Friday, March 11, 2011

Is There a New New Wave of French Cinema?

In the new issue of Film Comment, Scott Foundas introduces Serge Bozon and other filmmakers who wrote for the film journal La Lettre du Cinema (from 1997-2005) much like Godard, Truffaut, and other French New Wave filmmakers in the sixties who started out writing for Cahiers du Cinema.

Foundas compares the Lettre du Cinema directors with other recent movements of French filmmakers, concluding:
In the case of Bozon and company, however, the “New Wave” analogy is arguably more apt, not only because they are a group of cinephile critics turned filmmakers, but because their work has been produced and distributed completely outside of the French studio system, under the auspices of a few maverick producers (in particular David Thion and Philippe Martin of the company Les Films Pelléas), and in at least one case (Jean-Charles Fitoussi’s 2008 magnum opus Je ne suis pas morte) entirely self-financed.
If Bozon, Ropert, and Fitoussi all bring varying degrees of whimsy to their work, Civeyrac could be considered the group’s tragic romanticist and Pierre Léon its brooding old Russian soul. All, if it isn’t already obvious, are devoted to narrative modes of storytelling in a way that runs counter to the verité fact/fiction hybrids and ethnographic minimalism that have become the dominant enthusiasms of international film festivals in recent years. And yet we are somehow still on the surface of these works, which are perhaps most striking for the uncommon sincerity and lack of postmodern snark with which they address such eternal dramatic questions as the nature of valor (Bozon), the possibility of true love (Fitoussi), and the existence of virtue in a corrupt society (Léon).
Definitely filmmakers to keep an eye on.

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