Cholodenko, Marc 1950-

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Cholodenko, Marc 1950-


Born 1950, in Paris, France. Education: Attended college.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Editions P.O. L., 33, rue Saint-Andre-des-Arts, F-75006 Paris, France.


Writer, poet, screenwriter, and translator. Actor in films, including Le Journal d'un fou, 1987, and La Petite amie d'Antonio, 1992.


Médicis Prize, 1976, for Les états du désert; Crazy Horse prize for best erotic Fiction.


Parcs (poetry), Flammarion (Paris, France), 1971.

Le prince; portrait de l'artiste en enfant, Flammarion (Paris, France), 1974.

Le roi des fées (novel; title means "The King of Fairies"), C. Bourgois (Paris, France), 1974.

Cent chants à l'adresse de ses frères (poetry; title means "One Hundred Songs Addressed to His Brothers"), Flammarion (Paris, France), 1975.

Les états du désert (novel; title means "The Desert States"), Flammarion (Paris, France), 1976.

Dem folgt deutscher Gesang: tombeau de Hölderlin (poetry), Hachette (Paris, France), 1979.

Les pleurs: ou, Le grand oeuvre d'Andrea Bajarsky (novel; title means "Tears, or Andrea Bajarksy's Magnum Opus"), Hachette (Paris, France), 1979.

Le tentation du trajet Rimbaud (novel), Hachette (Paris, France), 1980.

2 odes (poetry), Hachette (Paris, France), 1981.

Meurtre (novel; title means "Murder"), Hachette (Paris, France), 1982.

Mordechai Schamz (novel), Hachette (Paris, France), 1982, English translation by Dominic Di Bernardi published as Mordechai Schamz, Dalkey Archive Press (Elmwood Park, IL), 1988.

Histoire de Vivant Lanon (novel), P.O.L. (Paris, France), 1985.

(Translator) William Gaddis, Gothique charpentier (translation of Carpenter's Gothic), C. Borugois (Paris, France), 1988.

Bela jai, Salvy (Paris, France), 1989.

1983 m'eloignant, m'en revenant 1986, Sables, 1990.

Métamorphoses: autobiographie d'un autre (novel), Julliard (Paris, France), 1992.

(Translator) William Gaddis, J.R., Plon (Paris, France), 1993.

Le poésie la vie, P.O.L. (Paris, France), 1994.

(Translator) V.S. Naipul, La traversée du milieu (translation of The Middle Passage), Plon (Paris, France), 1994.

Quasi una fantasia, P.O.L. (Paris, France), 1996.

Quelques petits portraits de ce monde, P.O.L. (Paris, France), 1997.

(Translator) Edmund White, Ecorché vif, Plon (Paris, France), 1997.

Un rêve ou un rêve, P.O.L. (Paris, France), 1999.

Mon héros: je ne sais pas, P.O.L. (Paris, France), 2000.

Imitation, P.O.L. (Paris, France), 2002.

NYC, P.O.L. (Paris, France), 2004.

(With Philippe Garrel and Arlette Langmann) Regular Lovers (screenplay), Maia Films (Paris, France), 2005.

Thierry, P.O.L. (Paris, France), 2006.

Also author of or contributor to more than ten screenplays, including Les Baisers de secours, 1989; J'entends plus la guitare, 1991; La Naissance de l'amour, 1993; Oublie-moi, 1994; Le Coeur fantôme, 1996; Le Vent de la nuit, 1999; L'Ile au bout du monde, 1999; and Sauvage innocence, 2001.


Marc Cholodenko's early reputation, according to Renee Kingcaid, "is that of poet and pornographer." Writing about the French author in the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Kingcaid went on to explain that while Cholodenko's first three poetry collections, Parcs, Le prince; portrait de l'artiste en enfant, and Cent chants à l'adresse de ses frères, were acclaimed in the influential Nouvelle Revue Francaise, his 1974 novel, Le roi des fées, "was banned for readers under eighteen." That book, the essayist continued, "plays on the tension between the ordinariness of basic copulation and the permutations that imagination—dressed up as literary style or frankly acknowledged as useful for masturbation—can give it."

