My Gleanings

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Marcel L'Herbier quote on De Sica and Jacques Tati

This is an interesting quote from an article published in the French daily Combat on 16 July 1949 by the avant-garde silent director Marcel L'Herbier and reprinted in La nouvelle vague et le cinéma d'auteur : socio-analyse d'une révolution artistique by Philippe Mary. [Paris] : Seuil, c2006. (page 61 my translation)

[De] Sica and Tati changed film because in their work nature is actor, object [is ] star, the studio is eliminated, time and space unite and multiply one by the other. The word is visage; and the visage, immensely deepened, is character, and the whole is written there only in the language of the screen.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nestor Almendros on collaborating with François Truffaut

Nelson Almendros who was François Truffaut's main cinematographer from the late 1960s to his last film wrote this about the experience of collaborating with Truffaut in his book A Man and A Camera.

I was surprised to find that Truffaut is one of those people with whom it is sheer pleasure to work. As Jean Renoir did, he creates an atmosphere around him, and this shows through in his films. Unlike with so many directors, there is no hysteria when Truffaut works, no fuss or bother; everyone in the crew behaves in a friendly way. The work moves along gently, at an excellent pace, but with no feeling of pressure. Truffaut's characteristic mode is cooperation. With all his great talent, he is a man who listens to the suggestions of the people working with him and considers any comment carefully. He may turn it down or accept it, but his attitude is not that of a genius who needs no help: he listens to the set designer, to the assistant, Suzanne Schiffman, to the actors, and even to the makeup people and the grips. This was particularly true in The Wild Child, since Truffaut was playing the leading role and needed perspective to judge his scenes, which, naturally, he couldn't see. But everything we around him brought to his film was filtered through the strength of his personality. The "Truffaut touch" is always unmistakable.

quoted from A man with a camera / Nestor Almendros ; translated from the Spanish by Rachel Phillips Belash. (page 81-83)

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

10 best film list from 1952


In its May 1952 issue, Cahiers du Cinema published an article which it titled in English. "The best films of our life" (page 45). Le Comité du Festival Mondial du film et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique asked 100 filmmakers worldwide to submit a list of the 10 best films. 55 of those filmmakers returned their ballots. The following is a list of all films which appeared on at least 5 ballots.

32 ---- Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein 1925)
25 ---- The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin 1925)
20 ---- Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica 1948)
15 ---- City Lights (Charles Chaplin 1931)
15 ---- The Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir 1937)
15 ---- Le Million (René Clair 1931)
11 ---- Greed (Eric von Stroheim 1924)
10 ---- Hallelujah (King Vidor 1929)
9 ---- Brief Encounter (David Lean 1945)
9 ---- The Threepenny Opera (G W Pabst 1931)
9 ---- Man of Aran (Robert Flaherty 1934)
8 ---- The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer 1928)
7 ---- Les Enfants du paradis (Marcel Carné 1945)
7 ---- Foolish Wives (Erich von Stroheim 1922)
6 ---- L'Age d'or (Luis Bunuel 1930)
6 ---- The Birth of a Nation (D W Griffith 1915)
6 ---- Broken Blossoms
(D W Griffith 1919)
6 ---- Le Diable au corps (Claude Autant-Lara 1947)
5 ---- Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch 1939)
5 ---- Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty 1922)
5 ---- Carnival in Flanders (Jacques Feyder 1935)
5 ---- Citizen Kane (Orson Welles 1941)
5 ---- The Best Years of Our Lives (Willilam Wyler 1946)

The magazine also published a limited number of individual lists:

Cecil B. De Mille
1.....Cabiria (Giovanni Pastrone 1914)
2.....The Birth of a Nation (D W Griffith 1915)
3.....Ben Hur (Fred Niblo 1925)
4.....The 10 Commandments (Cecil B. De Mille 1923)
5.....The King of Kings (Cecil B. De Mille 1927)
6.....The Big Parade (King Vidor 1925)
7.....The Sign of the Cross (Cecil B. De Mille 1932)
8.....Gone with the Wind (Victor Fleming 1939)
9.....Going My Way (Leo McCarey 1944)
10...Samson and Delilah (Cecil B. De Mille 1949)

