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The cover of this book features stills of the Promenade des Anglais at Nice from Jean Vigo's famous 1930 film À propos de Nice.             follow us

French Cinema in Close-up
—La Vie d’un acteur pour moi

edited by  Dr Michaël ABECASSIS  (University of Oxford)
with  Marcelline BLOCK  (Princeton University)

Chosen (March 2016) as one of the Best Reference Titles of 2015 by Library Journal, New York:
“There may be other biographical dictionaries of the French cinema, but none with such engagingly written biographies as this one.
Editors Abecassis (French, Oxford Univ.) and Block have assembled an international cast to write personal sketches of actors and actresses in the French cinema. American audiences will recognize names such as Gérard Depardieu, Oscar winners Juliette Binoche and Simone Signoret, and singer-actor Maurice Chevalier. Chevalier’s sketch chronicles his many early successes, postwar troubles, and triumphant return to the United States after 1954 with Love in the Afternoon. The highlights of the dictionary are the hand-drawn caricatures by artists Jenny Batlay, who’s based in New York, and Igor Bratusek, at the Sorbonne in Paris, that accompany each sketch. Read collectively, the pieces document trends in French cinema and its close connections with the theater” Library Journal, New York (2016).  
[See more reviews below]

Launched at The National Arts Club, Manhattan, in September 2015 – shown on video below.


Illustrated Mini-dictionary of French Actors

Not just biographies, but personal sketches of 175 French cinema actors and actresses (by a worldwide panel of contributors), looking at their personalities, acting, and careers.

Containing a comprehensive 34-page Index (and descriptions) of 2,200 French, Continental, and English-language Films.

The book is presented alphabetically in mini-dictionary form, and its contributors include academics – from universities in Australia, Austria, Canada, Cyprus, France, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States – as well as journalists, film curators, and lovers of French cinéma, both francophones and Francophiles.

Creative, unusual portraits – both in drawings and in words – of 175 actors and actresses of the French cinema, written by a global panel of film-lovers. These are not just biographies, but opinionated personal studies that seek to reveal more about the actors than mere facts would reveal. Each actor profile is illustrated with a portrait drawing/caricature by artists Jenny BATLAY (PhD, Columbia University) and Igor BRATUSEK (Sorbonne).

[• click here to preview sample pages of this book on PDF >]Sample Pages on PDF

In Paperback, on 452 illustrated royal-octavo-size pages, – 184 illustrations and 2,200-entry Films Index – ISBN: 978-1-908420-114, r.r.p.: £25 / €35 /$35

Distributed worldwide by the Ingram Group; available from Barnes & Noble, Albertine Bookstore 5th Avenue NY (of the cultural services of the French Embassy in National Arts Club noticeAmerica),, etc.

French Cinema in Close-up was launched in Manhattan at The National Arts Club in September 2015, in the presentation by Marcelline Block which opened the NAC 2015-16 Cocktail Français season:
[Held in The National Arts Club's Grand Gallery, displaying the Pastel Society of America's 43rd Annual Exhibition]

The National Arts Club, Manhattan[^ photos 2,3,9,10,11 © Don Pollard, NYC]

More Reviews:

“If you’re feeling self-conscious about your lack of knowledge on French cinema, cease at once!
Michaël Abecassis (of the University of Oxford)
and Marcelline Block (of Princeton University) have edited this illustrated mini-dictionary of French actors and actresses just for you.” —reviewed in Culturethèque, of the Institut français du Royaume Uni.

" French Cinema under the Magnifying Glass        [—reviewed in Books Ireland magazine]:
" This book is a collaborative project that weaves together writing from almost 70 different contributors in order to form an illustrated mini-dictionary of actors and actresses who have influenced French cinema since it began. … The mini-dictionary format makes all of this easily accessible to the reader, who can use three different indexes in order to search by actor, film or contributor. … Each contributor makes use of different source materials, including personal anecdotes, quotes from biographies, interviews and everything in between. … In fact, some entries—for example that of Jenny Batlay, which details several personal encounters with Charles Aznavour in order to paint his portrait—are so rich in personal detail that it feels as if the reader is hearing the story from an old friend. This is further enhanced by the clever use of caricature. Each entry begins with a sketch by Jenny Batlay or Igor Bratusek that adds a touch of humour … these funny little sketches of the greats of French cinema also underline the individual nature of the work, as each entry looks different from its predecessor. …
"As each actor’s unique story is explored, so are the main themes of French cinema. In particular, the book draws attention to the way in which cinema and theatre are deeply connected by showing how many of cinema’s first stars began their careers on the stage and had already found fame there. Owing to the attention to personal detail, as the lives of cinema’s celebrities are unravelled so are the links between the art form and events such as World War I, World War II and France’s student protests in 1968. All of this combines to offer a much deeper understanding of French cinema and those who influence it. This collection of essays makes clever use of academic analysis and anecdotal sources in order to present nearly 200 portraits of those who have had the greatest influence on French cinema. Thanks to its innovative format of a mini-dictionary, it allows for a vast range of contributors, which ensures that each portrait is different from the others. In linking French cinema to the other arts and to the history of France, the book succeeds in offering everyone who picks it up, from the veteran cinema buff to the merely curious, a chance to learn something new. This collaborative project succeeds in placing French cinema in general under the magnifying glass, not just its actors and actresses."
Books Ireland magazine, October 2015  [click here to see the full Review on Pdf].

