According to campingship, France is a country located in Europe. France is repeatedly at the scientific, industrial and artistic origins of cinema. The Lumière brothers invented the cinématographe by presenting it on December 28, 1895; G. Méliès made a spectacle of it, overcoming the chronicles from life and opening the space of limitless fantasy to him (Le voyage dans la lune, 1902); AND. Cohl created the animated drawing (1908) with the character of Fantôche; Ch. Pathé and L. Gaumont laid the foundations of the industry, the first using the popular and “black” realism of F. Zecca and the talent of the comedian M. Linder launched on an international level, the second using serials by L. Feuillade (Fantômas, 1913-14). More than the art film (1908), theatrical and literary, they prevailed until 1914, dominating the world markets, comedians and serials; but with the war the primacy passed to the United States. The war period was, however, occupied, also with the help of American models, by a fruitful intellectual meditation on the “seventh art” (R. Canudo, L. Delluc and others), which bore fruit in the 1920s with the Impressionist and d ‘ movement. vanguard. The head of the school Delluc, who died prematurely in 1924, was joined by G. Dulac, M. L’Herbier, A. Gance, J. Epstein, D. Kirsanoff, each contributing to the technical and language innovations and to the research of pure cinema, from which also J. Feyder, R. Clair and J. Renoir, who marked the transition from silent to sound (especially Clair, whose masterpieces straddle the two periods) and influenced the following decade. While the Spaniard L. Buñuel represented the surrealist culmination of the avant-garde with L’âge d’or (1930), J. Vigo characterized the early 1930s with a polemical vigor unknown to the French (Zéro de conduite, 1933). But despite Clair (Under the roofs of Paris, The million, To us the freedom), Vigo (who also died prematurely, in 1934, finishing L’Atalante) and Renoir (La chienne, Toni), the first half of the decade recorded a serious economic crisis and the collapse of both Pathé and Gaumont. Clair then left France for Great Britain, while Feyder returned from the United States. Coinciding or not with the new policy of the Popular Front, there was a strong awakening of national cinema, sumptuously illustrated by Feyder himself (La kermesse eroica, 1935), by Renoir’s Social Realism (The great illusion, 1937), from the populist and romantic eclecticism of J. Duvivier (Il bandito della Casbah, 1937), from the lyric verismo of M. Carné, which in 1939, in tragic dawn, sealed the gloomy pessimism fueled by the fall of Front and from the imminence of the war.
Clair, Renoir and Duvivier emigrated to the United States, during the conflict Carné and his screenwriter J. Prévert closed with Les enfants du paradis (1943-45) a period that had been, despite its limitations, among the most compact in the history of this cinema. After the war, in fact, we witnessed a diaspora of personalities rather than their cohesion. The “resistance” and neorealistic hypothesis that came from Italy (echoed almost only in the Bataille du rail by R. Clément in 1946) was rejected too soon, the veterans were welcomed (The silence is golden by Clair, 1947), the cinema French relied on the new names that came out of the war, from Cl. Autant-Lara to J. Becker, from H.-G. Clouzot to R. Bresson, recovering the elegance of a J. Cocteau but rejecting progressives such as J. Grémillon, L. Daquin, J.-P. Le Chanois on the sidelines. It is true that The devil in the body (1947, Autant-Lara) caused scandal, that A. Cayatte with Justice is done or J. Delannoy with God needs men seemed, in 1950, to question the law or religion, that Clouzot he filled his criminal histories with dynamite (Lives sold, 1953), but it is even more true that, in one way or another, academicism that doesn’t worry was favored in these individual careers. So that, for intimate coherence, the personalities of a Becker became more evident (Gold Helmet, 1952), a Bresson (A condemned man escaped, 1956) or the comedian J. Tati (The holidays of Monsieur Hulot, 1953), while an aggressive and sincere note was brought, at least at the beginning, by embodied pansexualism in a diva such as B. Bardot (Et Dieu créa la femme, 1956, by R. Vadim). With 1959-60 the nouvelle vague, prepared by the theory of the caméra-stylo by A. Astruc, by the critical work of A. Bazin, by the iconoclastic polemics supported by the Cahiers du Cinéma, seemed to make a clean sweep of the field: the young F. Truffaut (The four hundred blows, 1959), J.