Vittorio De Sica

1.....Man of Aran (Robert Flaherty 1934)
2.....The Kid (Charles Chaplin 1921)
3.....La Chienne (Jean Renoir 1931)
4.....Le Million (René Clair 1931)
5.....L'Atalante (Jean Vigo 1934)
6.....Kameradschaft (G W Pabst 1931)
7.....Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein 1925)
8.....Storm over Asia (Vsevolod Pudovkin 1928)
9.....Hallelujah (King Vidor 1929)
10...Carnival in Flanders (Jacques Feyder 1935)

René Clément
1.....Intolerance (D W Griffith 1916)
2.....Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein 1925)
3.....A Woman of Paris (Charles Chaplin 1923)
4.....Greed (Eric von Stroheim 1924)
5.....L'Age d'or (Luis Bunuel 1930)
6.....Vampyr (Carl Theodor Dreyer 1932)
7.....Man of Aran (Robert Flaherty 1934)
8.....Que Viva Mexico (Sergei Eisenstein 1932)
9.....Dead of Night (Aberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer 1945)
10...Kind Hearts and Coronets (Robert Hamer 1945)

Edward Dmytryk
1.....Sunrise (F W Murnau 1927)
2.....The Last Laugh (F W Murnau 1924)
3.....The Patriot (Ernst Lubitsch 1926)
4.....The Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir 1937)
5.....Give Us This Day or Christ In Concrete (Edward Dmytryk 1949)
6.....The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler 1946)
7.....The Kid (Charles Chaplin 1921)
8.....The Little Foxes (William Wyler 1941)
9.....All Quiet on the Western Front (Lewis Milestone 1930)
10...Regain (Marcel Pagnol 1937)

Orson Welles
1.....City Lights (Charles Chaplin 1931)
2.....Greed (Eric von Stroheim 1924)
3.....Intolerance (D W Griffith 1916)
4.....Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein 1925)
5.....Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty 1922)
6.....Shoeshine (Vittorio De Sica 1946)
7.....The Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir 1937)
8.....The Baker's Wife (Marcel Pagnol 1938)
9.....Stagecoach (John Ford 1939)
10...Our Daily Bread (King Vidor 1934)

Louis Daquin
1.....Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein 1925)
2.....Storm over Asia (Vsevolod Pudovkin 1928)
3.....City Lights (Charles Chaplin 1931)
4.....The Grapes of Wrath (John Ford 1940)
5.....Les Enfants du paradis (Marcel Carné 1945)
6.....La Bataille du rail (René Clément 1946)
7.....Talpalatnyi föld (Frigyes Bán 1948)
8.....Padeniye Berlina (Mikheil Chiaureli 1949)
9.....Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica 1948)
10...Ostatni etap (Wanda Jakubowska 1948)

Luis Bunuel
1.....Underworld (Josef von Sternberg 1927)
2.....The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin 1925)
3.....Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica 1948)
4.....Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein 1925)
5.....Portrait of Jennie (William Dieterle 1948)
6.....Cavalcade (Frank Lloyd 1933)
7.....White Shadows in the South Seas (Woody S Van Dyke/Robert Flaherty 1928)
8.....Dead of Night (Aberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer 1945)
9.....L'Age d'or (Luis Bunuel 1930)
10...I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (Mervyn LeRoy 1932)

Robert Bresson
1.....The Gold Rush (Charles Chaplin 1925)
2.....City Lights (Charles Chaplin 1931)
3.....Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein 1925)
4.....Brief Encounter (David Lean 1945)
5.....Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio De Sica 1948)
6.....Man of Aran (Robert Flaherty 1934)
7.....Louisiana Story (Robert Flaherty 1948)
Bresson wrote that he was "story to be unable to provide a more extensive list, but I only rarely go to the movies."

Pierre Laroche
1.....Der Müde Tod (Fritz Lang 1921)
2.....Nosferatu (F W Murnau 1922)
3.....Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein 1925)
4.....A Woman of Paris (Charles Chaplin 1923)
5.....Foolish Wives (Erich von Stroheim 1922)
6.....City Lights (Charles Chaplin 1931)
7.....Le Crime de Monsieur Lange (Jean Renoir 1936)
8.....Toni (Jean Renoir 1935)
9.....Le Million (René Clair 1931)
10...Kind Hearts and Coronets (Robert Hamer 1945)

Robert Hamer
1.....L'Age d'or (Luis Bunuel 1930)
2.....The Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir 1939)
3.....Duck Soup (Leo McCarey 1933)
4.....Crime Without Passion (Ben Hecht/Charles MacArthur 1934)
5.....The Little Foxes (William Wyler 1941)
6.....Niemandsland (Victor Trivas 1931)
7.....Kameradschaft (G W Pabst 1931)
8.....Rome Open City (Roberto Rossellini 1945)
9.....On The Town (Stanley Donen/Gene Kelly 1949)
No tenth pick

Cahiers pointed out that De Mille had listed four of his own films -- The 10 Commnandments, King of Kings, The Sign of the Cross, and Samson and Delilah -- and identified six others who had cited films of their own.

