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Bertrand Blier

Bertrand Blier

Blier began his career as an assistant to John Berry, Jean Delannoy and Christian-Jacque before making a series of cinema verite-style documentaries which culminated with "Hitler? ...Connais Pas!" (1962), a feature-length study of disaffected teenagers. His first fiction feature was "Breakdown/If I Were a Spy" in 1967, but he hit the international spotlight with 1974's "Going Places/Getting It Up/Making It." A kind of French "Clockwork Orange," the film depicted the (primarily sexual) escapades of two amoral, petty thugs (they are not above sniffing a young girl's underwear in an attempt to determine her age). By turns offensive, disturbing and hilarious, the film launched not only Blier, but the then-unknown actors Gerard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere and Miou-Miou. After being vilified for the misogynism of "Calmos" (1975), Blier earned international acclaim for "Get Out Your Handkerchiefs" (1978), a ribald comedy, again starring Depardieu and Dewaere, which took the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. "Buffet Froid" (1980) marked the director's incursion into surrealist territory, a farcical study in the psychology of murder pitting Depardieu, as a suspected serial killer, against Blier's father, Bernard, as an aging police inspector. Blier continued to offend, alienate and exhilarate his audience with "Beau Pere" (1981), a reworking of "Lolita" in which a widower (Dewaere) is left in charge of his adolescent stepdaughter, and "Menage/Tenue de Soiree/Evening Dress" (1986), about a convivial gay burglar (Depardieu) who wreaks havoc within a bankrupt, heterosexual household. "Too Beautiful For You" (1989) saw a successful car dealer (Depardieu) abandoning his beautiful wife (Carole Bouquet) for a plain mistress (Josiane Balasko); Blier's disjunctive, non-linear narrative style served more to defuse the film's emotional impact than to explore new stylistic or psychological territory. Other films include "1, 2, 3 Soleil" (1993) and "My Man" (1996).
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