Cinéma du look
|Influences||New Hollywood, music videos, French New Wave|
Cinéma du look (French: [sinema dy luk]) was a French film movement of the 1980s and 1990s, analysed, for the first time, by French critic Raphaël Bassan in La Revue du Cinéma issue no. 448, May 1989, in which he classified Luc Besson, Jean-Jacques Beineix and Leos Carax as directors of the "look".
Style and origins
These directors were said to favor style over substance, spectacle over narrative. It referred to films that had a slick, gorgeous visual style and a focus on young, alienated characters who were said to represent the marginalized youth of François Mitterrand's France. Themes that run through many of their films include doomed love affairs, young people more affiliated to peer groups than families, a cynical view of the police, and the use of scenes in the Paris Métro to symbolise an alternative, underground society. The mixture of 'high' culture, such as the opera music of Diva and Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, and pop culture, for example the references to Batman in Subway, was another key feature.
A parallel can be drawn between these French filmmakers' productions and New Hollywood films including most notably Francis Ford Coppola's One from the Heart (1981) and Rumble Fish (1983), Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Lola (1981), as well as television commercials, music videos and the series Miami Vice. The term was first defined by Raphael Bassan in La Revue De Cinema. He coined the term Cinéma du look as a pejorative, criticising the films for prioritising style over substance.
Key directors and key films
- Diva (1981) 
- The Moon in the Gutter (1983 film) (1983)
- 37°2 le matin (English: Betty Blue) (1986)
- Subway (1985) 
- Le Grand bleu (English: The Big Blue) (1988)
- Nikita (1990)
- Leon: The Professional (1994)
- Translated into English: "The French Neo-baroques Directors: Beineix, Besson, Carax from Diva to le Grand Bleu" (pp. 11–23), in The Films of Luc Besson: Master of Spectacle (Under the direction of Susan Hayward and Phil Powrie) Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007. ISBN 0-7190-7028-7
- Berra, John (June 2009). "Book Reviews: The Films of Luc Besson: Master of Spectacle". Scope. No. 14. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
- Austin, Guy. Contemporary French Cinema: An Introduction, Manchester University Press, 1999, pp. 119–120, 126-128. ISBN 0-7190-4611-4
- 10 Essential Films For An Introduction To Cinema du Look — Taste of Cinema
- French Cinema in the 1980s - Google Books (pg.109)
- French National Cinema - Google Books (pg.244)
- "Movie movements that defined cinema: Cinéma du look". Empire. August 8, 2016.
- DIVA (1981) — Blu-ray Review — ZekeFilm
- Jean-Jacques Beineix obituary|Movies|The Guardian
- Betty Blue: The Look of Love|Current|The Criterion Collection
- Look Again: A Celebration of Cinema Du Look on Vimeo
- Bordwell, David; Thompson, Kristin (2002). Film History: An Introduction (2nd ed.). ISBN 0-07-038429-0.
- Patricia Allmer - Institute of Film Studies, University of Nottingham, 2004
- Will da Shaman, Netribution Film Network
- Guy Austin, Contemporary French Cinema: An Introduction, A Review by J. Emmett Winn, see Austin pages 5 and 6
- Essays on Luc Besson : Master of Spectacle (review), by William Brown, 2009
- The Cinéma du look and fantasy films, by Guy Austin in Contemporary French Cinema, Manchester University Press, 1996, p. 119
- Diva, Jean-Jacques Beineix in The Cinema of France, by Phil Powrie, p. 154, Wallflower Press, 2006
- Luc Besson : The Cinema du Look or the Spectacle-Image in Cinema after Deleuze by Richard Ruston, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012, p. 132