Cahiers du Cinema, The 1950s

Cahiers du Cinema, The 1950s : Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave

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Cahiers du Cinema is the most prestigious and influential film journal ever published. An anthology devoted entirely to its writings, in English translation, is long overdue.

The selections in this volume are drawn from the colorful first decade of Cahiers, 1951-1959, when a group of young iconoclasts rocked the world of film criticism with their provocative views on international cinema--American, Italian, and French in particular. They challenged long-established Anglo-Saxon attitudes by championing American popular movies, addressing genres such as the Western and the thriller and the aesthetics of technological developments like CinemaScope, emphasizing mise en scene as much as thematic content, and assessing the work of individual filmmakers such as Hawks, Hitchcock, and Nicholas Ray in terms of a new theory of the director as author, auteur, a revolutionary concept at the time. Italian film, especially the work of Rossellini, prompted sharp debates about realism that helped shift the focus of critical discussion from content toward style. The critiques of French cinema have special interest because many of the journal's major contributors and theorists--Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, Rivette, Chabrol--were to become some of France's most important film directors and leaders of the New Wave.

Translated under the supervision of the British Film Institute, the selections have for the most part never appeared in English until now. Jim Hillier has organized them into topical groupings and has provided introductions to the parts as well as the whole. Together these essays, reviews, discussions, and polemics reveal the central ideas of the Cahiers of the 1950s not as fixed doctrines but as provocative, productive, often contradictory contributions to crucial debates that were to overturn critical thinking about film.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 328 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 453.59g
  • Cambridge, Mass, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0674090616
  • 9780674090613
  • 86,566

Review quote

A good case can be mode for the 1950s as the most stimulating decode in the annals of film criticism. Credit for this goes largely to the French journal Cahiers du Cinema, which nurtured and published a small band of iconoclasts who later moved into active filmmaking and became the core of the influential New Wave group. Jean-Luc Godard and the late Francois Truffaut were probably its most important members, with Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, and Claude Chobrol right at their heels...Jim Hillier's collection...concentrates on the 1950s, assessing the pre-New Wove cinema of France, as well as classical Hollywood film and Italy's neo-realist school. It also treats such technical issues as the essence of mise en scene and the advent of CinemaScope...This is a fascinating and provocative book that casts a keen light on the ideas (and by extension, the films) of such astonishing cineastes as Godard and Rivette, while also showing their affinities with the incisive thought of Andre Bazin, the group's mentor...This collection deserves a wide readership among casual and committed filmgoers alike. Christian Science Monitor This isn't simply an anthology of interesting film criticism; it's something much more rare and intriguing--the documentary history of an important intellectual shift...By treating movies as movies, not as poor relations to books or plays, the Cahiers critics helped introduce a new art form to the century that produced it. New York Times Book Review Wonderfully intellectual and anti-academic at the same time, the articles are, more than anything else, supremely personal...These are immensely serious people, self-consciously bent on nothing less than changing the history of cinema. In important ways they first taught us how to look at movies, especially our own. American Film
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Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgments Books Frequently Cited in Text Introduction PART 1: FRENCH CINEMA Introduction 1. Francois Truffaut: 'The Rogues are Weary' (review of Jacques Becker's Touchez pas au grisbi) (April 1954) 2. Andre Bazin, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Pierre Kast, Roger Leenhardt, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer: 'Six Characters in Search of auteurs: A Discussion about the French Cinema' (May 1957) 3. Jean-Luc Godard: 'Sufficient Evidence' (review of Roger Vadim's Sait-on jamais?) (July 1957) 4. Jean-Luc Godard: Les 400 Coups (February 1959) 5. Fereydoun Hoveyda: 'The First Person Plural' (article on Francois Truffaut's Les 400 Coups) (July 1959) 6. Jean Domarchi, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Jean-Luc Godard, Pierre Kast, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer: 'Hiroshima, notre amour' (discussion on Alain Resnais's Hiroshima mon amour) (July 1959) PART 2: AMERICAN CINEMA Introduction I. Perspectives 7. Eric Rohmer: 'Rediscovering America' (Christmas 1955) 8. Jacques Rivette: 'Notes on a Revolution' (Christmas 1955) 9. Andre Bazin: 'The Death of Humphrey Bogart' (February 1957) II. Dossier - Nicholas Ray 10. Jacques Rivette: 'On Imagination' (review of The Lusty Men)(October 1953) 11. Francois Truffaut: 'A Wonderful Certainty' (review of Johnny Guitar) (April 1955) 12. Eric Rohmer: 'Ajax or the Cid?' (review of Rebel Without a Cause) (May 1956) 13. Jean-Luc Godard: 'Nothing but Cinema' (review of Hot Blood) (February 1957) 14. Jean-Luc Godard: 'Beyond the Stars' (review of Bitter Victory) (January 1958) 15. Charles Bitsch: Interview with Nicholas Ray (November 1958) III. Auteurs 16. Jacques Rivette: 'The Genius of Howard Hawks' (May 1953) 17. Jacques Rivette: 'The Essential' (review of Otto Preminger's Angel Face) (February 1954) 18. Claude Chabrol: 'Serious Things' (review of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window) (April 1955) 19. Jacques Rivette: 'The Hand' (review of Fritz Lang's Beyond a Reasonable Doubt) (November 1957) 20. Luc Moullet: 'Sam Fuller: In Marlowe's Footsteps' (March 1959) IV. Genre 21. Claude Chabrol: 'Evolution of the Thriller' (Christmas 1955) 22. Andre Bazin: 'Beauty of a Western' (review of Anthony Mann's The Man from Laramie) (January 1956) 23. Andre Bazin: 'An Exemplary Western' (review of Budd Boetticher's Seven Men from Now) (August-September 1957) PART 3: ITALIAN CINEMA Introduction 24. Andre Bazin: Umberto D (June 1952) 25. Amedee Ayfre: 'Neo-Realism and Phenomenology' (November 1952) 26. Jacques Rivette: 'Letter on Rosseilini' (April 1955) 27. Eric Rohmer: 'The Land of Miracles' (review of Roberto Rossellini's Viaggio in Italia) (May 1955) 28. Eric Rohmer and Francois Truffaut, Fereydoun Hoveyda and Jacques Rivette: Interviews with Roberto Rossellini (July 1954 and April 1959) PART 4: POLEMICS I.Criticism Introduction 29. Pierre Kast: 'Flattering the Fuzz: Some Remarks on Dandyism and the Practice of Cinema' (May 1951) 30. Jean Domarchi: 'Knife in the Wound' (October 1956) 31. Andre Bazin: 'On the politique des auteurs' (April 1957) 32. Luc Moullet, Andre Bazin, Jacques Rivette: Exchanges about Kurosawa and Mizoguchi (February 1957, March 1957, March 1958) 33. Alexandre Astruc: 'What is mise en scene?' (October1959) II. Dossier - CinemaScope Introduction 34. Francois Truffaut: 'A Full View' (July 1953) 35. Jacques Rivette: 'The Age of metteurs en scene' (January 1954) 36. Eric Rohmer: 'The Cardinal Virtues of CinemaScope' (January 1954) Appendix: 1 Cahiers du Cinema Annual Best Films Listings 1955-9 Appendix: 2 Guide to Cahiers du Cinema Nos 1-102, April 1951 - December 1959, in English translation Appendix: 3 Cahiers du Cinema in the 1960s and 1970s Index of Names and Film Titles
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About Jim Hillier

Jim Hillier is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, Bulmershe College of Higher Education, Reading, England.
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