My Gleanings

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Julien Duvivier, the "young turcs" against the Parisian press: the Bonnefille connection

Ferdinand: This looks like a setting from "Pepe le Moko"
Marianne: Who?
Ferdinand: Pepe le Moko.
Marianne: Who's that?
Ferdinand: You clearly don't know anything.

from Jean-Luc Godard's "Pierrot le Fou"

In an effort to expand on my report on the reactions to the various films from the director Julien Duvivier by the so-called "young turks" and their mentors at Cahiers du Cinema which I posted on Sept 10 2006, I have consulted Eric Bonnefille's biography of Duvivier "Julien Duvivier Le mal aimant du cinema francais" which gives detailed reports on the critical reactions for all of Duvivier's films across the span of all Parisian critics. This post is culled from his reports on the films Duvivier made in the heyday of those "young turks". All translations are mine.

Marianne de ma jeunesse (1955)
(from pages 129-130)
"Nevertheless, Duvivier had rarely gotten such disastrous reviews, even if the better part of the critics respected his try at leaving the beaten path."

Bonnefille writes, "Duvivier found support only in a few papers." and lists 11 critics who turned thumbs down on the film and only 3 who gave it a thumbs up.

He also writes, "Six months later, François Truffaut, in an article on the 'Aging of Films', ranked Marianne among those [films] which are 'born out-of-date' and 'arrived in French cinema 15 years too late' reeking of a 'pre-war esthetic'. "

Voici le temps des assassins...(1956)
(pages 137-140)
Bonnefille writes, "Once again, hostility dominates the press, except that the rejection is not as sweeping as that of Marianne, and, contrary to what we have a tendency to believe in retrospect, it was the critics of a "new generation" who came to Duviver's defense: François Truffaut, André S Labarthe, Jacques Donoil-Valcroze and Alexander Astruc."

" 'Here comes the time of surprises' " Truffaut exclaimed in Arts sure that this was Duvivier's best film, 'The one in which you feel of all the elements: screenplay, direction, acting, photography, music, etc. a control which is that of a filmmaker succeeding in a total sureness of himself and his craft' ".
Bonnefille quotes Astruc as saying, "The photography is admirable, all the compositions are exceptional. You taste a true joy to see this, because it is evident that French cinema errs a a contempt for mise-en-scene while one senses that Duvivier glories in it....He loves the people he works with."
Bonnefille quotes from Jacques Donoil-Valcroze writing in France-Observateur. "The mise-en-scene is of a great class...The direction is powerful, sober, dense with a kind of depth, profundity and intelligence which in literature is made by the art of a Balzac or Tolstoy."
Writing of André Labarthe's review in Cahiers, Bonnefille says, "He judges Duvivier's work 'of a faultless appearance. He bares witness to a straightforwardness rather rare among our directors.' "
Beyond these four Bonnefille lists only two other critics as being positive on this film, Jacques Nels and Georges Charensol. (Charensol would become one of the most vociferous of the anti-New Wave critics.)
Against these 6 whom Bonnefille finds positive on the film he matches 11 whose reviews he concludes were negative.

L'Homme à l'imperméable (1957)
(pages 145-147)
Bonnefille rates 5 of the reviews for this film as being positive while he considers 7 to be negative.
Bonnefille quotes André Bazin in Le Parisien, "I am astonished that a director so sure of his metier offers us this superficial sketch."
Bonnefille quotes François Truffaut in Arts, "I can no longer bear Fernandel." But also, Truffaut wrote, "Duvivier's work, laborious but impeccable, cared for with a love which surpasses simple conscienciousness ... justifies going out of your way to see."
He considers Jacques Donoil-Valcroze's review in France-Observateur as being negative.

(pages 153-159)
Bonnefille counts 11 reviews as being positive and 6 as being negative.
He writes this, "As for François Truffaut, he informed the readers of Cahiers du Cinema that Pot-Bouille was 'the opposite of an academic film, a work of irony, baroque, unbridled and mostly unexpected, a ferocious and almost involuntary parody of Gervaise a caricature of Zola, but one faithful and life-like, very clear, in brief, and as my dear friend Jean Domarchi says, Pot-Bouille is the butt-end in its pure state.' Once his lyricism was quenched Truffaut specifies all the same that this "is not a film d'auteur, it is quite the contrary!...But that does not prevent that the ferocity of Jeanson, his verve multiplied by the relentless gentleness of Duvivier, there results something unusual and pleasant.' " Further on in discussing the direction of actors in this film, Bonnefille quotes Truffaut, 'The direction of actors is here almost straight-up.' "
Discussing Michel Delahaye's (who has racked up around 300 contributions to Cahiers since 1953) review of this film in Cinema '57, Bonnefille writes, "For Michel Delahaye in Cinema '57 Zola is present 'but the measure that they retain nothing of the ferment of events which can give place to an agreeable parade of typical images.' "

La Femme et le pantin(1959)
(pages 161-163)
This film is almost the reverse of Pot-Bouille as there were by Bonnefille 11 critics whose reviews rate as negative with but 3 on the positive side.
The film was made at the zenith of Brigitte Bardot's and not surprisingly was purely a vehicle for her. In a review published in the April 1959 edition of Cahiers du Cinema Luc Moullet described the film as such, "not a film of Duvivier's but Bardot's film by Duvivier."
Bonnefille quotes Michel Mardore (who has almost 200 contributions to Cahiers beginning in the mid-50s) but who was writing here in Positif, calling the film "a vulgar-touristic pie in the face' where 'Duvivier amuses himself by making a Vadim pastiche."

