Films from their initiation have been about sharing the awe and transforming the creative imagination of the creator through a medium to the viewers for their visual pleasure. The idea of motion pictures started as a carnival novelty and it became one of the most important tools of communication and mass entertainment.
As the film industry has evolved globally so has the contribution increased from various geographies. France is one of the pioneers of the concept of cinema with significant in its prime. Film historians date back the first screening of the movie The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station, the 50-second film by the Lumière brothers first in 1895. Today, France is one of the strongest contributor in the global cinema with an impeccable amount of importance given to the art aspect.
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France is the third biggest film market in the world after India and United States. This ranking is both in terms of admission and revenues. The most successful film industry in Europe, with a record breaking film production number. The main difference when you see a movie that has come out of the French cinema is that the action of characters reveal what they are doing at that moment and is not necessarily indicative of how things have been happening and will happen as opposed to the American type where within the first few minutes into the file, we know all about the character and have a general idea of how things will work out.
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Georges Méliès’, 1902 short, A Trip to the Moon is regarded and categorized as the first science-fiction film, and is a landmark in cinematic special effects. The towering achievement of the French Silent Cinema in impeccable. Abel Gance's six-hour biopic of Napoleon (1927), was the first of its kind large-scale productions. Of the six-film cycle, only number one was ever completed and hence we will only ever have a fraction of what was intended.
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The early sound years saw an explosion of talent. Playwright Marcel Pagnol put adaptations of his celebrated Marseilles plays into production – first Marius (1931), then Fanny (1932), and finally César (1936), which he directed himself. A series of musicals by René Clair challenging the "poetic realism" which was the most celebrated genre of the time. Carné, arguably, outdid everyone in 1945 with his Les Enfants du Paradis filmed during the Nazi occupation, a romantic melodrama became a symbol of national cultural identity when it was released.
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After leaving its mark in the European front and championing the industry across the Atlantic, Hollywood by 1960s, a new wave of French Cinema was ready to explore and venture into the unknown world of art and culture. Realism made a comeback during the 1990s, and the protagonist of the era was undoubtedly Jean-Pierre Jeunet who, with his masterpiece of Delicatessen in 1991 and Amélie in 2001 redefined the idea of cinema with the comic-book-influenced style. Jacques Audiard in the contemporary world is one of France's most respected writers and with award winning works like The Beat That My Heart Skipped in 2005 and A Prophet in 2010.
French cinema, today stands as one of the pioneers of cinema across the world and is the manifestation of the director's personal creative vision. There are a number of must-see masterpieces that everyone who is either a lover of the art or a passionate movie-goer should watch.