Indeed, what characterizes Cholodenko, wrote Kingcaid, is "the energetic infusion of the erotic into the sign system of language, which means that all the possibilities for coupling are also narrative possibilities—and vice versa." Language and reality become "two distinct realms," in Kingcaid's words, producing, in the novels Les états du désert and Meurtre, plot lines that are begun, abandoned, and then intertwined into another story. Les états du désert, called Cholodenko's best novel by Kingcaid, centers on Shad, a would-be novelist in love with Helene, "who may or may not have killed her previous lover, Paul, with whom Shad had also slept and about whom he intended to write his first novel." Shad's proposed novel mirrors his own circumstance as he creates an American-style whodunit starring a "second-rate California gumshoe, Rory O'Shea, … hired by the vampish Maureen Keltner to find her fiancé's killer." The novel continues to intertwine the protagonists with Shad's fictional creations, with Shad and Helene "most erotically inspired when pretending to be somebody else, and of course the prolongation of desire in a love story is a prolongation of narrative itself," as Kingcaid commented. "In marked contrast to Shad's detective novel, however, Cholodenko's proceeds by repudiating ‘plot’ as the acquisition of useful facts about characters and situations."

In Meurtre, Cholodenko sacrifices some of the lush dialogue from Les états du désert in favor of "a structural abundance held discretely in check by the novelist's self-deflating comments about the possibilities and limits of his art," according to Kingcaid. The characters in this novel play a game of sexual musical chairs, suggested the essayist, "in which there is always one less partner than needed to make everyone happy." The figure of mutual desire in Meurtre appears to be Catherine Hart ("pun probably intended," Kingcaid stated); she is pursued by Georges Helias who, like Shad in Les états, is working on a murder novel. Georges's book, Crimes, has at its center a woman based on Catherine, and Cholodenko, according to Kingcaid, "leaves it unclear whether it was the character based on Catherine or Catherine herself whom Georges intended to do away with at a party he had planned for her and her new lover, his own son Geza."

Cholodenko's 1992 novel, Métamorphoses: autobiographie d'un autre, covers no less than "the birth and development of man," wrote World Literature Today critic Guy Mermier, "from the early chaos of words uttered" to the complex views of the adolescent and the adult. In Mermier's view, the author, through the character of one man, takes the reader through the evolutionary process, eschewing Proustian reminiscences for glimpse of "time (life) in the making."

Cholodenko has also written and/or contributed to several film screenplays, including Regular Lovers, which Cholodenko cowrote with the film's director Philippe Garrel and Arlette Langmann. The film focuses on the 1960s counterculture movement and the May 1968 uprising in Paris, France, which started as a student revolt and ended up in mass workplace occupations and a general strike that ultimately involved ten million workers. The film revolves around François and follows him through the uprising and its anticlimactic aftermath. François decides not to answer the military call for national service and is arrested. He also falls in love with Lilie, a sculptor. As the film progresses, François goes from being an impassioned revolutionary and idealist to a desperate romantic who lives off of others as an unwanted houseguest. Writing on the d+kaz Web site, Daniel Kasman noted: "Though ostensibly about a group of people in a specific time period, it is the romantic relationship formed by François and his girlfriend Lilie … that alleviates the repetition of lethargy, inaction, spiritual limbo and lack of commitment intellectual, emotional, and physical that so pervades the youth of Regular Lovers. In a review in Variety, Leslie Felperin commented that the film "succeeds best in delineating druggie scenes" from the 1960s.



Choice, September, 1989, D. O'Connell, review of Mordechai Schamz, p. 132.

Library Journal, February 15, 2001, Michael Rogers, review of Mordechai Schamz, p. 206.

Publishers Weekly, December 2, 1988, review of Mordechai Schamz, p. 44.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, summer, 1988, Renee Kingcaid, "After the Nouveau Roman: Some New Names in French Fiction," pp. 300-312.

Variety, September 19, 2005, Leslie Felperin, review of Regular Lovers.

World Literature Today, spring, 1982, L. Fahenstock, review of 2 odes, p. 306; autumn, 1992, Guy Mermier, review of Métamorphoses: autobiographie d'un autre, p. 688; spring, 2001, Guy Mermier, review of Mon héros: je ne sais pas, p. 361.


D+kaz, (September 24, 2005), Daniel Kasman, review of Regular Lovers.

Dalkey Archive Press Web site, (September 25, 2006), brief profile of author.

Euro-San Francisco Poetry Festival Web site, (September 25, 2006), brief profile of author., (September 25, 2006), brief profile of author.

Internet Movie Database, (September 25, 2006), information on author's work in films., (September 27, 2005), Leslie (Hoban) Blake, review of Regular Lovers.