-L. Godard (Until the last breath, 1960), Cl. Chabrol, L. Malle etc., attacked the ramparts of the “daddy’s cinema” with the irreverence of children in revolt, while the less young A. Resnais (Hiroshima mon amour, 1959) challenged the old language and, joining A. Robbe-Grillet for Last year in Marienbad (1961), upset every notion of space-time into a sort of nihilistic anti-film. Thus a breakthrough cinema was configured (Godard, Resnais), important for the linguistic revolution brought to France and the world by erasing the structural schemes of the past, entering into new contact with reality and rediscovering, before and after 1968, the decisive value of politics, but also an auteur cinema, shattered into the various and too divergent individualities. Here authors emerged who reached maturity within their love for the filmic fact (Effetto notte, 1973, by Truffaut) and careers developed indifferently to austerity (E. Rohmer) or cynicism (Chabrol), while the Elder Bresson, very faithful to himself, fit in with his own personal avant-garde (Mouchette, 1967) and the tenacious and somewhat pathetic Tati (Monsieur Hulot in the chaos of traffic, 1971) played the cheerful private revolt against the consumer society. Carried out outside the system, J.-L. Godard’s attacks on this were now marginalized, even when they made use of famous actors (Crepa padrone, tutto va bene, 1972, signed with J.-P. Gorin), in an underground cinema; on the other hand, the philosophical challenge (The discrete charm of the bourgeoisie, 1972, by Buñuel) or visceral (La grande abbuffata, 1973, by M. Ferreri) appeared entrusted to foreigners.), while the cinema of integration into power continued to offer a comfortable image of reality, as in the films of CL. Lelouch. However, new personalities emerged: Ph. Garrel (La scar intérieure, 1971; Voyage au jardin des morts, 1978; L’enfant secret, 1982); J. Eustache (La maman et la putain, 1973); R. Allio (Les Camisards, 1971; Moi, Pierre Rivière…, 1976); P. Vecchiali (Femmes femmes, 1974; Body to heart, 1979; En haut des marches, 1983; Encore, 1988); B. Tavernier (The judge and the murderer, 1976; Live death, 1979; A Sunday in the Countryside, 1984); meanwhile Marguerite Duras led the women’s cinema patrol, which has grown in recent times. Since the 1980s, there has been a certain turnover among the leading names in transalpine cinema. Alongside the reconfirmation of great directors such as Rohmer (The green ray, Golden Lion in Venice in 1986; Autumn tale, fourth and last episode of the tetralogy “Tales of the four seasons”, 1998), L. Malle (Goodbye boys, Leone d’oro in 1987), Cl. Chabrol (A Women’s Affair, 1988; Madame Bovary, 1991; The ceremony, 1995; Rien ne va plus, 1997) and to the definitive success of filmmakers of great level, such as B. Tavernier (A midnight circa, 1988; Life and nothing else, 1989; Daddy Nostalgie, 1990; The lure, 1994; Capitan Conan, 1996), C. Serreau (The crisis, 1992), P. Chéreau (The queen Margot, 1994), C. Miller (The companion, 1992), C. Sautet (A heart in winter, 1992; Nelly and Mr Arnaud, 1996), C. Collard (Wild nights, 1992), Y. Angel (Colonel Chabert, 1994), M. Pialat (Under the sun of Satan, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1987; Van Gogh, 1991), A. Cavalier (Un etrange voyage, 1980; Thérèse, 1986), J.-P. Rappeneau (Cyrano, 1989; The Ussar on the roof, 1995), a new generation of director-authors who have imposed French cinema on the horizon appears on the horizon: L. Besson (Subway, 1985; Le grand bleu, 1988; Nikita, 1990; Léon, 1995; Fifth element, 1997; Joan of Arc, 1999), J.-J. Beineix (Diva, 1981; Betty Blue, 1987), L. Carax (Red blood, 1987; Pola X, 1999), Poiré (The visitors, 1993), X. Beauvois (N’oublie pas que tu vas mourir, 1995), M. Kassowitz (L’odio, 1995, L’ordre et la morale, 2011), O. Assayas (L’eau froide, 1994, Irma Vep, 1996), J. Doillon (The revenge of a woman, 1990, Ponette, 1996), P. Leconte (Ridicule, 1996, The man on the train, 2002, The shop of suicides, 2012), R. Guediguian (Marius et Jeannette, 1997), E. Zonka (The dreamed life of angels, 1998), B. Dumont (Humanity, 1999), J.-P. Jeunet (Delicatessen, 1990, The fabulous world of Amélie, 2001, A long Sunday of passions, 2004, Bazil’s explosive plan, 2009). In the early years of the new century, French cinema confirmed its dynamism and the ability to produce works of psychological depth and dramatically current, one example above all, Il Profeta by J. Audiard (2009, winner of the Special Grand Prix of the Jury at Cannes and nominated for the 2010 Oscars), alongside entertainment films, but not without depth, which in some cases turn out to be box office blockbusters such as Giù to the north (D. Boon, 2008) or Almost friends (O. Nakache, E. Toledano, 2011). Recently, four French films won the Palme d’Or at Cannes: Il Pianista (French-Polish production, R. Polanski, 2002), La Classe (L. Cantet, 2008, nominated for the 2009 Oscars), La vita di Adele (Franco-Tunisian production A. Kechiche, 2013), Dheepan (J. Audiard, 2015), singular female Montparnasse (L. Sèrraille 2017) and the documentary on the terrorist attacks A loud voice (S. De Freitas, 2018).