Claude Autant-Lara -- Le Diable au corps
Luis Bunuel -- L'Age d'or
Edward Dmytryk -- Gives Us This Day (Christ in Concrete)
William Dieterle -- The Life of Emile Zola
Marcel L'Herbier -- El Dorado
King Vidor -- The Big Parade
Henry Hathaway -- The Lives of Bengal Lancers


Melville does Molière?

I was interested to read this short note among other notes on the first page of the March 1953 issue of Cahiers du Cinema.

It is being said that Jean-Pierre Melville is contemplating the possibility of bringing Le Bourgeois gentilhomme to the screen with Marlene Dietrich, Vittorio De Sica and Maurice Chevalier. This combination, at least, has the virtue of originality.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Michel Ciment on old times

The September issue of Positif featured an interviews with both Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol. This paragraph is translated from Michel Ciment"s editorial on page 1.

It is Claude Chabrol and Eric Rohmer who must be laughing to themselves at the booming proposition of the ex-editor of Cahiers du Cinema. Here are two metteurs-en-scene who, for 50 years, with ups and downs for the first and mostly highs for the second have known how to steer away from the fashionable and pursue an esthetical research in which woman and love are among its most beautiful fruits. If we had supported in the early 1960s Rivette's Paris nous appartient, Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player, Astruc's La Proie pour l'ombre, and the work of Resnais, Varda, Franju, Marker, Demy, Malle, Deville and Cavalier, this magazine was not kindly towards Rohmer's Le Signe du lion or Chabrol's Beau Serge and Les Cousins. On re-evaluation, we won't blush over it. But, from Les Biches and La Collectioneuse (1967-1968), our columns have been openly favorable to a number of their films. In any case, they confirm the astonishing vitality of a generation of directors, who -- unique phenomenon in the world -- more than a half century after their debuts, continue to bear witness to an independence and a brash originality, from Resnais to Marker, from Varda to Cavalier, and from Rohmer to Rivette and Chabrol. False quarrel, thus, that of young and old, ancient and modern, critical fluctuations as academic as they are sterile.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Eric Rohmer on Jacques Demy 1958

In the 1950s, a monthly feature of Cahiers du Cinema was "le petit journal of cinema" a medley of short pieces on various aspects of film. The last item in that section would often appear be under the rubric "Photo of the Month". In the April 1958, this page featured a photo of Jacques Demy on the set of his short film Le Bel Indifference directing his star Jeanne Allard. Beneath that photo was this write-up by Eric Rohmer. (page 50 my translation).

This black-and-white photograph offers only the remote idea of a film whose color is, not the ornament, but the method of essential expression.
We know the synopsis of Jean Cocteau's sketch written for Edith Piaf: in a hotel room, a woman soliloquizes piling reason on reason, trying to convince him that she loves him, she loves him, that they love each other. The man is not listening.
In such an endeavour, the task of the metteur-en-scene is, above all, a matter of choice: Choice of decor, of color, of wardrobe, of tone, of predisposition of style. Jacques Demy whose second film this is, following the excellent documentary Le Sabotier du Val de Loire, shows himself as not just felicitous, the work is of such a precision that it is impossible to conceive of others.
The red of the wallpaper could not be a different red, nor could the blue of the tiles in the bathroom, deviate from the blue chosen here. The bed and the mirror-faced wardrobe take their assigned places to the precise millimeter and we can't imagine another bed or wardrobe, nor any other bedspread or window curtains or door bolt.Highlighted by an admirable photography in tint plate. (accomplishing the feat of conciliating maybe, and without contest, for the first time, the point of view of the painter and the filmmaker). A electric wall-socket, a light-switch, a hat-rack and a coat hanger, are the impassable and cocteauesque Furies of this drama which its author might have filmed differently, but surely not more faithfully to his own mythology. The male interpreter himself, an unknown scooped up off the street, seems to emerge directly from a drawing of Opium.
This respect, not only praiseworthy, but necessary in the occurrence, can not be attributed to the least timidity. That the general allure of the direction rather leans towards the side Visconti, parallel to that of Rossellini 's The Human Voice, quite naturally invites us. Or more exactly, -- for, from the first seconds, we perceive the feeling of a personality already fully assured -- let's conjecture, without too much risk, that on this same fixed theme, Visconti would not have done better. That speaks pretty much of the esteem in which we hold Le Bel Indifference and its director, upon whom, among the cohort of young filmmakers, Cahiers determines to bank on with no delay and with more speed than it has done for anyone.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

