My Gleanings

Friday, January 26, 2007

Was there ever a cinema de papa Part 2

I began my previous post on the subject of the term “cinema de papa” by asking you to google <<“Francois Truffaut” “cinema de papa”>> and request English language only. This time the query is google <<“Francois Truffaut” “cinema de papa” site:fr>>. That query will retrieve sites that emanate from France.
I just conducted that search and had forty-two sites retrieved for my that after eliminating duplicates, Google reduced to thirty.
Of those thirty:
In five, the terms “Francois Truffaut” and “Cinema de Papa” appear in links only. Six sites used the term “cinema de papa” as a synonym for “tradition of quality” but do it in a generally way, never claiming that Truffaut himself used the term. Only one,from the newsmagazine Marianne, attempts to put the term in Truffaut’s mouth. The writer then goes on to demonstrate that he has not a clue what he is discussing by imply that Truffaut critiques of the films “Casque d'Or”, Lola Montes and La Traversee de Paris were “assassines et méprisantes” ("murderous and contemptful"). An idea which will not stand simple research. The other eighteen hits – and indeed the first twelve hits – deal with a film released in 1969 which was titled “Le Cinema de Papa”. And as the saying goes thereby hangs a tale.
Around 1968, Eric Rohmer went to François Truffaut looking for help in financing his film Ma Nuit Chez Maud. Truffaut put together a group of investors, including himself to back the project. He also asked an actor who had recently turned to directing and who had won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject in 1966 to come on as his assistant in getting the film produced. That young actor-director was named Claude Berri. Truffaut and Berri quickly became very close. Before Truffaut died, his last two visitors were Robert Lachenay and claude Berri. In his memoirs Autoportrait, Berri reveals quite quickly that in his personal chambre verte, Truffaut holds one of the places of honor. The Rohmer film was a great success and Truffaut began to put together ad-hoc production groups to make films that otherwise might not get financing. Berri continued as his assistant. In 1970, Berri wrote and directed the aforementioned film Le Cinema de Papa which is so often (60 %) linked to Truffaut in fr (French) web-sites. That film was produced by a one-time only producing partnership called Papas Cinema. So was Truffaut a partner in the company Papas Cinema? Well since it is evident that on a morale level Truffaut was one hundred per-cent behind Berri and since Truffaut was just coming off helping to finance films for Eric Rohmer and for Berri's brother-in-law, Maurice Pialat. one would have to suppose that, if Truffaut did not pitch in with financial support, then Berri was able to put the financing together without Truffaut's help. In 1971, Truffaut wrote a review of the film for Pariscope which he reprinted in his collection The Films in My Life.

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Blogger Paulo said...

Very nice and interesting blog. The extensive Cahiers material you've been able to compile and organize here is impressive.

I'm wondering if I could ask you a favor: I'm trying, for a long time now, to find the Best Film Lists of Cahiers from 1952, 1953 and 1954 - that is, the individual ones, critic by critic. I see that you already have the individual lists of some critics (Benayoun) or critics turned filmmakers (Chabrol, Godard, Rivette, the whole nouvelle vague pack). Could you post the others? That would help me just greatly.

30/1/07 17:55  
Blogger jdcopp said...

I have just posted the ten best lists for Andre Bazin and for the director Andre Techine which at the present time are the only other ones that I have typed up. Cahiers did not publish ten best lists until January 1955 when they published the lists for 1954 of 16 different critics - well 15 critics and producer Pierre Braunberger's list. By 1966, Cahiers published 45 lists for the previous year in its January edition and another 20 in its February edition. At the present time I am engaged in a few other projects but I hope in the future to compile a few more of these lists. I am interested, for instance, in Georges Sadoul's list. Sadoul was a great backer of international film who after a few years posted lists with only one film from one country. I beleive that he only ever listed one mainstream Hollywood film as a ten best and that as Jerry Lewis' "The Nutty Professor".

31/1/07 19:08  
Anonymous ZC said...

This has been a revelatory and informative two-part post. It seems that your research about the term "cinéma de papa" needs to be disseminated more widely. Even academic texts on French cinema haphazardly use the term (which is fine) and attribute it to Truffaut's essay (not fine!). I was recently asked a question for my PhD exams that assumed Truffaut's use of the term. You posted this more than six years ago - why, do you think, has this term continued to be misunderstood? I'm shocked that your blog seems to be the only website (in English, anyway), that addresses this misunderstanding. I'm very grateful for your research.

27/9/13 19:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also reseaarched for "cinema de papa" label for a long time and Truffaut surely did not mention it in "A Certain tendency..." article. I never found any reference except occasional second-grade US scholarship... I firmly believe that the term was launched as "Papas Kino", in German, in sentence "Papas Kino is tot" ("cinema of the fathers is dead") by Young German Cinema movement in their Obernhausen manifest in February 1962:

12/1/14 10:59  
Anonymous Biosguru said...


Curiosity for "Cinema du Papa" got me here. Excellent blog about this term. Recently watched a lot of French "old wave" movies, was wondering what the fuzz was all about. Most of the are still highly watchable. Compared with a lot of the "new wave" movies :)

3/4/14 14:19  

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