Lisa Downing's comprehensive study of the films of Patrice Leconte, the maverick chameleon of contemporary French cinema, traces lines of continuity and revision through a body of apparently disparate films whose 'messages' often appear both contradictory and controversial. Pursuing a close reading of the recurrent themes, styles, intertexts and techniques which structure Leconte's filmmaking, Downing re-evaluates Leconte's status as an enigmatic artist offering complex and paradoxical commentary on contemporary questions of sexuality, ethics and identity. She indicates for the first time the ways in which Leconte's cinematic concerns mirror significant trends in modern and postmodern thought. In the light of her readings, Leconte's hybridity reappears not as indecision or a lack of substance - as certain critics have argued - but as a valid and challenging ethical and aesthetic strategy. This book is the first full-length critical work in English on Leconte's cinema. It provides essential reading both for enthusiasts of French cinema and for those fascinated by the relationship between popular culture and 'high' theory. Harnessing a critical approach that combines clarity and intellectual rigour, it invites students, researchers and interested filmgoers to consider anew this rich and understudied body of films.