François Truffaut on the "New Wave" -- 1960

This is excerpted from the article The Director the One who hasn't the right to complain which François Truffaut contributed to Cinema, univers de l'absence? collectif 1960. That article was reprinted in Le Plaisir des yeux, a collection of previously published reviews, essays, etc. written by François Truffaut, compiled by Jean Narboni and Serge Toubiana, and published in 1987 (page 15 my translation)

In 1960, there will be a new generation of French directors, among whom the majority are less than 30 years old. It will transpire that to the names Louis Malle, Claude Chabrol, Claude Bernard-Aubert, Alain Resnais, Agnès Varda, Georges Franju, Jean Rouch, Jean Valère, there will be added Jacques Rivette, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Philippe de Broca, Eric Rohmer, Paul Paviot, Marcel Hanoun, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Daniel Pollet, and Michel Drach, all of whom are presently making films. The subsequent "wave" will be comprised of Ado Kyrou, Jacques Rozier, Jacques Demy, Claude de Givray, François Reichenbach, Jean-François Hauduroy, Jacques Villa, Claude Sautet, Alain Jessua and others whose names I do not not yet know. In short, it is most evident that the scope of this movement, its diversity, surpass any promotional hype to genuinely effect a systematic overthrow of French production, a collapse in which all members at the foundation of the profession - financiers, producers, screenwriters - participate.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Rosselini chides Godard regarding Antonioni

This is quoted directly from The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini by Tag Gallagher (page 553).

Note: Jean Grualt is a screenwriter who collaborated with Rossellini (Vanina Vanini, La Prise du puovoir par Louis XIV), Jean-Luc Godard (Les Carabiniers), Rivette (Paris Belongs to Us) and most notably François Truffaut (Jules and Jim, The Wild Child, Two English Women, The Story of Adele H)

Roberto, however, never saw Les Carabiniers, nor any other Godard film, with the exception of Vivre sa vie and then onlyl at [Jean] Grualt's insistence. By 1960, watching films bored him, with rare exceptions such as 400 Blows, Jules and Jim, Fahrenheit 451 and anything by Renoir. "He came out furious [from Vivre sa vie] and dragged me aside to ball me out for having made him waste his time.," recounts Grualt. Next day, we saw each other again, Jean-Luc and I, at The Raphael. Jean-Luc was to drive Roberto to Orly and I was to pay his hotel bill which was quite exorbitant (in the months ahead it took me all the pain in the world to get reimbursed). On the way to the airport, he maintained a silence heavy with menace. Suddenly, he barked, in a voice prophetically low-pitched, like Cassandra announcing the fall of Troy or Isaiah threatening an impious people with the greatest of evils: "Jean-Luc, tu es au bord de l'antonionisme!" [Jean-Luc, you're bordering on Antonionism!"] The result was such that poor Godard lost control of the car for a second and nearly made us join the scenery."

(Godard remained curiously quiet on the subject of Antonioni until 1964 when he put Red Desert on his ten-best list. Truffaut, always loyal to Roberto, was still damning Antonioni in the 1970s, and in specifically Rossellian terms....)

page 553

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pierre Kast 10 Best Films Cahiers du Cinema 1954-1968

Pierre Kast was a regular contributor to Cahiers du Cinema from its beginnings in 1951. In the late 50s, he also made the transition to directing. On October 20, 1984, he "died with his boots on" while directing L'Herbe rouge. (François Truffaut died the next day.) He contributed 10 best lists every year in the first cycle (1954-1968) of such lists at Cahiers except for 1968 the last year.

