La Grande Illusion: French Film Guide (Cine-Files: the French Film Guides)

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AbeBooks Bookseller Since: October 9, Stock Image. Published by I. New Condition: New Soft cover. Save for Later. Shipping: Free Within U. About this Item Directed by the great Jean Renoir, "La Grande Illusion" is the finest of all anti-war films and a cinematic masterwork. This title shows how, not content to register the world as it is, the film plays off competing historical possibilities against each other, facing the public with their responsibility to shape the future. Num Pages: pages, Illustrations, ports. Dimension: x x Weight in Grams: Books ship from the US and Ireland.

Publisher: I. About this title Synopsis: Directed by the great Jean Renoir, La Grande Illusion is the finest of all anti-war films and a cinematic masterwork. Store Description We carry a comprehensive range of out of print and rare books. Visit Seller's Storefront Terms of Sale: We guarantee the condition of every book as it's described on the Abebooks web sites.

La Grande Illusion - Official Trailer (1937)

M Legrand Simon , a mild-mannered, middle-aged cashier, paints as a means of expression, of escape from his shrewish wife and the tedium of his job. That is, a glorious experiment in, and exploration of, the nature of cinema. Wonderfully moving, with great performances. Remade by Fritz Lang as Scarlet Street.


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He gives us Malik Tahar Rahim , a French-Arab convict who enters a concrete-and-steel hell to serve a six-year sentence. But Malik is a clever individualist and he learns to read and write and exploits a friendship with another released French-Arab prisoner to pursue his own drug deals and invest in a power base within the jail. It bullies and persuades you to love Audiard's filmmaking style.

Time Out’s definitive countdown of the best French films – as chosen by industry experts

A colour and detail-enhanced IMAX version restores a previously omitted minute song-and-dance number. The effect flits between the wearying and engrossing, as some storylines and characters work far more than others. Four characters. A Mediterranean villa. Sun, sex and… suspicion. The ingredients are fairly simple in this star-powered psychological thriller which has remained underexposed outside of France.

This is a deliciously languid, slinkily unsettling affair.

Romy Schneider is all feline elegance and sphinx-like intelligence as the girlfriend of brooding wastrel Alain Delon. Their erotically charged St Tropez sojourn is interrupted by the arrival of flamboyantly smug Maurice Ronet with teenage jail-bait daughter Jane Birkin in tow.

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Little is said, but past indiscretions hang in the air. There they meet a local man, Gilbert Bernard Menez in his first role , whom they tease and tantalize mercilessly. A road movie set in the south of France, it chronicles — through a series of comic and touching vignettes — the burgeoning friendship among four men forced to share a station wagon.

Godard's return to celluloid after a decade of video is in one sense forced: his finances were drying up, and he himself admits that the film was made as a passport back into the business. But in another, this is his most personal work in years, less important for its return to narrative the story of two women and a man joined in almost arbitrary ways than for its chilled sense of autobiography - Dutronc plays an egotistical, washed-out video film-maker called 'Godard'. It would be hard to imagine a more courageous project; harder still to find one executed with the kind of wit and haunting elegance that have made Godard so revered.

One might describe L'Age d'Or as 63 minutes of coitus interruptus, a scabrous essay on Eros and civilisation, wherein a couple is constantly prised apart from furious love-making by the police, high society and, above all, the Church. Financed by the Vicomte de Noailles, a dream patron who loyally pronounced the film exquisite and delicious, even as right-wing extremists were pelting it with ink and stink bombs, this is a jagged memento of that Golden Age before directors forgot the art of filming erotica the celebrated toe-sucking is sexier by far than almost anything since , the revolutionary avant-garde lost its sense of humour, and surrealism itself fell prey to advertising-agency chic.

At the heart of this ambiguous world is Silien Belmondo , by repute a professional informer, who juggles twin friendships with a police inspector Crohem and a burglar Reggiani.


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  • Just out of jail, afraid he can't cut it in the underworld anymore, involved in an act of revenge that leaves him with a nasty taste in his mouth, Reggiani finds Crohem lurking in ambush when he undertakes his next job. Terrific performances, and equally terrific camerawork from Nicolas Hayer - more gris than noir - conjure a rivetingly treacherous, twilit world. Purists may object to Tavernier's treatment of Jim Thompson's excellent if sordid and sadistic thriller, Pop. Transferring the action from the American Deep South to French West Africa in the late '30s, Tavernier elicits a characteristically colourful performance from Noiret as the manic but outwardly easy going slob of a cop who initiates a private vendetta against the town's more obnoxious citizens by resorting to murder.

    Strange insights into the effects of racism and the complicity of its victims, embellished with black wit and an elegant visual sense. A child smiles in his toy-filled room as Santa emerges from the chimney-piece, but joy turns to terror as the bearded visitor is followed by more of the same; cut to a man screaming in a laboratory where, unable to dream himself, he has stolen the nightmare of a kidnapped orphan.

    Filmographies by Subject Areas

    The opening of another of Jeunet and Caro's forays into the fantastique is the perfect introduction to what's essentially a hugely inventive blend of dream, fairytale and myth, and to a strange, sinister sea-girt world that functions according to its own crazy logic. After his infant brother is abducted by a gang of semi-robotic Cyclops, strong-man One Perlman journeys to unite with feisty 9-year-old orphan Miette Vittet and go to the sea-rig laboratory inhabited by the evil Krank Emilfork , his six cloned brothers Pinon , their diminutive 'mother', and Uncle Irvin, a sardonic brain floating in a fish tank.

