French Film Noir

Overview

Since the earliest days of cinema, filmgoers have delighted in the depiction of violence, criminality and sudden death. Evil, whether it is portrayed in psychological, social or spiritual terms, has long held a deep and lasting fascination for our culture. This wide-ranging study of film noir analyzes the peculiarly French contribution to the crime thriller/gangster movie genres inspired as they were by American crime films of the thirties and forties. The author shows how such directors as Melville, Becker, ...
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Overview

Since the earliest days of cinema, filmgoers have delighted in the depiction of violence, criminality and sudden death. Evil, whether it is portrayed in psychological, social or spiritual terms, has long held a deep and lasting fascination for our culture. This wide-ranging study of film noir analyzes the peculiarly French contribution to the crime thriller/gangster movie genres inspired as they were by American crime films of the thirties and forties. The author shows how such directors as Melville, Becker, Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol and Corneau have responded to the demand for films that are satisfying as fiction while at the same time preserving a plausible background of French life and society. From the German Occupation to the present day, Buss relates these films to French, American and British traditions of crime fiction, and shows how the genre has been used for pure entertainment and political and social comment. He pinpoints Parisian mobsters who use American-style tommy-guns and German stick grenades but follow their own codes and use their own heavily charged argot; and where the virtues of provincial life hide moral uncertainty and festering evil. French Film Noir contains in-depth studies of a number of works, including Becker's Touchez pas au grisbi and Chabrol's Le Boucher, the political thrillers of Costa-Gavras, Bresson's intimate ethical studies and Jean Luc Godard's reworking of the French movie hero, wise-cracking neanderthal private eye Lemmy Caution in Alphaville. He analyzes more recent works such as Patrice Leconte's Monsieur Hire, Bob Swain's La Balance together with Luc Bresson's Nikita and the Franco-Dutch production The Vanishing, both recently remodelled as big-budget Hollywood movies. Fully illustrated with stills from the movies, French Film Noir contains complete details of the 100 most important films discussed, plot summaries and a filmography.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714529639
  • Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

I In Black and White 7
II La Route de Villennes 29
III Jazz 50
IV Criminal types 70
V Police 99
VI Serie Noire 118
VII Back to Base 139
Filmography: One Hundred and One French Films Noirs 155
Bibliography 217
Index 218
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