1.....The Wild One (Laszlo Benedek)
2.....Robinson Crusoe (Luis Bunuel)
3.....The Overcoat (Alberto Lattuada)
4.....Monsieur Ripois (René Clément)
5.....Romeo and Juliet (Renato Castellani)
6.....Okaasan (Mikio Naruse)
7.....The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T. (Roy Rowland)
8.....El (Luis Bunuel)
9.....Touchez pas au grisbi (Jacques Becker)
10...I Vitelloni (Federico Fellini)

1.....Death of a Cyclist (Juan Antonio Bardem)
2.....Raices (Benito Alazraki)
3.....The Big Knife (Robert Aldrich)
4.....Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich)
5.....Lola Montès (Max Ophuls)
6.....Rififi (Jules Dassin)
7.....The White Shiek (Federico Fellini)
8.....La Strada (Federico Fellini)
9.....The Gold of Naples (Vittorio De Sica)
10...Les Mauvaises Rencontres (Alexander Astruc)

1.....Senso (Luchino Visconti)
.......Smiles of a Summer Night (Ingmar Bergman)
.......It's Always Fair Weather (Stanley Donen/Gene Kelly)
4.....A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson)
5.....Il Bidone (Federico Bidone)
6.....Night and Fog (Alain Resnais)
7.....Calle Mayor (Juan Antonio Bardem)
8.....This Island Earth (Joseph M Newman)
9.....Rebel without a Cause (Nicholas Ray)
10...La Traversée de Paris (Claude Autant-Lara)

1.....The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (Luis Bunuel)
2.....Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (Frank Tashlin)
3.....Sawdust and Tinsel (Ingmar Bergman)
4.....Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk)
5.....12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet)
6.....The Bridge on the River Kwai (David Lean)
7.....The Girl Can't Help It (Frank Tashlin)
8.....The House of the Angel (Leopold Torre Nillson)
9.....Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini)
10...Sait-on jamais... (Roger Vadim)

1.....Kiss Them for Me (Stanley Donen)
2......Il Grido (Michelangelo Antonioni)
3......Summer Interlude (Ingmar Bergman)
4......The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman)
5......Secrets of Women (Ingmar Bergman)
6......Lettre de Sibérie (Chris Marker)
7......Touch of Evil (Orson Welles)
8......The Tarnished Angels (Douglas Sirk)
9......Les Fils de l'eau (Jean Rouch)
10....Les Amants (Louis Malle)

1.....Ivan the Terrible (Sergei Eisenstein)
2.....Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais)
3.....The 400 Blows (François Truffaut)
4.....Moi un noir (Jean Rouch)
5.....The Fabulous World of Jules Verne (Karel Zeman)
6.....Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman)
7.....Tales of Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi)
8.....Head against the Wall (George Franju)
9.....Goha (Jacques Baratier)

1.....L'Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni)
.......Shoot the Piano Player (François Truffaut
.......Zazie on the Metro (Louis Malle)
4......Le Trou (Jacques Becker)
5......Party Girl (Nicholas Ray)
6......Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard)
7......Les Bonnes femmes (Claude Chabrol)
8......La Dolce Vita (Federico Fellini)
9......Poem of the Sea (Alexander Dovchenko/Julia Solntseva)
10....Moonfleet (Fritz Lang)

1.....Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais)
2.....A Woman is a Woman (Jean-Luc Godard))
3.....Lola (Jacques Demy)
4.....La Notte (Michelangelo Antonioni)
5.....The Concrete Jungle (Joseph Losey)
6.....Lady with the Dog (Iosif Khefits)
7.....Paris nous appartient (Jacques Rivette)
8.....Mother Joan of the Angels (Jerzy Kawalerowicz)
9.....The Human Pyramid (Jean Rouch)
10...Description d'un combat (Chris Marker)

1.....Jules and Jim (François Truffaut)
.......Through a Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman)
.......Viridiana (Luis Bunuel)
4.....Vivre sa vie (Jean-Luc Godard)
.......The Wild River (Elia Kazan)
6......L'Eclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni)
.......Boccaccio '70 (Luchino Visconti sketch)
.......Love at 20 (François Truffaut sketch)
9.....The Hand in the Trap (Leopoldo Torre Nilsson)
10....Le Rendez-vous de minuit (Roger Leenhardt)

1.....The Exterminating Angel (Luis Bunuel)
.......8 1/2 (Federico Fellini)
.......Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard)
4.....The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock)
5.....The Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis)
6.....Les Carabiniers (Jean-Luc Godard)
7.....Hands over the City (Francesco Rosi)
8.....Muriel (Alain Resnais)
9.....Adieu Philippine(Jacques Rozier)
10...Les Abysses (Nicos Papatakis)