    Belmondo plays super-cop on the tops of Paris buildings and undergound trains, piling stunt on daredevil stunt and risking his neck for a particularly silly story. Like The Eiger Sanction, there's some mileage in seeing a star so blatantly performing his own stunts, crashing through plate-glass windows of high rise buildings while suspended from a helicopter, etc. But desperately little of the film's energy goes into a plot that combines a settling of an old score with a hunt for a one-eyed killer who strangles loose women.

    In , Warner Bros. The third of Rohmer's six moral tales, and the first of his films to achieve wide recognition. The collector of the title is a delectable nymphet, footloose in St Tropez, who makes a principle of sleeping with a different man every night until two friends, declining to become specimens, decide to take her moral well-being in hand.

    In the 18th century game which Rohmer transposes to a contemporary setting, this pair can be seen as intellect trying to dominate instinct, but only succeeding in rousing unwanted passions. Wryly and delightfully witty.

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    Duras' main protagonist is Anne-Marie Stretter Seyrig , a bored consular wife in '30s India, and the film details the languorous desperation that drives her to suicide. But the formal approach to this subject is like nothing before in film history: the 'drama' is entirely aural a play of off-screen voices blending with Carlos d'Alessio's utterly compulsive score , and the elegant visuals counterpoint it by creating an atmosphere of sumptuous enervation.

    Many will find it fascinating, not least because its sense of stifled anguish emerges without the least hint of aggression in the style. One of Chabrol's mid-period masterpieces, a brilliantly ambivalent scrutiny of bourgeois marriage and murder that juggles compassion and cynicism in a way that makes Hitchcock look obvious. The obligatory cross-references are still there blood in the sink; the exactly appropriate final use of simultaneous backtrack and forward zoom adapted from Vertigo , but they're no longer there to legitimise a vision now mature.

    Strong but subtle stuff. This serial saga in 10 episodes follows a band of robbers whose principals include Satanas, who keeps a howitzer behind the fireplace and a bomb under his top hat, and Irma Vep, the notorious anagram, to whom Olivier Assayas rendered homage 80 years later. There's a hero a resolute reporter , but all the interest goes to Irma and Co - their heists, their feuds with a rival gang and with the agents of law and order, all conducted by means of slaughter, gassing and sinking. There's a comic strip aspect, a roundelay of disguises, kidnappings, secret codes and acrobatic getaways.

    It's possible to overstate the extent to which all this is a bunch of fun: if shown, as it often is, in one great unnatural marathon, it can be sheer torture. Best viewed on tape.

    La Grande Illusion : French Film Guide by Martin O'Shaughnessy (Paperback, 2009)

    She exacts revenge by bedding a stranger and the couple separate. In a work of cinematic autofiction, Garrel provides a voluminous inventory of human feelings, while managing to avoid navel-gazing or excessive pathos. Making use of locals instead of professional actors lends authenticity to this impressive look at a group of otherwise innocuous teenage lads in a boring northern French town Bailleul in Flanders , driven to violence by a mixture of boredom, jealousy, macho pride and ingrained racism.

    Essentially it's a work of low key 'realism' in the Bressonian tradition albeit less obviously 'spiritual' , though it includes odd touches, such as the local marching band's unexpectedly dissonant music, and a couple of brief sequences involving body doubles so sexually frank they look like out-takes from Ai No Corrida. Le Masque describes how an old man wears a mask of youth at a dance hall to extend his youthful memories. La Maison Tellier, the longest episode, deals with a day's outing for the ladies from a brothel, and a brief romance.

    The whole is summed up by the concluding line, that 'happiness is no lark'. Adapted from a Georges Simenon novel, it more than lives up to its name: an icy nihilistic fable about a solitary eccentric whose strange habits draw increasing suspicion from his paranoid neighbours. Duvivier paints a bleak picture of human nature at its vilest and most cruel. In his second feature following Boy Meets Girl , Carax combines his personal concerns - young love, solitude - with the stylised conventions of the vaguely futuristic romantic thriller.

    Loner street-punk Alex Lavant joins a gang of elderly Parisian hoods whose plan to steal a serum that will cure an AIDS-like disease is complicated by the deadly rival strategies of a wealthy American woman, and by Alex falling for the young mistress of a fellow gang-member Piccoli. Again Carax's virtues are visual and atmospheric rather than narrative; while the script may occasionally smack of indulgent pretension, there is no denying the exhilarating assurance of individual sequences, and the consistency of Carax's moodily romantic vision.

    The film is, finally, affecting, thanks to a seemingly intuitive understanding of colour, movement and composition, and to an ability to draw from earlier films without ever seeming plagiaristic.

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    Imagine getting letters from a friend in Japan, full of images, sounds and ideas. He has a wry and very engaging sense of humour, is a movie fan, used to be an activist though was never much into 'ideology' , and is thoughtful and very well read. He wants to tell you stories, but he can't find a story big enough to deal with his sense of contrasts, his wish to grasp fleeting moments, his recurring memories.

    Above all he hopes to excite you, to share his secrets with you, to consolidate your friendship.