The title of this project 'French Blockbusters' may strike some as an oxymoron. At first glance, the commercial spectacles conjured by a word like "blockbusters" seem the very opposite of what French filmmaking is supposed to be about. From the Lumieres and Melies to the 1960s New Wave and well beyond, French cinema has been among the most resilient of European culture industries, weathering Anglo-American competition with a mix of philosophical resistance, political-economic interventionism, and aesthetic innovation. Yet although these currents do remain, the French film industry's response to the sea changes of the past three decades have not been purely about resistance or a David-versus-Goliath story. French Blockbusters highlights how global economic forces notably the onslaught of Hollywood mega-franchises and new media platforms (cable, video, DVD, internet) have also roiled an overtly commercialized, ideological undertow in the Hexagon and its film production strategies. Cutting across a swath of recent French-produced cinema, this is the first book-length consideration of the theoretical implications, historical impact and cultural consequences of a recent grouping of popular films that are changing what it means to make or to see a "French" film today.
French Film in the Blockbuster Era