André Téchiné by Bill Marshall

By Bill Marshall

This is the 1st full-length monograph in English approximately considered one of France's most crucial modern filmmakers, probably most sensible identified within the English-speaking global for his award-winning Les Roseaux sauvages/Wild Reeds of 1994. This learn locates André Téchiné inside historic and cultural contexts that come with the Algerian warfare, may perhaps 1968 and modern globalization, and the impact of Roland Barthes, Bertolt Brecht, Ingmar Bergman, William Faulkner, and the cinematic French New Wave. The originality of Téchiné's 16 function movies lies in his refined exploration of sexuality and nationwide identification, as he demanding situations expectancies in his depictions of homosexual relatives, the North African dimensions of latest French tradition, and the center-periphery dating among Paris and particularly his local southwest.

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This also means that a kind of Brechtian critical distance lingers on in Téchiné’s cinema, in that emotional identification with protagonists is refused in favour of a foregrounded portrait of social and psychic structures. The film’s spatial relations, other than outside–inside, are structured, prosaically, by that between province and city (a yearning on Branwell’s part even for Bradford, but most notably in the final London sequence). Isolation is emphasised at moments of departure and return with shots of carriages on the long, empty road leading to and from the parsonage, accompanied by the howling wind.

With a bigger budget than Souvenirs d’en France, produced by Alain Sarde with finance from Les Films de La Boétie – which made many of Claude Chabrol’s films of the period – and Sara Films, this highly stylised excursion into the romantic thriller genre, again co-written with Marilyn Goldin, is set in a northern, Frenchspeaking city (in fact the film was shot in Amsterdam). It casts Isabelle Adjani as Laure, whose boxer boyfriend Samson (Gérard Depardieu) is bribed by rival political factions and their supporters in organised crime in turn to confess to, then refute, homosexual involvement with one of the candidates at a forthcoming election.

Her reply marks a first concession to his discourse: ‘Elle meurt de soif, la septième’ (‘The seventh is dying of thirst’). He gets up to fetch more drinks and to put on some music ‘pour faire plus gai’: an Italian love ballad. The camera tracks him to the bar and jukebox. She looks out of the window, a point of view shot frames the empty platforms and seats. A medium close-up sees her popping some pills and resting her face on her hand. The camera follows Gilles back to the table, cutting from behind him to in front of him to watch his expression as he looks at Hélène, who has fallen asleep.

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