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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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Louis Malle’s (Hi)stories of the Occupation

Louis Malle’s (Hi)stories of the Occupation

(p.111) Chapter Five: Louis Malle’s (Hi)stories of the Occupation
Studying French Cinema

Isabelle Vanderschelden

Isabelle Vanderschelden

Liverpool University Press

This chapter assesses Louis Malle, who holds a unique, yet rather marginal, place in French cinema as a film-maker with an exceptional career in France and abroad. He made his first films on the margins of the French New Wave, without really becoming a part of it, but adopting some of the new trends and strategies of the emerging directors of that period. Malle was able to plan and direct his next films enjoying the freedom and independence associated with 'auteur' film-makers. His cinema oscillated throughout his career between the forms of fiction and documentary. The chapter looks at two of Malle's films which fall into the fiction category: Lacombe Lucien (1974) and Au revoir les enfants (1987). These films illustrate how closely Malle linked his fiction work to some of the 'direct cinema' techniques that he explored in his documentaries, in order to create a cinema of instinct and improvisation without trying to organise reality.

Keywords:   Louis Malle, French cinema, auteur film-makers, fiction films, documentary films, direct cinema

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