Luc Moullet writing this time in Arts wrote of this film, "The camera roams a single room, but it's movement never succeeds in rendering, as happens in Rope, an isolated space. The actors are never directed when they are not talking, they appear to be sleeping on their feet....French "quality" cinema...starts with smart words and tragic lines invented by an established scenarist, -Henri Jeanson in this case - which always sound falser than false.
discusses new wave
In discussing the critical reception of this film by the Parisian critics, Bonnefille says, "one finds little real enthusiasm in the reviews." And he finds 2 of the reviews to be positive and 6 to be negative.

(pages 182-183)
Bonnefille writes, "With 'Boulevard' Duvivier finds among the critics his share of defenders (often moderate) and detractors (sometimes relentless).
I thought that here it might be instructive to reprint the Bonnefille's quote from Georges Charensol's review. Charensol is remembered as one of the most vociferously anti-"New Wave" critics of that era.
"The defects of Boulevard are so obvious that they shield us a little from one of its qualities, its sense of popular life of which Duvivier has given so much testimony...But, all things considered, between the pretentious youngsters who believe that they have discovered cinema while parodying their elders and excellent artisans like Duvivier, my choice is quickly made." Charensol goes on to say, "[Leaud] loses his spontaneity which gave character to The 400 Blows. Stripped of this asset, his inexperience bursts out and, in spite of the energetic direction of Julien Duvivier, he plays and speaks falsely."


The quote above from Michel Mardore concerning the film Le Femme and le pantin, which appeared in an article about Brigitte Bardot, is one of the few mentions of Duvivier's name in Positif in that period. Between the issue no. 4 in 1952 when it published a review of The Little World of Don Camillo and 1968 when it published a posthumous review of Diaboliquement, votre, Positif never reviewed a Duvivier film. Not only that, but searching through Bonnefille's exhaustive study of the reviews of Duvivier's films, I could find only 2 examples of Positif regulars reviewing Duvivier in other venues. Robert Benayoun reviewed La Chambre ardente for France-Observateur and Paul-Louis Thirard reviewed La Femme et le pantin for Les Lettres Francaises.


Jean-Pierre Leaud followed The 400 Blows up with Duvivier's film Boulevard. Bonnefille writes this about that encounter.
"During the shoot which lasted from 8 August to 30 September, the filmmaker had all he could do to deal with the rebellious Leaud. In Le Canard enchainé, Michel Duran let understand that conflicts were not rare. 'The technicians awaited with curiosity the first contact between the director and the young actor. It was conclusive, it appears. The young wiseguy soon revealed himself a lot more insolent than the other.' Duvivier hurried to write the newspaper that Leaud 'was never lacking in respect'. In fact, an altercation had effectively pitted him against the young boy who, having suggested to him that he take lessons from Truffaut, received a slap and deserted the set for a few days. [Bonnefille's source here is Robert Sabatier who wrote the novel the film is based on and who spent a great deal of time hanging around the set] No doubt this was not the only run-in. Jacques Duby [a co-star], however, remembers that Duviver gave proff of a patience towards the caprices of this 'unbearable but talented scamp', in the end obtaining from him 'all that he wanted.' "

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Bertrand Tavernier a dueling bibliography Cahiers vs Positif 1960 to 1973.

A simple bibliography of Bertrand Tavernier's writings published at Cahiers du Cinema or Positif up until his breakthrough into film directing in 1973.

