The Paris-born French-Swiss director and screenwriter had the reputation of adding new dimensions to filmmaking with his experimentation, a trend which came to be known as the French New Wave. The director of acclaimed films like Breathless, My Life to Live and Pierrot le Fou, Jean-Luc Godard was married to actress Anna Karina. He is regarded as an all-time great director.
Denis Diderot revolutionized the Age of Enlightenment as the co-founder of Encyclopédie, which was banned for questioning religion. He had flirted with the idea of joining the theater and becoming a priest, and even studied law, but later devoted himself to languages, literature, and philosophy.
René Girard was a French philosopher of social science, literary critic, and historian. Over the years, Girard's work has had an influence on disciplines like philosophy, anthropology, psychology, mythology, theology, economics, sociology, and cultural studies among other important disciplines. In 2006, René Girard was honored by the University of Tübingen with the prestigious Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize.
Eugene Ionesco was a Romanian-French playwright and one of the 20th century's leading figures of the French avant-garde theatre. He is best remembered for his play, The Bald Soprano, which played an important role in the development of the Theatre of the Absurd. Eugène Ionesco was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Austrian State Prize for European Literature.
If others thought the body was the prison of the soul, Paul-Michel Foucault felt the other way round. The French philosopher, literary critic and Leftist who interpreted the link between power and knowledge, was a post-structuralist whose theories have left a mark on anthropology, psychology and criminology. The feminist was one of the noted personalities to have died of HIV/AIDS.
Hélène Cixous is a professor, poet, playwright, rhetorician, literary critic, philosopher, and French feminist writer. She is best known for writing an article titled The Laugh of the Medusa, which earned her popularity and established her as a thinker in post-structural feminism.
Best known for his masterpiece The Sorcerer's Apprentice, French composer Paul Dukas was admired by both conservative and progressive French musicians. Born to a pianist mother, Dukas had begun composing while recovering from an ailment at age 14. Shortly before his death, he destroyed most of his manuscripts.
Adolphe Adam was a French music critic, teacher, and composer. Best remembered for his ballets, Le corsaire and Giselle, Adam was a prolific composer for the theatre. Adolphe Adam is credited with developing the French form of opera along with his teacher Adrien Boieldieu and his older contemporary Daniel Auber.
Jacques Rivette was a French film critic and director. One of the most important members of the French New Wave, Rivette's work is renowned for its loose narratives, improvisation, and lengthy running times. Rivette, who started his career as a film critic, worked for the film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma and his articles helped popularize the magazine in the 1960s.
Hippolyte Taine was a French critic and historian who was the chief theoretical influence of French naturalism. One of the first practitioners of historicist criticism, he was also a major proponent of sociological positivism and made attempts to provide a scientific account of literature. He had a special relationship with novelist Émile Zola and corresponded with the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.
Isidore Isou was a Romanian-born French novelist, dramaturge, poet, visual artist, film director, and economist. He is credited with founding an art and literary movement called Lettrism, which owed inspiration to Surrealism and Dadaism. Isidore Isou is best remembered for his revolutionary 1951 movie, Traité de Bave et d'Eternité.
Edmond de Goncourt was a French writer, book publisher, art critic, and literary critic. He is credited with founding the popular French literary organization, the Goncourt Literary Society. Between 1856 and 1875, he published essays on 18th-century art, which helped revive appreciation for the Late Baroque.