Cinematographic Aspects of the Francophone Film: The Scale of Realism to Formalism

Students: Angelo Lozada and David Sickles
Mentor: Mary Anne Lewis Cusato (OWU Department of Modern Foreign Languages)

Films can be placed on a formalist-realist scale based upon the style taken upon by filmmakers, whether a film leans toward aesthetic forms over objective subject matter, leans towards replicating objective reality, or is a mixture of both. As film evolved and took shape within the Golden Age of Hollywood Cinema, experimental forms of film were produced from the Francophone Film Industry, in both in cinematic aspects of camera techniques and editing.

This presentation will discuss two films in particular: La Règle du Jeu by Jean Renoir, and La Bataille d’Alger by Gillo Pontecorvo. Renoir, son of painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, creates a classical Hollywood film amongst the early experimentation of deep focus cinematography. La Règle du Jeu also serves as a pioneer in extensive camera movement that emulates a point of view that places viewers in the middle of action during a scene.

Pontecorvo creates a documentary-style fiction film that pushes far toward realism in its documentary-esque editing and on location sets to appeal to a dual audience searching for historical accuracy and subjective perspective. La Bataille d’Alger also breaks free from mainstream French films as it is based in Algeria and highlights viewpoints of Northern African attitudes toward the French government occupation.

Juxtaposing these two films serves to encompass the work that comes from the Francophone Film industry and their important contribution to all film genres today, whether they lean toward formalism or realism.

More information about this project in Digital Commons @ OWU

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