Review -- Time Without Pity Positif 35 Jul-Aug 1960

Who Is Hubert Cornfield Positif 36 Nov 1960 (with P-L Thirard)
Interview with Edgar G. Ulmer Cahiers du Cinema 122 Aug 1961
Belgian Previews (Reviews-- "Porgy and Bess", "Spartacus") Positif 41 Sep 61
Interview with Jean-Pierre Melville Cahiers du Cinema 124 Oct 1961
Belgique Cahiers du Cinema 127 Jan 1962
Review -- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Cahiers du Cinema 128 Feb 1962
Encounter with Phillip Yordan Cahiers du Cinema 128 Feb 1962
Review -- Atom Age Vampire Cahiers du Cinema 129 Mar 1962
Review -- Gold of the Seven Saints Cahiers du Cinema 132 Jun 1962
The Singer, not the Song Cahiers du Cinema 132 Jun 1962
Letter from Brussells Cahiers du Cinema 132 Jun 1962
Otto Preminger Press Conference Cahiers du Cinema 133 Jul 1962
Introducing Richard Quine Cahiers du Cinema 133 Jul 1962
Review -- Bonne Chance Charlie Cahiers du Cinema 135 Sep 1962
Review -- Two Loves Cahiers du Cinema 136 Oct 1962
Review -- Guns of the Black Witch Cahiers du Cinema 136 Oct 1962
Review -- Man with a Star/War and Peace (King Vidor retrospective) Cahiers du Cinema 136 Oct 1962
Review -- Le Combat dan l'Ile Cahiers du Cinema 137 Nov 1962
Interview with Jean-Luc Godard Cahiers du Cinema 138 Dec 1962 (with Jean Collet, Michel Delahaye, Jean-André Fieschi and André Labarthe)
Interview with Claude Chabrol Cahiers du Cinema 138 Dec 1962(with Jean Collet, Michel Delahaye, Jean-André Fieschi and André Labarthe)
Interview with Francois Truffaut Cahiers du Cinema 138 Dec 1962(with Jean Collet, Michel Delahaye, Jean-André Fieschi and André Labarthe)
Annotated Filmography of Howard Hawks (BT annotates "The Criminal Code") Cahiers du Cinema 139 Jan 1963
Petit Journal du Cinema -- Letter from London Cahiers du Cinema 140 Feb 1963
Petit Journal du Cinema -- Alan Dwan Cahiers du Cinema 140 Feb 1963
Review -- The Errand Boy Cahiers du Cinema141 Mar 1963
Extracts of Correspondence with Delmer Daves Positif 50 Mar 1963
Petit Journal du Cinema -- Howard Hawks note Cahiers du Cinema 142 Apr 1963
Petit Journal du Cinema -- Richard Quine note Cahiers du Cinema 142 Apr 1963
Petit Journal du Cinema -- In memoriam, John Farrow and Jack Carson Cahiers du Cinema 142 Apr 1963
Interview with Stanley Donen Cahiers du Cinema 143 May 1963
Cannes: a week for the critic -- BT reviews "Balcony", "David and Lisa" and "Ningen" Cahiers du Cinema 145 Jul 1963
Cannes: a week for the critic BT reviews "The Baby Carriage", de Bo Widerberg (Suède) Cahiers du Cinema 145 Jul 1963
Cannes: a week for the critic BT reviews "The Sun in a Net", Cahiers du Cinema 145 Jul 1963
Cannes: a week for the critic -- BT reviews "Otoshiana" Cahiers du Cinema 145 Jul 1963
90 American Producers -- thumbnail critiques of 90 American film producers (with Patrick Brion) Cahiers du Cinema 150/151 Dec63/Jan64
60+60+1 Directors BT contributes critiques of 14 American directors Cahiers du Cinema 150/151 Dec63/Jan64
The Secret Museum Cahiers du Cinema 150/151 Dec63/Jan64
Interview with Jane Fonda (with Pierre Kast and Jacques Donoil-Valcroze) Cahiers du Cinema 150/151 Dec63/Jan64
Corman speaks -- Interview Positif 59 Mar 1964 (with Bernard Eisenschitz and C Wikking)
Transoceanic Interview with Budd Boetticher Cahiers du Cinema 157 Jul 1964
Mamoulian Speaks Positif 64-65 Rentrée 1964 (with Jean Douchet)
Review -- 'In the French Style"
Positif 64-65 Rentrée 1964
Questions asked Tay Garnett Positif 64-65 Rentrée 1964
Anthony Mann (short interview) Cahiers du Cinema 186 Jan 1967
Review -- "The Bobo" Cahiers du Cinema188 March 1967
Meet Mr Mainwaring Cahiers du Cinema 189 Apr 1967
Interview with Howard Hawks Cahiers du Cinema 192 Jul 1967
Encounter with Paul Wendkos Cahiers du Cinema 195 Nov 1967
Encounter with Andre de Toth Cahiers du Cinema 197 Jan 1968
John Ford in Paris Notes of a Press-Agent Positif 81 Feb 1968
Review -- Quartermass and the Pit Cahiers du Cinema 200/201 Apr/May 1968
Interview -- Richard Brooks Positif 95 May 1968
Encounter with Richard Widmark
Positif 95 May 1968 (with Michel Ciment)
Review -- Attack on the Iron Coast Positif 97 Sep 1968
Review -- Mon Fils, Cet Incompris
Positif 98 Oct 1968
Review -- The Court-Martial of Sgt. Ryker
Positif 98 Oct 1968
Interview with Vittorio Cottafavi
Positif 101 Dec 1968/Jan 1969
I Even Met Lusty Turks
Positif 102 Feb 1969
A Letter from Brussels and London
Positif 102 Feb 1969
Interview -- Carl Foreman
Positif 102 Feb 1969
Review -- Blue Positif 103 Mar 1969
Interview -- Joseph Losey
Positif 104 Apr 1969
Review -- Survival 67
Positif 104 Apr 1969
Interview -- Robert Benayoun
Positif 105 May 1969
Interview -- Robert Parrish
Positif 105 May 1969
Review -- Sebastien Positif 105 May 1969
Review -- La Dernier Face a Face
Positif 106 Jun 1969
Review -- Le Diable par la Queue
Positif 106 Jun 1969
Interview with Herbert Biberman
Positif 107 Summer 1969
The Lusty Cannois
Positif 107 Summer 1969 (with Claudine [Colo] Tavernier)
Interview with Gordon Douglas
Positif 108 Sep 1969 (with Roger Tailleur)
Interview with Edward Chodorov
