Celebrating the 40th volume in the French Film Directors series

Posted by Bethan Hirst - Tuesday, 1 Nov 2016


By Series editors, Diana Holmes and Robert Ingram

This exciting and internationally renowned series originated in our co-teaching of French Cinema courses at the University of Wolverhampton in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when we recognised the lack of good critical work on many of the directors taught. We discussed the idea with Anita Roy at MUP who immediately saw its possibilities and helped to design the series. Soon we gained Matthew Frost as our commissioning editor: Matthew’s commitment and enthusiasm has played (and continues to play) a crucial role in the series’ success. The series was also fortunate to gain the immediate support of Dudley Andrew as an advisor who brought experience from the USA and acted as a figurehead in North America. We began as we meant to go on with a volume in 1998 from Susan Hayward (on Luc Besson), already a leading figure in UK French cinema criticism.shaughnessy

In 2016 the series reached 40 volumes with the publication of Laurent Cantet, a milestone that was celebrated at the annual Studies in French Cinema conference held at King’s College London on 30 June. Many of the series authors were present and helped explore possible future directions for forthcoming publications.

The intention from the outset was to cast a wide net and draw in both early career and established academics from across Europe, Australia and the US. Thus many of the best known and most respected figures in French film criticism have authored volumes in the series, and some scholars have begun illustrious publishing careers with a French Film Directors monograph. Over 100 years of French cinema are represented with volumes covering the first days of French Cinema (Georges Méliès), the Golden Age of the ‘30s (Jean Vigo, Marcel Carné, Jean Renoir), the New Wave (Claude Chabrol, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, François Truffaut) together with several which exezraamine the work of directors who are alive and still adding to their oeuvre (François Ozon, Mathieu Kassovitz, Claire Denis). Women directors have featured strongly in the series: two of the first three books to be published were on Agnès Varda and Coline Serreau, with another on Diane Kurys following shortly afterwards.beugnet

The series has built considerable momentum and while there remain a number of directors not yet covered (Jean-Pierre Melville, René Clair among others), and while there are five excellent books coming up for publication (Germaine Dulac, Guy Debord, Julien Duvivier, Robert Guédiguian, Philippe Garrel), it is also time for the series to consider new avenues. Among those discussed are more ‘portfolio’ books that include chapters on several emerging directors (already the model adopted for two volumes), and expansion beyond France to francophone cinema in the wider sense.

The scale and success of the series bears witness to France’s astonishingly inventive cinematic history, and to its undiminished vibrancy in the twenty-first century.

50% off all books

To celebrate this outstanding achievement, we’re offering a special 50% off all books in the series. Simply add OTH743 at the checkout when purchasing your chosen books.* More information can be found here. A list of all 40 titles can be found here.

*Valid in UK and Europe only, until 30/11/2016.

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