French National Cinema
Routledge – 1993 – 360 pages
Series: National Cinemas
This examination of France's national cinema takes its primary artefact, the feature film and discusses both popular cinema and the `avant garde' cinema that contests it.
Susan Hayward argues that writing on French national cinema has tended to focus on either `great' film-makers or on specific movements, addressing moments of exception rather than the global picture. Her work offers a thorough and much-needed historical textualisation of those moments and relocates them them in their wider political and cultural context. Beginning with an `ecohistory' of the French film industry, she then traces the various movements in French cinema and the directors associated with them, including the avant-garde, Poetic-Realist, New Wave and today's postmodern cinema. Her analysis includes, amongst other considerations, the social and political concerns these cinemas reflect.
'This factual and analytical book offer[s] the reader an encompassing and informative introduction to a "global picture" of French cinema.' - Scope
'This is an ambitious and useful text … this is a worthy and in many ways a very helpful edition of a text that has played an important role in encouraging new ways of thinking about French film history.' – Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television
Preface Introduction: Defining the "national" of a country's cinematic production 1. A brief ecohistory of France's cinema industry 2. Magical moments of musical silence: French cinema's classical age 3. From clarity to obscurity: French cinema's age of modernism 4. From ideology to narcissism Conclusion Bibliography