Positif 108 Sep 1969
Interview with Budd Boetticher
Positif 110 Nov 1969 (with Michel Ciment, Bernard Cohn, and Louis Seguin)
Interview with Stanley Donen
Positif 111 Dec1968Jan1969 (with [Claudine]Colo Tavernier)
Words from Kirk Douglas Positif 112 Feb 1970 (with Michel Ciment)
Debate on Cinema and Politics in 1969 Positif 113 Mar 1970 (with Robert Benayoun, Albert Bolduc, Michel Ciment, Jacques Demeure, Louis Seguin, Roger Tailleur, Paul-Louis Thirard)
Interview -- Abraham Polonsky
Positif 114 Apr 1970 (with Michel Ciment)
Interview -- John Huston
Positif 116 Jun 1970 (with Rui Nogueira)
Interview -- Franklin Schaffner
Positif 117 Jul 1970 (with Michel Ciment and Frederic Vitoux)
French Cinema of the 1930s
Positif117 Jul 1970
Interview -- Michael Wadleigh - Woodstock
Positif 118 Aug 1970 (with Michel Ciment)
D W Griffith is doing well. I am too. Thank you.
Positif 120 Oct 1970
Interview -- John Frankenheimer I Positif 122 Dec 1970 (with Michel Ciment)
Review -- Barquero
Positif 123 Jan 1970
Interview -- John Frankenheimer II Positif 124 Feb1971 (with Michel Ciment)
The Contradictions of William Wellman
Positif 124 Feb 1971
Review -- The Learning Tree
Positif 127 May 1971
Cannes 1971 -- (BT reviews "The Sudden Wealth of the Poor People of Kombach" and "The Murder of Fred Hampton")
Positif 130 Sep 1971
Murmurs in a Far-off Corridor (about Jacques Tourneur)
Positif 132 Nov 1971
Remarks from Jacques Tourneur (collected and annotated by BT)
Positif 132 Nov 1971
Book Review -- The Director's Event (Eric Sherman and Martin Rubin)/Horizon West (Jim Kitses)/Science Fiction in the Cinema (John Baxter)
Positif 133 Dec 1971
On Henry Leopold de Fienne called Henry Hathaway
Positif 135 Feb 1972
Interview -- Henry Hathaway
Positif 136 Mar 1972 (with Michel Ciment)
Interview -- Robert Altman
Positif 147 Feb 1973 (with Michel Ciment)
BT also contribute to Cahiers du Cinema yearly "10 Best Films" feature for 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966 and a list of "Ten Best American Films of the Sound Era" for the special "American Cinema" issue no. 150/151 Dec63/Jan64.
BT was a panelist on Cahiers "conseil des dix" on two occasions (Sep61 and Aug62).
The bulk of BT's film reviews were shorter reviews that were printed either in Positif's "From A to Z section" or Cahiers' "Notes on Other Films" and later "Films Released Last Month in Paris" sections. His longer reviews were The Errand Boy (Cahiers) and Time without Pity, In the French Style, and Silvio Narizzano's Blue. Also, the article "D W Griffith is doing well. I am too. Thank you." could be considered a review of the films MASH, Woodstock and The Molly Maguires.
The literature discussing Tavernier's time as a critic usually makes statements such as "Tavernier was historically linked with Positif", or "most of his major critical pieces appeared in Positif and he is often associated with Positif in the same way that Godard and Truffaut are considered Cahiers directors" or that Tavernier wrote for "Cahiers du cinéma during Rohmer's reign." (Eric Rohmer edited Cahiers from 1960 to 1963)
As can be seen here, Tavernier contributed 43 pieces to Cahiers between 1961 and 1968, while he made 52 contributions to Positif between 1960 and 1973. However, 43 of those contributions to Positif occur after he stopped contributing to Cahiers. His career as a critic thus breaks down into a Cahiers period of about 7 years followed by a Positif that lasts up until he turns to direction. It does not appear that at either magazine he was ever considered staff. Speculation alert - I suspect that the seven articles that were printed by Positif after he commenced contributing to Cahiers were pieces that he prepared for Cahiers but which although they merited publication were not accepted at Cahiers. The magazine in its yellow cover days was small in size (6"x10") and rather thin (62 to 64 pages until Nov 1963 and 78 to 80 pages from them on until November 1964 when he went to the larger, thicker format). And after the success of Truffaut, Godard and Chabrol, there was no lack of young film critics who wanted to write for Cahiers. Thus, there had to have been a mountain of submissions chasing a little bit of space and much worthy material would have been picked up elsewhere.
Tavernier's 43 articles in Cahiers outdistances the 21 submissions accepted of Claude Chabrol, and his alter egos, Jean-Yves Goute and Charles Eitel between 1953 and 1963. And it is not too far behind the 73 contributions of Jean-Luc Godard/Hans Lucas between 1952 and 1967.
And why did he finally jump ship from Cahiers to Positif in the spring of 1968. A quick look at the table of contents for the Apr/May 1968 issue of Cahiers suggests an answer. BT's stock in trade was American Cinema and it appears that as Cahiers begins it leftward lurch it no longer has any interest in interviews with Richard Brooks or encounters with Richard Widmark.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fereydoun Hoveyda 10 best films Cahiers du Cinema (1957-1965)

