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Films à clef


  • Films in which real persons, places, or events are depicted under invented names. For films that depict the lives of real people see [Biographical films.]
  • URI(s)

  • Instance Of

  • Scheme Membership(s)

  • Collection Membership(s)

  • Form

    • Films à clef
  • Variants

    • us: Cinéma à clef
    • us: Films à clé
    • us: Movies à clef
  • Broader Terms

  • Sources

    • found: Work cat.: Citizen Kane, 2011.
    • found: López, D. Films by genre, c1993(Film à Clef (Cinéma à Clef, Movie à Clef). A roman à clef ("key novel") is a novel in which the main characters are based on real people, but whose identities, although easily recognized by well-informed readers, are nevertheless veiled to avoid any printing interdiction or legal prosecution. The same applies to movies which use similar techniques for concealing the character's (or characters') real-life identity. Most of these films are concealed biographies and deal with Hollywood personalities. They have been referred to as films à clef. Examples: Citizen Kane; Caught; Sunset Boulevard; The Goddess; Imitation of Life; The Carpetbaggers; The Last Tycoon; Network; The Greek Tycoon; Ein Mann wie Eva)
    • found: Wikipedia, Feb. 17, 2016:Film à clef (A film à clef or film à clé (French for "film with a key"), is a film describing real life, behind a façade of fiction. "Key" in this context means a table one can use to swap out the names. It is the film equivalent of the roman à clef. Notable films à clef: 8 1/2 is based on Federico Fellini's experience suffering from "director's block"; Annie Hall, believed to be a version of Woody Allen's own relationship with Diane Keaton (whose birth name is Diane Hall); Citizen Kane, a thinly disguised biographical film about William Randolph Hearst; Magnolia, is loosely inspired by Paul Thomas Anderson's experience in dealing with his father's death from cancer; Adaptation: while parts of the film are adapted from Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief, most of the film is a heavily fictionalized account of Charlie Kaufman's difficulty in adapting the book into a screenplay; The Last Samurai, inspired by the 1876 Satsuma Rebellion and also on the story of Jules Brunet, a French army captain who fought in the Boshin War; Primary Colors is a thinly-veiled depiction of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign; Dreamgirls, the musical film based on the career of The Supremes; Last Days (2005), a barely concealed dramatization of Kurt Cobain's final days; The Devil Wears Prada is based on Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour; Velvet Goldmine is largely based on the career of David Bowie)
    • found: Malloy, T. What is... film à clef?, via Terry Malloy's pigeon coop blog, Oct. 10, 2013, viewed on Feb. 17, 2016(Film à clef, or film à clé, is a type of film based on real life but played out as fiction. The term is French for 'film with a key', with the 'key' referring to the process of swapping out real names with fictional ones. It is the film version of roman à clef, which is the literary, and presumably original, equivalent. This type of film is different from biopics, whether they're based on a real person or not, as they're not played as fact; it's told solely as fiction. A common type of film à clef is when a fiction film is based on the writer's personal experiences. There are countless examples of film à clef, but some of the more notable ones include: Citizen Kane - Kane was based on American newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. Magnolia - apparently loosely inspired by director Paul Thomas Anderson's experience of dealing with the death of his father from cancer. Lost In Translation - Scarlett Johansson and Giovanni Ribisi's characters are believed to be based on writer/director Sofia Coppola and her ex-husband Spike Jonze. Saving Private Ryan - Loosely based on the story of the Niland brothers.)
  • General Notes

    • Films in which real persons, places, or events are depicted under invented names. For films that depict the lives of real people see [Biographical films.]
  • Example Notes

    • Note under [Biographical films]
  • Change Notes

    • 2016-02-17: new
    • 2016-05-11: revised
  • Alternate Formats

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