Maurice Pialat

Marja Warehime

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780719068225
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703267 | DOI:
Maurice Pialat

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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, his particular form of realism influenced an entire generation of young filmmakers in the 1990s. This study of Pialat's cinema in English provides an introduction to a complex and difficult director, who saw himself 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, his 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. It provides a brief biographical sketch of the filmmaker, situating his 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 Pialat's full-length films.

Keywords: post New Wave; Maurice Pialat; filmmaker; realism; director; French society; la France profonde; family; Third Republic; montage

Book.  192 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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