My Gleanings

Monday, July 30, 2007

Jacques Doniol-Valcroze on the beginnings of Cahiers du Cinema

In 1959, on the occasion of the publication of the 100th issue of Cahiers du Cinema, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, one of the founding triumvirate of editors of that magazine, contributed a short history of that magazine. This is excerpted from that article

(page 67-68) issue 100 October 1958 (my translation)
So, the first issues of Cahiers, in the lapse of time, appear only like a set of serous studies on film whose most prominent points are Bazin's article on "The Stylistics of Robert Bresson", that of Rohmer on "Vanity as Painting", issue no. 8 which was dedicated to Renoir, the entry onto the team of new-comers Jean-José Richer, Michel Mayoux, Hans Lucas (who was none other than Jean-Luc Godard) and Michel Dorsday, issues no. 17 and 18 dedicated in part to Chaplin on the occasion of Limelight, some dazzling articles by Astruc, Domarchi's first study on Murnau, Truffaut's first reviews, Rivette's first article on Hawks, the first special issue on "Women and Cinema" etc. Then in issue no. 31 there appeared, after a great hesitancy on the part of me and Bazin, an article by François Truffaut entitled "A Certain Tendency of French Cinema".
I do not seek here to flatter Truffaut, who really could care less, or to convince that his writings are forever graven in marble. I note objectively that the publication of this article marks the real point of departure for what today, rightly or wrongly, Cahiers du Cinema stands for. A hurdle was cleared, a suit was filed, all of us were in solidarity, something brought us all together. Henceforth, we knew that we were for Renoir, Rossellini, Hitchcock, Cocteau, Bresson. . . and opposed to X, Y and Z. Henceforth, there was a doctrine, the politique des auteurs, even if it lacked suppleness. Henceforth, it was quite natural that we did the series of "Interviews" with the great directors and that a real contact would be established between them and us.

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