making some of his most significant films (Les deux anglaises et le continent, The two English, 1971; La nuit américaine, Effetto notte, 1973; La chambre verte, La green room, 1978; Le dernier métro, The last metro, 1980; La femme d’à côté, The lady next door, 1981; Vivement dimanche!, Finally Sunday, 1983) before dying prematurely in 1984.

For his part, E. Rohmer, after finishing the series of ” Contes moraux ” in 1972, realizes La Marquise d’O (La marchesa von …, 1976), based on a short story by H. von Kleist, and Perceval le Gallois (Perceval, 1979), from Chrétien de Troyes, an aristocratic and poetic reinterpretation in verse of medieval myth. From 1981, with La femme de aviateur, he began the series ” Comédies et Proverbes ”, accelerating the pace of his own activity (one film a year) and representing, for his particular productive choices of poverty and independence, a singular model of autarchy of author.

Resnais makes other feature films (including Providence, 1976; Mon oncle d’Amérique, 1980; La vie est un roman, La vita è un novel, 1983; L’Amour à mort, 1984; Mélo, 1986; I want to go home, I want to go home, 1989), in which he confirms his talent through an elitist, mental, literary language, in the most positive meanings of these terms, and allows himself amiable digressions.

Godard remains the tireless standard-bearer of experimentalism, author of a non-fiction, self-reflective, metalinguistic cinema extremely attentive to mass-media changes. After a period on television with the Sonimage Society and A.-M. Miéville, he returned to traditional cinema making Sauve qui peut la vie (Si salvi chi chi [life], 1979), Passion (1982), Prénom Carmen (1983) with which won the Golden Lion in Venice, the film-scandal Je vous salue Marie (1985), Détective (1985), King Lear(1987), Soigne ta droite (Cura la tua right, 1988), Nouvelle Vague (1990), Allemagne neuf-zero (1991).

Among the veterans, Chabrol and his intelligent acquaintances with the police still remain to be mentioned; Rivette, an author dedicated to rigorous and extreme expressive research, who will reach very appreciable results with La belle noiseuse, La bella scontrosa, in 1991; J. Demy, with his elaborate and modern fairy tales; A. Varda who in 1985 won in Venice with Sans toit ni loi (Without roof or law); Malle who moved to America in 1978 and was also awarded at the Venice Exhibition (1987) for Au revoir les enfants (Goodbye boys), as also happens to Rohmer for Le rayon vert (The green ray, 1986).

Beyond the circle of the former Nouvelle Vague, R. Bresson, the undisputed master of French and international cinema, continues to operate, always far from fashions and movements, who in the twenty years in question has only made four films: Quatre nuits d’un rêveur ( Four Nights of a Dreamer, 1971), based on Dostoevsky; Lancelot du Lac (Lancelot and Geneva, 1974), on the Breton myth; Le diable probablement (The devil probably…, 1978), on youthful despair, and L’argent (1983), adapted from a short story by Tolstoy, with extensive references to Dostoevsky.

France Cinema 1