Fereydoun Hoveyda was an Sorbonne-educated Iranian who worked in Paris for UNESCO in the 1950s. He also was a frequent contributor to Cahiers du Cinema from 1955 to 1965. In 1971, he became the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, a post which he held until 1979 and the time of the fall of the Shah of Iran. Despite his having served under the Shah Hoveyda's book about the Shah The Fall of the Shah (1980) demonized him. Hoveyda spent most the last quarter century of his life writing and lecturing in the politics of the Gulf region.

1.....The Criminal Life of Archibald de la Cruz (Luis Bunuel)
2.....The Girl Can't Help It (Frank Tashlin)
3.....Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (Frank Tashlin)
4.....Fear Strikes Out (Robert Mulligan)
5.....A King in New York (Charles Chaplin)
6.....Aparajito (Satyajit Ray)
7.....The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (Richard Fleischer)
8.....Men in War (Anthony Mann)
9.....Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk)
10...Forbidden Planet (Fred M Wilcox)

1.....The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman)
2.....Touch of Evil (Orson Welles)
3.....Kanal (Andrjez Wajda)
4.....Jet Pilot (Joseph von Sternberg)
5.....The Cobweb (Vincente Minelli)
6.....Il Grido (Michelangelo Antonioni)
7.....Bonjour Tristesse (Otto Preminger)
8.....The Tarnished Angels (Douglas Sirk)
9.....Les Fils de L'Eau (Jean Rouch)
10...Les Mistons (François Truffaut)

1.....The Tiger of Eschnapur (Fritz Lang)
2.....Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman)
3.....Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks)
4.....Run of the Arrow (Samuel Fuller)
5.....À double tour (Claude Chabrol)
6.....The Empress Yang Kwei Fei (Kenji Mizoguchi)
7.....The Four Hundred Blows (François Truffaut)
8.....Anatomy of a Murder (Otto Preminger)
9.....Hiroshima mon Amour (Alain Resnais)
10...El Vampiro (Fernando Mendes)

1.....Poem of the Sea (Alexander Dovchenko/Yuliya Solntseva)
.......Party Girl (Nicholas Ray)
.......Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi)
4.....Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard)
.......Moonfleet (Fritz Lang)
.......El Vampiro (Fernando Mendes)
.......Shoot the Piano Player (François Truffaut)
8.....Spaceship of Human Destruction (Teruo Ishii)
9.....Bells are Ringing (Vincente Minelli)
10...Time Without Pity (Joseph Losey)

1......Black Sunday (Mario Bava)
2......Leon Morin, pretre (Jean-Pierre Melville)
........Underworld USA (Samuel Fuller)
4......Rocco and his Brothers (Luchino Visconti)
5......Blind Date (Joseph Losey)
6......Chronicle of a Summer (Jean Rouch)
7......Diabolical Dr. Mabuse (Fritz Lang)
8......Lola (Jacques Demy)
9......Elmer Gantry (Richard Brooks)
10....Colossus and the Amazon Queen (Vittorio Sala)

1962 (alphabetical in French)
Chronicle of Flaming Years (Yuliya Solntseva)
L'Education Sentimentale (Alexander Astruc)
Eva (Joseph Losey)
Wild River (Elia Kazan)
The Invisible Dr. Mabuse (Harald Reinl)
Jules and Jim (François Truffaut)
The Trial (Orson Welles)
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Vincente Minelli)
Le Signe du Lion (Eric Rohmer)
Vivre sa Vie (Jean-Luc Godard)

1.....The Errand Boy (Jerry Lewis)
.......The Nutty Professor(Jerry Lewis)
3.....Les Abysses (Nico Papatakis)
.......The Exterminating Angel (Luis Bunuel)
........Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard)
........The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock)
........Two Weeks in Another Town (Vincente Minelli)
8......The World of Apu (Satyajit Ray)
9......Irma la Douce (Billy Wilder)
10....Dr No (Terence Young)

1964 (alphabetical in French)
America, America (Elia Kazan)
The Damned (Joseph Losey)
David and Lisa (Frank Perry)
Freud (John Huston)
Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock)
The Patsy (Jerry Lewis)
Seven Swords for the King (Riccardo Freda)
The Servant (Joseph Losey)
Who's Minding the Store? (Frank Tashlin)

Ten Best American Films of the Talking Era (Dec63/Jan64 issue)
(no order)
The Prowler (Joseph Losey)
Party Girl (Nicholas Ray)
Duck Soup (Leo McCarey)
The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles)
Our Daily Bread (King Vidor)
To Be or Not To Be (Ernst Lubitsch)
Modern Times (Charles Chaplin)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford)
The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis)
Fury (Fritz Lang)

Ten Best French Films of the post-war period (Jan65)
(alphabetical in French)
Action immédiate (Maurice Labro)
L’Éducation sentimentale (Alexander Astruc)
Elena et les hommes (Jean Renoir)
Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais)
Lola (Jacques Demy)
Le Plaisir (Max Ophuls)
Le Signe du lion (Eric Rohmer)
Tirez sur le pianiste (François Truffaut)
La Traversée de Paris (Claude Autant-Lara)
Vivre sa vie (Jean-Luc Godard)

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Truffaut’s scorned films

This is a list of films that Truffaut wrote negatively about in "A Certain Tendancy of French Cinema".

