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Studying French Cinema$
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Sarah Perks, Isabelle Vanderschelden, and Andy Willis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781906733162

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906733162.001.0001

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(p.7) Introduction
Studying French Cinema

Isabelle Vanderschelden

Liverpool University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the French cinema. The French like to think the first cinematic experiments originated from France in 1895 with the realist cinema of the Lumière Brothers' Sortie d'usine/Workers Leaving the Factory and L'Arrivée du train dans la gare de la Ciotat/Arrival of a Train at a Station, and the magical film moments of Georges Méliès's Voyage dans la lune/A Trip to the Moon (1902). These directors initiated a polarised vision of French cinema, which led to the familiar distinctions between realism and fantasy, documentary and fiction film. Even nowadays, French films continue to be introduced and defined in reviews and essays in relation to these two poles. A third early influence was the intellectual cinema of ideas of Louis Delluc in the 1910s and his critical writings, which initiated the first avant-garde period of French cinema after the First World War and have remained a fundamental influence for French cinema. The chapter then outlines some of the main key concepts underlying Film Studies, such as the importance of 'Auteur theory' and certain generic specificities associated with French films.

Keywords:   French cinema, Lumière Brothers, Georges Méliès, French films, cinema of ideas, Louis Delluc, French avant-garde, post-war French cinema, Auteur theory

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