The Faber Book of French Cinema
Faber, $45 pb, 663 pp
Charles Drazin tells us that his interest in French cinema began as a student at Oxford in the early 1980s, when he attended screenings at the Maison Française, an institution established after World War II to encourage cultural exchange between Britain and France. Some of the films were obscure, some better known; the audience comprised devotees and newcomers who never quite knew what they were going to see. The free admission, the 16 mm projector, the portable screen fixed to a tripod, even the scraping of chairs on wooden floors contributed to the sense of occasion for the young cinéastes.