Le Secret de Mayerling, La Symphonie pastorale, L'Amour du métier, Le Bon Dieu sans confession, Miquette et sa mère, Tous les chemins mènent à Rome, La Rose rouge, La Route Napoléon, L'Auberge rouge, Occupe-toi d'Amélie, Un homme marche dans la ville, Amants de bras-mort, Le Blé en herbe, Les Compagnes de la nuit, Le Diable au corps, Manèges, Dieu Besoin Des Hommes, Garcon Sauvage, La Minute De Verite, Au delà des grilles, Le Château de verre, Pattes blanches, Dédée d'Anvers, Une si jolie petite plage, Les Miracles n'ont lieu qu'une fois, La jeune folle, La Maison du silence. Amants de Brasmort, Un homme marche dans la ville,

In other sources, he was critical of:

Marguerite de la Nuit, Le Rouge et le noir, Monsieur Ripois, Les Orgueilleux, Therese Raquin, Le Pays D’ou Je Viens, Till L’Espiegle, Oeil pour Oeil, Pantalaskas, Une fille pour l’ete, Le Huitieme Jour, Normandie-Nieman, Le Bossu (1960), Les Loups dans la Bergerie, Sergent X, La Main Chaude, Classe tous Risque, Le Princesse de Cleves, Monsieur Sorge, Taxi Pour Tobruk, Mefiez-vous Fillettes, Chiens perdue sans colliers.

Films whose reviews Eugene Walz considers negative in his François Truffaut : a guide to references and resources
La Couronne noire, Père de mademoiselle, L'Amour d'une femme, Le Grand jeu, Le Guérisseur, Le Rouge et le noir, Les Aristocrates, Les Fruits de l'été, Dossier noir, Double destin, Les Évadés, Futures vedettes, Huis clos, Le Pain vivant, Le Printemps l'automne et l'amour, La Village magique, Club de femmes, La Lumière d'en face, La Mariée est trop belle, Papa, Maman, ma femme, et moi, Le Cas du Dr Laurent, Folies Bergères, L’Inspecteur aime la bagarre, L’Homme à l'imperméable, Je reviendrai à Kandara, Le Rouge est mis, La Salaire du péché, Le Triporteur, Les Sorcières des Salem, S O S Noronha, Les Grandes Familles,


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Georges Sadoul 10 best films Cahiers du Cinema 1957-1966

Georges Sadoul is one of the more well-known critics in the history of film. The OCLC WorldCat has the English translations of his Dictionary of Films and Dictionary of Film Makers (both originally published in 1972) as each being listed in more than 1000 library catalogs. He was a proponent of the notion of world cinema and in his lists as published by Cahiers he only twice names commercial Hollywood films. One of them, The Sweet Smell of Success was directed by the English director Alexander Mackendrick and the other was Jerry Lewis' The Nutty Professor. Between 1961 and 1966, he tried to adhere to a policy of one country-one film in compiling his ten best lists.

1.....Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini)
2.....A King in New York (Charles Chaplin)
3.....Porte des lilas (René Clair)
4.....Aparijito (Satyajit Ray)
5.....La Vida criminal de Archibaldo de la Cruz (Luis Bunuel)
6.....Morte en fraude (Marcel Camus)
.......La Casa del ángel (Leopoldo Torre Nilsson)
8.....Sorok pervyy [The Forty-first] (Grigori Chukhrai)
9.....Cronache di poveri amanti (Carlo Lizzani)
10...Celui qui doit mourir (Jules Dassin)

1958 (alphabetical in French)
Les Amants (Louis Malle)
Il Grido (Michelangelo Antonioni)
Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick)
Kanal (Andrzej Wajda)
Mon Oncle (Jacques Tati)
Les Mistons (François Truffaut)
Letyat zhuravli [The Cranes are Flying] (Mikheil Kalatozishvili)
Det Sjunde inseglet [The Seventh Seal] (Ingmar Bergman)
Les Tricheurs (Marcel Carné)
Une Vie (Alexander Astruc)

1959 (alphabetical in French)
Le Beau Serge (Claude Chabrol)
Ugetsu monogatari [Tales of Ugetsu] (Kenji Mizoguchi)
Smultronstället [Wild Strawberries] (Ingmar Bergman)
Bai mao nu [The White-haired Girl] (Bin Wang)
Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais)
Ivan Groznyy [Ivan the Terrible] (Sergei Eisenstein)
Moi un noir (Jean Rouch)
Ossessione (Luchino Visconti)
Les Quatre Cents Coups (François Truffaut)
Staré pověsti české [Old Czech Legends] (Jiri Trnka)

1960 (alphabetical in French)
À bout de souffle [Breathless] (Jean-Luc Godard)
L'Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni)
Ballada o soldate [Ballad of a Soldier] (Grigori Chukhrai)
Come Back, Africa (Lionel Rogosin)
Nazarin (Luis Bunuel)
Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray)
Poema o more [Poem of the Sea] A Dovhzhenko/Y Solntseva
Tirez sur le pianiste (Shoot the Piano Player) (Françcois Truffaut)
Le Trou (Jacques Becker)
Zazie dans le métro (Louis Malle)