1.....Band of Outsiders (Jean-Luc Godard)
2.....The Soft Skin (François Truffaut)
3.....A Married Woman (Jean-Luc Godard)
4.....Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock)
5.....La Jetée (Chris Marker)
6.....The Silence (Ingmar Bergman)
7.....The Servant (Joseph Losey)
6.....Gertrud (Carl Theodore Dreyer)
9.....Man's Favorite Sport? (Howard Hawks)
10...The Damned (Joseph Losey)

1.....Pierrot le fou (Jean-Luc Godard)
2.....Juliet of the Spirits (Federico Fellini)
3.....A High Wind in Jamaica (Alexander Mackendrick)
4.....Lord of the Flies (Peter Brook)
5.....Vaghe stelle dell'Orsa (Luchino Visconti)
6.....La Vieille dame idigne (René Allio)
7.....The Disorderly Orderly (Frank Tashlin)
8.....Winter Light (Ingmar Bergman)
9.....Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard)
10....Kiss Me Stupid (Billy Wilder)

1.....La Prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV (Roberto Rossellini)
2.....Non Reconciled (Jean-Marie Straub)
3.....Red Line 7000 (Howard Hawks)
4.....Au Hasard Balthasar (Robert Bresson)
......Brigette and Brigette (Luc Moullet)
......Fahrenheit 451 (François Truffaut)
......La Guerre est finie (Alain Resnais)
......Masculin Feminin (Jean-Luc Godard)
......Noite Vazia (Hugo Walter Khouri)

1.....Week End (Jean-Luc Godard)
2.....Méditeraneée (Jean-Daniel Pollet/Volker Schlondörff)
3.....Persona (Ingmar Bergman)
4.....La Religeuse (Jacques Rivette)
5.....Mord und Totschlag (Volker Schlondörff)
6.....La Chasse au lion a l’arc (Jean Rouch)
7.....Daisies (Vera Chytilova)
8.....L'une et l'autre (René Allio)
9.....La Collectioneuse (Eric Rohmer)

Best American Films of the Talking Era (Dec63/Jan64 issue)
(alphabetical by director)

Monsieur Verdoux (Charles Chaplin)
Monkey Business (Howard Hawks)
The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock)
Beat the Devil (John Huston)
Wild River(Elia Kazan)
It's Always Fair Weather (Stanley Donen/Gene Kelly)
The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T. (Roy Rowland)
The Great McGinty (Preston Sturges)
Ruby Gentry (King Vidor)
Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)

Best French Films since the Liberation (Jan65 issue)
(alphabetical by director)

Les Dames du Bois de Bologne (Robert Bresson)
Le Journal d'une femme de chambre (Luis Bunuel)
Orphée (Jean Cocteau)
Bande à part (Jean-Luc Godard)
Pattes Blanche (Jean Grémillon)
La Jetée (Chris Marker)
Voyage surprise (Pierre Prévert)
L'Année dernière à Marienbad (Alain Resnais)
Paris nous appartient (Jacques Rivette)
Jules et Jim (François Truffaut)

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Monday, October 01, 2007

François Truffaut -- last words on Sacha Guitry

The final photograph in the sheaf of photographs bound into the posthumously published collection of articles by François Truffaut Le plaisir des yeux
is a photo of a older and bearded Sacha Guitry seated on the edge of a bed in front of a Movieola placed on a table covered with reels of film. This wan Guitry who appears more like a college professor than a boulavardier looks up towards the camera. Beneath that photograph there is printed this legend which is signed "François Truffaut". (my translation)

No, the New Wave was not "a pack of vultures, busy back-stabbing their elders in order to supplant them". It was quite the contrary. The young staffers at Cahiers restored to favor Abel Gance, Jean Cocteau, Jean Renoir, Robert Bresson, Max Ophuls, all disparaged by the critics of "la grandepresse". The greatest difficulty was in getting Marcel Pagnol and Sacha Guitry to be recognized as complete metteurs-en-scene.
Sacha Guitry! Every time that I feel jaded, ready to yield to discouragement, ready to hand myself over to melancholy, rancor or bitterness, when the disagreeable shadow of surrender comes to darken the work that is in progress, then, it is enough for me to scan Willy Rizzo's photograph of Sacha Guitry and to regain my wings, find again good spirit, tenacity and all the courage in the world.

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