One of the most gifted directors of the post New Wave, Maurice Pialat is frequently compared to such legendary filmmakers as Jean Renoir and Robert Bresson. A quintessentially realist filmmaker, who, like Bresson, was trained as a painter, Pialat’s particular form of realism influenced an entire generation of young filmmakers in the nineties. This volume is the first book-length study of Pialat’s cinema in English. It provides an introduction to a complex and difficult director, who saw imself as a marginal and marginalised filmmaker, but whose films are deeply rooted in French society and culture. Pialat was long considered the only major filmmaker to portray ‘la France profonde’, the heart of France – the people who, as he put it, ‘take the subway’. Taken as a whole, Pialat’s work can be seen both as an oblique autobiography and the portrait of a fundamental institution – the family – over several generations, from the Third Republic through the end of the nineties. The power of Pialat’s realism has often overshadowed his formal originality and this study gives equal attention to formal issues, including the crucial role of montage in the elaboration of his filmic narratives. The volume provides a brief biographical sketch of the filmmaker, situating Pialat’s work in relation to the New Wave and the popular Saturday night cinema of his childhood, as well as giving an overview of the major themes and formal preoccupations of his work. Subsequent chapters provide readings of each of his full length films. This volume is essential to any collection on film – or French film – and French studies. It makes an indirect contribution to studies of the family and also to the genre of autobiography.
Subjects: Performing Arts
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