(10 countries -- alas only one film)
Spain El Cochecito (Marco Ferreri)
France L'Enclos (Armand Gatti)
Great Britian Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Karel Reisz)
Italy Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Luchino Visconti)
Japan Hadaka no shima [The Naked Island] (Kaneto Shindo)
Poland Matka Joanna od aniolów [Mother Joan of the Angels] (Jerzy Kawalerowicz)
Mexico Ls Joven [The Young One] (Luis Bunuel)
Sweden Törst [Thirst] (Ingmar Bergman)
USSR Dom, v kotorom ya zhivu [The House I Live In] (Lev Koulidjanov)
USA Shadows (John Cassavetes)

1962 (without preferential order and by country)
Spain Viridiana (Luis Bunuel)
Greece Elektra (Michael Cacoyannis)
Italy L'Eclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni)
Poland Pokolenie [A Generation] (Andrzej Wajda)
Sweden Såsom i en spegel [Through a Glass Darkly] (Ingmar Bergman)
USSR Chistoe nebo [Clear Skies] (Grigori Chukhrai)
USA Primary (Robert Drew)
Multinational Le Procès [The Trial] (Orson Welles)
France (of equal merit) Cléo de 5 à 7 (Agnès Varda)
Vivre sa vie (Jean-Luc Godard)

1963 (without preferential order and by country)
Argentina Fin de fiesta (Leopoldo Torre Nilsson)
France Le Joli mai (Chris Marker)
Great Britain A Taste of Honey (Tony Richardson)
India Apur Sansar [The World of Apu] (Satyajit Ray)
Italy Salvatore Giuliano (Francesco Rosi)
Japan Seppuku [Harakiri] (Masaki Kobayashi)
Mexico El Ángel exterminador (Luis Bunuel)
USSR Ivanovo Detstvo [Ivan's Childhood] (Andrei Tarkovsky)
USA The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis)
Yugoslavia Deveti krug [The Ninth Circle] (France Stiglic)

Brazil Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol [Black Devil, White God] (Glauber Rocha)
Denmark Gertrud (Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Spain El Verdugo (Luis Garcia Berlanga)
France Une Femme Mariée (Jean-Luc Godard)
Great Britian The Damned (Joseph Losey)
India Shehar Aur Sapna [The City and the Dream] (Khwaja Ahmad Abbas)
Japan Suna no onna [Woman in the Dunes] (Hiroshi Teshigahara)
Poland Pasazerka [The Passenger] (Andrzej Munk)
USSR Ya chagaïou po Moskvié [Walking in the Streets of Moscow] Georgi Danielya
(I have mixed films presented in Paris and festival films. Pardon a temporary exile.)

Brazil Vidas Secas (Nelson Pereira dos Santos)
Spain El Verdugo (Luis Garcia Berlanga)
USA The Brig (Jonas Mekas)
France Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard)
Great Britain King & Country (Joseph Losey)
Italy Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa... (Luchino Visconti)
Japan Kwaidan (Masaki Kobayashi)
Pakistan Jago Hua Savera [The Day Shall Dawn] (Aaejay Kardar)
Czechoslovakia Cerny petr [Black Peter] (Milos Forman)
USSR Zacharovannaya desna [The Magic Desna] (Yuliya Solntseva)

1966 (alphabetical by country in French)
Germany Nicht versöhnt [Not Reconciled] (Jean-Marie Straub)
Belgium L'Homme au crâne rasé (André Delvaux)
Spain Campanadas a medianoche [Chimes at Midnight] (Orson Welles)
France Au Hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson)
Great Britian Cul-de-Sac (Roman Polanski)
Fahrenheit 451 (François Truffaut)
Italy I Pugni in tasca [Fists in the Pocket] (Marco Bellocchio)
Japan Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa)
Czechoslovakia Lásky jedné plavovlásky [Loves of a Blonde] (Milos Forman)

Best French since the Liberation (alphabetical by auteur)
Cahiers du Cinema January 1965
Le Diable au corps (Claude Autant-Lara)
Antoine et Antoinette (Jacques Becker)
Un condamné à mort s'est échappé [A Man Escaped] (Robert Bresson)
Les Enfants du paradis (Marcel Carné)
Les Carabiniers (Jean-Luc Godard)
Le 6 juin à l'aube (Jean Grémillon)
Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais)
Moi un noir (Jean Rouch)
Jour de fête (Jacques Tati)
Les Quatre cents coups (François Truffaut)


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Monday, February 05, 2007

Jacques Demy the unknown young turk

Jean-Luc Godard ends chapter 3 (b) of his Histoire(s) du Cinema which is titled “A New Wave”,

Jacques Demy
you knew them
yes, these were my friends”

Demy – Godard -- Cahiers du Cinema.

