Broca, Philippe de

▪ 2005
Philippe-Claude-Alex de Broca de Ferrussac 
      French film director (b. March 15, 1933, Paris, France—d. Nov. 26, 2004, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France), achieved international success in the 1960s with his irreverent comedies, including the espionage spoof L'Homme de Rio (1964; That Man from Rio) and the antiwar satire Le Roi de couer (1966; The King of Hearts). A former assistant to New Wave directors François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol, Broca made some 40 movies, most of which he wrote or co-wrote. His last film, Vipère au poing (Viper in the Fist), was released just weeks before his death.

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▪ French director
in full  Philippe-Claude-Alex de Broca  
born March 15, 1933, Paris, France
died November 25, 2004, Neuilly-sur-Seine

      French film director best known for his eccentric, irreverent comedies, made with enthusiasm and technical skill.

      After graduation from the Paris Technical School of Photography and Cinematography, Broca began his film career as a cameraman on a documentary shot in Africa. He worked for a time as an assistant to directors Claude Chabrol (Chabrol, Claude), François Truffaut (Truffaut, François), Henri Decoin, and Georges Lacombe—who were rebelling against the classically and carefully written studio scripts that were then so popular in the French cinema.

      Although Broca's early association with New Wave directors had an influence on him, he verged from them and put his energies and technical skills into comedies or humorous depictions of nonconformist characters and their confused situations. Some of his early films starred Jean-Pierre Cassel (Cassel, Jean-Pierre) as a good-natured lover—in Les Jeux de l'amour (1960; The Love Game), Le Farceur (1961; The Joker), and L'Amant de cinq jours (1961; The Five Day Lover)—and the characterization was reprised in Le Cavaleur (1978; Practice Makes Perfect). Perhaps his most popular early films were L'Homme de Rio (1963; That Man from Rio), a spoof of espionage movies, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo (Belmondo, Jean-Paul), and Le Roi de coeur (1966; The King of Hearts), an antiwar film in which the inmates of an asylum take over a deserted village during wartime and elect a humble British soldier (played by Alan Bates) their king; The King of Hearts enjoyed long popularity as a cult film. His movies in the 1970s and '80s generally were less critically acclaimed. Broca, who wrote or cowrote most of his film scripts, continued to work into the 21st century.

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Universalium. 2010.

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