My Gleanings

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Robert Hossein, Philippe de Broca, Edouard Molinaro, Cahiers thumbnails -- December 1962

Here are three thumbnail critiques from the December 1962 special issue of Cahiers du Cinema dedicated to the young cinema or the "New Wave". Three young directors - Robert Hossein, Philippe de Broca, and Edouard Molinaro - not associated with the "New Wave" who continued on to forge long careers are discussed. Although it must be remembered that Philippe de Broca is one of only three people to appear in both The Four Hundred Blows and Breathless. And he is the only person to appear in both of those films and Le Beau Serge. In the latter film he played a character named "Jacques Rivette de la Chasuble". Philippe de Broca was Truffaut's assistant director on The Four Hundred Blows as he was the AD on Claude Chabrol's first three feature films.

Robert Hossein (page 72)

The fear of ridicule, of naivete and of melodrama have never muzzled him: one thinks of a whiff of unpolluted air. Add to that an extreme but pleasing taste (he will be only through "realism", a petty bourgeois of the commercial French background) for stylisation and frenzied abstraction: two characters, three units, dead-ringers, twins, neatly-cut dilemmas, silences and few words, a taste acquired straight from Hitchcock and cinema a la Aldrich. But didn't it only add up to a lot of childishness? The thoughtful care of his advisers realized the transition of the insensible adolescent into the honorable and prissy, but perfectly boring, young man. Meanwhile, the darling child of the "working press" Each of his failures is greeted with the same formula, "we feel that his next film will be very successful", a prediction renewed each time.

Philippe de Broca (page 63)

Deceptively light, deceptively easy-going, this is a worrier, a melancholy humorist who is yet in search of himself. Little sure of himself, he advances into cinema leaning on two crutches, Daniel Boulanger and Jean-Pierre Cassel. The scenarist Boulanger brings with himself a little bit of fantasy and a great portion of eccentricity, but, to be sure, scarcely any rigor. As all unconsciously autobiographic filmmakers, he believes that he has found in his favorite interpreter, his idealized counter-type: while the actor Cassel is only his dull caricature.
Nevertheless, he has in his comedies given to his weak characters moments rather powerfully moving: on the other hand, he almost completely ruined Cartouche by crippling a character a priori strong. He can become, if he does not jump the tracks, a successful ironist whose films will be worth what his screenplays and actors are worth. It remains for him to choose them well.

Edouard Molinaro (page 76)

He commits the mistake in his action films, the error of taking too serioulsy the receipts of Hollywood B-films. But, in front of the bursting machine-guns of those films, there is something other than pallid extras in stained or threadbare jackets. And when he wanted to prove himself ambitious, he erred in taking Clavel seriously. But La Mort de Belle is one of the rare Simenon adaptations which does not caricature its point of departure.
Alas, on the screen also science wiothout conscience is only the ruin of the soul. Molinaro, a technician without fear or blame, often says in his direction the contrary of what teh scenario implies: what is forbidden to him is emotion.

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