Jacques Demy and Cahiers du Cinema

I have often read some variation of this sentence “Jacques Demy did not write for Cahiers du Cinema” and have gone on to realize that the writer of that sentence had missed the point. You see, they seemed to be saying that “Jacques Demy did not write for Cahiers du Cinema” when the truth is that “Jacques Demy did not write for Cahiers du Cinema”. Put differently, Jacques Demy did not write for anyone. He was not a journalist. It must be said, however, Jacques Demy did contribute to Cahiers du Cinema. He certainly fraternized with the group remembered as “les turcs jeunes” He could be referred to as the “jeune’ turk who did not write. A squib published in July 1958’s edition of Cahiers in “Le Petit journal du cinema” entitled “Cahiers au pied du mur” (Cahiers getting a foothold) lists seven Cahiers contributors and talks of their progress in getting their film careers in motion. Those seven were Pierre Kast, Jacques Donoil-Valcroze, Claude Chabrol. Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Demy. It read, “Jacues Demy whose Le Bel Indifferent was far from having passes unnoticed is writing and preparing a film on la foi.”

Les conseil des dix – the counsel of ten

Jacques Demy twice was empaneled on Cahiers’ conseil des dix in May 1958 and June 1959.

May 1958 les conseil des dix
Demy served that month with, among others, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer and Charles Bitsch. How does Demy’s choices stack up against the other three “Turcs Jeunes”
All four gave 4 stars to The Seventh Seal
Rivette, Rohmer, and Bitsch each gave 3 stars to George Cukor’s “Les Girls”. Ironically, Demy who is best remembered for his musicals one of which “The Young Girls of Rochefort” would star “Les Girls” star Gene Kelly gave the film only 2 stars.
Demy along with Rivette and Bitsch gave “Montparnasse 19” 3 stars. Rohmer gave it only 1 star.
Demy gave “The Young Lions” 1 star. Rivette and Bitsch both bulleted the film while Rohmer abstained.
Demy along with Rivette and Bitsch gave “Les Bijoutiers de clair de lune” 1 star while Rohmer bulleted the film
Demy bulleted a film called “Les Désert de Pigalle” which Bitsch awarded 1 star. Rivette and Rohmer both abstained.

By the next time – June 1959 - Demy participated in the conseil, he had made a short appearance in “Les Quatre cents coups” sharing the screen with fellow panelist Charles Bitsch. This time there were five critics who could be referred to as “turcs jeunes” – Rivette, Rohmer, Godard, Bitsch and Luc Moullet. The summing up:

Demy as Rivette and Moullet gave “The Wild Strawberries” 3 stars. Godard, Rohmer and Bitsch gave the film 4 stars.
Jacques Baratier’s “Goha” was given 3 stars by Demy. Rivette and Godard also gave the film 3 stars. Rohmer and Bitsch gave the film 2 stars. Luc Moullet bulleted the film.
“Les Tripes au soleil” was given 2 stars by everyone except for Moullet who gave it only 1 star.
The panel also considered two films from Edouard Molinaro. “Un Temoin de la ville” was given 1 star by Demy and Rohmer. Godard, Rivette and Moullet bulleted the film while Bitsch abstained. “Des Femmes disparaissant” was bulleted by Demy and also Godard, Rivette and Moullet. Bitsch and Rohmer both abstained.

Jacques Demy -- Ten Best Films 1958-1963

Jacques Demy contributed ten best film lists to Cahiers between 1958 and 1963. He chose to laureate
Francois Truffaut (The 400 Blows, Shoot the Piano Player, Jules and Jim)
Jean-Luc Godard (Breathless, A Woman is a Woman, Contempt, Les Carbiniers, Vivre sa Vie)
Claude Chabrol (Les Bonnes Femmes)
Jacques Rivette (Paris Belongs to Us)
Eric Rohmer (Le Signe du Lion)
Claude de Givray (Une Grosse Tete)

Jean-luc Godard and Jacques Demy

When Jacques Demy’s short film Le Bel indifférent was booed at the Tours Short Film Festival in 1958, Jean-Luc Godard stepped up to defend that film. He published an article in Arts for 10 december 1958 and another in the January 1959 issue of Cahiers du Cinema.
from Godard on Godard: critical writings; edited by Jean Narboni; [edited and translated from the French by] Tom Milne; with an introduction by Richard Roud

Arts 10Dec1959 “Ignored by the jury”

“A setting of fantastic beauty, carpeted by the blood of a poet or tiled with the azure that enfevered Rimbaud. A setting created by Bernard Evein has enabled Demy to back three winners with absolute rigour, the beauty of inevitability, palpable tragedy. It is the most sensational treble in the whole history of French cinema. His Le Bel indifférent is Piero della Francesca plus Picasso (cf. Jeanne Allard‘s decoratively tortured face) plus Bérénice. What a collection! people will say. What a confection! say I. Jacques Demy really has entered cinema as Raymond Queneau’s Pierrot has entered literature. And talking about Jacquot my friend will now let me move on to Chant du Styrene.”

Cahiers du Cinema Feb59 Each One his Tours

“I only like films which resemble their creators. With Jacques Demy,
it takes half an hour to navigate the Place de L’Etiole in a car. So it takes half an hour to watch a cobbler make a shoe and half an hour to share a woman’s realization that her lover really is indifferent.”

Once Godard had made it with Breathless, He made it a project to leverage his success to obtain a cahnce at a first feature for Demy (and Agnes Varda and Jacques Rozier). Godard hounded Georges de Beauregard into producing Lola and he was instrumental in seeing that Raoul Coutard came on as director of photography.

Also Godard referenced Demy's first feature Lola in both A Woman is a Woman and A Married Woman.

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