French Cinema in the 1980s: Nostalgia and the Crisis of Masculinity
French Cinema in the 1980s is a set of critical essays on films which help to focus on a particular theme whose roots are in the 1970s, and which extends beyond the 1980s into the 1990s: the crisis of masculinity in contemporary French culture, and itsinterrelationship with nostalgia. After an introduction which gives a brief overview both of the crisis in the French film industry during the 1980s, and of the socio-political crisis of masculinity in the wake of 1970s feminism, there are three sections: the retro-nostalgic film, which emerged during the 1980s, and two morepopular genres, the polar, or police thriller, and the comic film. Each section begins with a brief preface which highlights the major issues for the genre during the 1980s. The films discussed have all been distributed outside France, and are in many cases commercially available. The nostalgia section covers IUn amour de Swann, Un dimanche a la campagne, Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources, and Coup de foudre. The section on the police thriller begins with Truffaut'slast film, Vivement dimanche!, and includes a chapter on three thrillers by a variety of directors (La Balance, Police, Detective). Its main focus, however, is on thrillers by the directors of the cinema du look (Diva, Subway, Mauvais sang). The last section on the comic film looks at three filmswhich were successful both in France and abroad: Trois hommes et un couffin (remade in Hollywood as Three Men and a Baby), La Vie est un long fleuve tranquille and, finally, Depardieu's gamble at cross-dressing, Tenue de soiree.
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