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Beauty and Romanticism in the Films of Maurice Pialat

Early on in her seminal text, From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies, critic Molly Haskell makes dismissive note of the “modern” movie, something that was then purported by many to be a corrective to classical filmmaking. One of its chief tenets, she claimed, was that we came out of the theatre feeling superior to the foibles and insanity of the characters. Furthermore, she points to John Cassavetes’ Minnie & Moskowitz as representational of where modern screen romance stood, claiming its disorganized, improvised approach (“letting it all out”) was a poor substitute for the way an old Hollywood master (e.g. Howard Hawks) created order and understanding out of the chaos of relationships.

If Cassavetes was synonymous with what drove the culture wars of the 1970’s, then what do we make of his supposed compatriots and kindred spirits, particularly Maurice Pialat, the one labelled by many as

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