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The 400 films here reflect the finest of postwar French filmmaking. Organized by French title, with see references from English and alternate titles, each entry includes year of release, cast and production credits, running time, and an essay blending plot synopsis and critical commentary, all fully indexed.
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In a brief introduction, the author of French Films notes her intention to write a definitive film guide. While the result is a book of considerable charm, it nevertheless lacks the scope of a definitive work. She selected what she considers the 400 "most important releases." In terms of format, surely a chronological listing would have been more suitable to a historical overview than the alphabetical arrangement by French title used. (See references from English to French titles appear in the text and index.) Information on the films is complete in terms of production, and the credits go beyond major categories to include sound, costumes, and editing. Entries also note awards won and occasionally quote reviews. Annotations include a brief summary of the plot, critical comments, and remarks on the film's success in France (and sometimes the U.S.). Black-and-white stills are provided for some films.
Were this grouping of films hinged to a personal critical stance or historical perspective, the process of selection might itself be of interest. A recognizably personal critical standard is, however, difficult to identify, and French Films seems, with no denigration intended, less a work of reference than a particularly well-informed fan's book. To be fair, part of the difficulty may well be an authorial response to the films that is so positive as to undercut the referential intent. Certainly the critical tone of French Films is rosy and a bit diffuse. This said, Biggs obviously loves the French film and manages to make her love palpable to the reader.From Library Journal:
France is a movie-going and movie-loving country, and French directors like Louis Malle, Francois Truffaut, and Jean Luc Godard have contributed some great films to the postwar world cinema. This is a guide to 400 films the author considers representative of the variety of French filmmaking. Each film is described in a mini-essay, covering plot, cast and credit listings, critical reception, and reasons why the film can claim lasting significance. Main entries are in the French language, but cross indexing from the English makes individual films easy to locate. A detailed index lists performers, directors, and other personnel, plus references to critics and the surprising number of American movies influenced by or based on French films. While some of this material is readily available in Maltin's, Halliwell's, and other standard film guides, this book will be useful in large film collections. (Illustrations not seen.)?Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., Pa., Levittown
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description McFarland Publishing, 1996. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0786400242