Luc Moullet  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Luc Moullet (born 14 October, 1937 in Paris) is a French film critic and filmmaker, and a member of the Nouvelle Vague or French New Wave. Moullet's films are known for their humor, anti-authoritarian leanings and rigorously primitive aesthetic, which is heavily influenced by his love of American B-movies.

Though such influential filmmakers and critics as Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Marie Straub, Jacques Rivette and Jonathan Rosenbaum have consistently praised his work, he has never found commercial success, even in his native France.

Moullet is known to frequently act in his movies.

Early Life, Criticism and the French New Wave

Moullet began writing for Cahiers du Cinema at the age of eighteen, where he was an early champion of the films of Samuel Fuller. Though reportedly initially disliked by François Truffaut, the brash critic found a defender in a young Jean-Luc Godard. In one of his articles for the Cahiers (published in the March 1959) Moullet stated that "Morality is a question of tracking shots", a phrase which, along with Jean-Luc Godard's alternative, formulated shortly afterwards ("Traveling shots are a question of morality"), has since become well-known in French cinema studies.

Moullet's first short film was intended to be shown before Gordard's second feature, Le Petit Soldat, which was banned due to its political content. After several more shorts failed to attract attention, Moullet returned to criticism, authoring major studies on several directors (most notably a book on Fritz Lang which Brigitte Bardot is seen reading in Godard's Contempt).

His first feature, made in 1966, was the comedy Brigitte et Brigitte, which follows two young women who share a name and a Paris apartment. The film features cameos by Samuel Fuller, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer and André Téchiné. It was followed the next year by Les Contrebandières (The Smugglers), a B-movie-influenced love triangle centered around contraband runners in an imaginary country.

In 1971, Moullet made his first color film, Une aventure de Billy le Kid, also known by its English title, A Girl Is a Gun. A psychedelic Western starring French New Wave icon Jean-Pierre Léaud, the film was never released in France, but was instead shown abroad in an English-dubbed version. The dubbing, conceived by Moullet as a tribute to the "shabbiness" he always admired in American genre films, is intentionally bad, and the short, slight Leaud is given a mismatched deep voice.

Filmmaking 1972 - Present

Moullet continued at a relatively slow pace throughout the 1970s. His most notable film of the period is Anatomie d'un rapport (1976), a relationship drama that also attacks and parodies other relationship dramas.

In the early 1980s Moullet began to direct films at a quicker pace, making humorous short films in between his features. In 1987, his film La Comédie du travail won the Prix Jean Vigo at the Cannes Film Festival, an award usually given to young directors (Moullet was 50 at the time).

Moullet has continued making shorts and features at a steady rate throughout the 1990s and to the present. Most recently, he has completed the feature La Prestige de la mort (Death's Glamour), the working title of which was La Seule solution (The Only Solution).


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