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Billard, Pierre 1921(?)-

BILLARD, Pierre 1921(?)-

PERSONAL:

Born December, 1921 (some sources say 1922).

ADDRESSES:

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Éditions Gallimard, 5 rue Sébastien-Bottin, 75328 Paris cedex 07, France.

CAREER:

Journalist and writer; instructor in philosophy in Saint Omer, France; founder of an orchestra performing on French radio, Paris, France; Centre d'Études Radiophoniques, began as administrator, became producer and presenter of documentaries, then of program Maîtres du mystère (title means "Masters of Mystery"). Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, France, member of jury, 1971.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Prix Moncey, 1976, for Bonsoir chef!; Bource Goncourt for biography, 2003, for Louis Malle, le rebelle solitaire.

WRITINGS:

Le Cameroun physique, Beaux-Arts (Lyon, France), 1962.

(With Louis Chevalier) Cinéma et civilisation, Les Cours de Droit (Paris, France), 1968.

Le Cameroun fédéral (two volumes), Beaux-Arts (Lyon, France), 1968.

(Consulting editor) Jean Luc Godard, Masculine Feminine (film script; also includes secondary materials about the film), Grove Press (New York, NY), 1969.

Bonsoir chef! (novel), R. Laffont (Paris, France), 1977.

L'âge classique du cinéma français: du cinéma parlant à la nouvelle vague, Flammarion (Paris, France), 1995.

D'or et de palmes: Le festival de Cannes, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1997.

Le mystère René Clair, Plon (Paris, France), 1998.

Louis Malle, le rebelle solitaire (biography), Plon (Paris, France), 2003.

Editor of journal Cinéma, beginning 1954. Author of episode "L'affaire Craznek" for television series Messieurs les jurés.

SIDELIGHTS:

Pierre Billard has been a major figure in the twentieth-century French media. He began his career on radio, but he may be best known as the editor of the journal Cinéma. Writing in that journal, he helped to popularize the idea of a "nouvelle vague," or new wave, in French culture and film. He published a few nonfiction books in the 1960s, and an award-winning novel, Bonsoir chef!, in the 1970s. Since 1995, however, Billard has returned with a passion to nonfiction writing.

Louis Malle, le rebelle solitaire, published in 2003, is a biography of director Louis Malle, who was famous in French cinema for making rebellious films that ridiculed bourgeois values and was almost as famous in his personal life for doing the same. An anecdote related by Billard tells of one such rebellion against Malle's upper-middle-class, Catholic upbringing: his pact with the devil. As Richard Vinen noted in his Nation review of Louis Malle, on December 25, 1952, Malle wrote a note saying, "Lord Satan, I give you my soul and promise to be your loyal servant if you give me genius, love and cinematographic success in the next five years." The bargain apparently paid off; Malle shared an Academy award and a Golden Palm award from the Cannes Film Festival with Jacques-Yves Cousteau for co-directing The Silent World in 1956. By explaining Malle's relationship with his family and his rebellion against their values, Billard's biography "perceptively links Malle's films to his background and life," assessed Vinen. "Most of all," stated Vinen, "Billard puts Malle into a political context that enriches our understanding of the films." Biography contributor Jean-Luc Douin also praised Louis Malle, calling it "impeccable" and "empathetic but not hagiographic."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Biography, summer, 2003, Jean-Luc Douin, review of Louis Malle, le rebelle solitaire, p. 541.

French Studies, July, 1996, Keith Reader, review of L'âge classique du cinéma français: du cinéma parlant à la nouvelle vague, p. 369.

Nation, January 5, 2004, Richard Vinen, review of Louis Malle, p. 34.

Times Literary Supplement, January 23, 2004, Robin Buss, review of Louis Malle, p. 28.

ONLINE

Blackwell Publishing Web site,http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/ (September 13, 2004) "From the Perspective of Critical Cinema Journals".

Cannes Film Festival Web site,http://www.festivalcannes.fr/ (September 13, 2004), "Pierre Billard."

Institut National de L'Audiovisuel Web site,http://www.ina.fr/ (September 13, 2004), Pierre Billard, "La radio et moi: une histoire qui a commencé très tôt."

Ministère de la Défense Web site,http://www.defense.gouv.fr/ (September 13, 2004), "Prix littéraire."

Prix Littéraires Web site,http://www.prix-litteraires.net/ (September 13, 2004), "Pierre Billard."

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