Cinéma du look

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Cinéma du look
Years active1980s-1990s
InfluencesNew Hollywood, music videos, Francis Ford Coppola, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 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 n° 448, May 1989,[1] in which he classified Luc Besson, Jean-Jacques Beineix and Leos Carax as directors of the "look".[2]


These directors were said to favor style over substance, spectacle over narrative.[3] It referred to films that had a slick, gorgeous visual style[3] and a focus on young, alienated characters[4] who were said to represent the marginalized youth of François Mitterrand's France.[5] 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.[3]


French filmmakers were inspired by New Hollywood films (most notably Francis Ford Coppola's One from the Heart and Rumble Fish), late Fassbinder films (Lola), as well as television commercials, music videos, and fashion photography.[6]

Key directors and key films[edit]

Jean-Jacques Beineix[edit]

Luc Besson[edit]

Leos Carax[edit]



  1. ^ Translate in 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
  2. ^ Berra, John (June 2009). "Book Reviews: The Films of Luc Besson: Master of Spectacle". Scope (14). Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
  3. ^ a b c Austin, Guy. Contemporary French Cinema: An Introduction, Manchester University Press, 1999, pp. 119–120, 126-128. ISBN 0-7190-4611-4
  4. ^ 10 Essential Films For An Introduction To Cinema du Look - Taste of Cinema
  5. ^ French Cinema — Powrie & Reader
  6. ^ Bordwell, David; Thompson, Kristin (February 17, 2004). "Film Art: An Introduction". McGraw-Hill – via Google Books.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Movie movements that defined cinema: Cinéma du look". Empire. August 8, 2016.


  • Bordwell, David; Thompson, Kristin (2002). Film History: An Introduction (2nd ed.). ISBN 0-07-038429-0.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]