"entries…dissect and convey the unique, often ineffable appeal of the canonical faces of French cinema, …well distributed across time periods…"
French Studies journal, Oxford University Press.

"A hybrid of academic study and coffee-table book …combines some of the best aspects of both types of publication. …"
Studies in European Cinema, Taylor & Francis /Routledge.

Profiled Actors:
Adjani, Isabelle; Aimée, Anouk; Amalric, Matthieu; Anconina, Richard; Ardant, Fanny; Arditi, Pierre; Autran et autresArestrup, Niels; Arletty; Artaud, Antonin; Ascaride, Ariane; Audran, Stéphane; Auteuil, Daniel; Azéma, Sabine; Aznavour, Charles; Bacri, JeanPierre; Baer, Edouard; Balasko, Josiane; Balmer, JeanFrançois; Bardot, Brigitte; Barrault, JeanLouis; Baur, Harry; Baye, Nathalie; Béart, Emmanuelle; Bekhti, Leïla; Belmondo JeanPaul; Berléand, François; Bernhardt, Sarah; Berry, Jules; Berry, Richard; Binoche, Juliette; Blanc, Michel; Blanche, Francis; Blier, Bernard; Bonnaire, Sandrine; Bohringer, Richard; Bohringer, Romane; Boon, Danny; Elmaleh et autresBoujenah, Michel; Bourvil, André; Bouquet, Carol; Bouquet, Michel; Boyer, Charles; Bozzuffi, Marcel; Brasseur, Claude; Brasseur, Pierre; Brel, Jacques; Brialy, JeanClaude; Canet, Guillaume; Carette, Julien; Carmet, Jean; Carrière, JeanClaude; Casarès, Maria; Cassel, Vincent; Chabat, Alain; Chevalier, Maurice; Clavier, Christian; Cluzet, François; Cocteau, Jean; Cotillard, Marion; Coluche; Cornillac, Clovis; Cowl, Darry; Darrieux, Danielle; Dalio, Marcel; Dalle, Béatrice; Darmon, Gérard; Darroussin, JeanPierre; Debbouze, Jamel; De France, Cécile; De Funès, Louis; Delon, Alain; Delpy, Julie; Deneuve, Catherine; Denner, Charles; Depardieu, Gérard; Depardieu, Julie; Devos, Emmanuelle; Dewaere, Patrick; Dreyfus, JeanClaude; Dubas, Marie; Dujardin, Jean; Dupontel, Albert; Duris, Romain; Dussollier, André; Elmaleh, Gad; Fernandel; Feuillère, Edwige; Fossey, Brigitte; Fréhel; Fresnay, Pierre; Frot, Catherine; Gabin, Jean; Gainsbourgh, Charlotte; Galabru, Michel; Garcia, Nicole; Gillain, Marie; Girardot, Annie; Godrèche, Judith; Green, Eva; Guitry, Sacha; Bardot et autresHallyday, Johnny; Hands, Marina; Huppert, Isabelle; Jaoui, Agnès; Jouvet, Louis; Jugnot, Gérard; Kakou, Elie; Karina, Anna; Kiberlain, Sandrine; Lafont, Bernadette; Lambert, Christophe; Léaud, JeanPierre; Lebeau, Madeleine; Ledoux Fernand; Ledoyen, Virginie; Lemercier, Valérie; Le Vigan, Robert; Lhermitte, Thierry; Lindon, Vincent; Lonsdale, Michael; Luchini, Fabrice; Magimel, Benoît; Marais, Jean; Marceau, Sophie; Marielle, JeanPierre; Mesquida, Roxane; Meurisse, Paul; Meylan, Gérard; MiouMiou; Mitchell, Eddy; Montand, Yves; Moreau, Jeanne; Moreau, Yolande; Morel, François; Morgan, Michèle; Noiret, Philippe; Paradis, Vanessa; Philipe, Gérard; Piaf, Edith; Piat, Jean; Piccoli, Michel; Podalydès, Denis; Poiret, Jean; Poelvoorde, Benoît; Préjeant, Albert; Raimu; Reggiani, Serge; Reno, Jean; Richard, Pierre; Riva, Emmanuelle; Rochefort, Jean; Romance, Viviane; Sagnier, Ludivine; Scob, Edith; Seberg, Jean; Seigner, Emmanuelle; Seigner, Mathilde; Serrault, Michel; Seyrig, Delphine; Signoret, Simone; Simon, Michel; Simon, Simone; Tati, Jacques; Tautou, Audrey; Testud, Sylvie; Trintignant, JeanLouis; Vanel, Charles; Ventura, Lino; Vian, Boris; FrenchCinemaInClose-up(animated)Villeret, Jacques; Weber, Jacques; Wilson, Lambert; Zylberstein, Elsa.


[The images on the book's cover are from Jean Vigo's  À propos de Nice of 1930.]


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