Cahiers du Cinema: The 1950s. Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New by Jim Hillier

By Jim Hillier

The Cahiers du Cin?ma has performed a tremendous position in setting up movie idea and feedback as an important a part of the past due 20th century tradition. this can be the one resource the place Cahiers is sytematically represented in English.

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Hoveyda's choice of language, conscious or not, leaves no doubt about the resemblance: Truffaut has 'systematically drained the story of any too heavy emphases', so that his 'hero acquires an ambiguity that endows him with truth'; 'the tragedy of everyday life'; 'hostile world'; 'phenomenological description'; 'illusion of the "direct" and "untampered with" '; 'a passion for everything that at first seems trivial'; and so on. It is the triumph, in French cinema and in Truffaut (appropriately enough, given the personally close relationship between Bazin and Truffaut), of the realist aesthetic which Bazin elaborated on the basis of Italian neo-realism.

I can see a continuity in it. Of course it's not the continuity of what one might call Clement's Weltanschauung, but it's there in a particular style and tone evident in all his work, and in my opinion it makes him our greatest living director (leaving Bresson out of it for the time being). However (and I'm sorry to have to insist on this point), I'd like us first to clear up the problems of the conditions of production. It's undeniable that if you look at how films are made in France you can see that it's relatively easy (assuming that you already have a subject and the desire to film it) to find a producer and a star who'll do the film.

The influence of the scriptwriters, what is recognizable in French cinema since the Liberation is the emergence of a number of directors who are more or less auteurs and who could have been the cinema's equivalent of the Paris School in painting. In 1946 or 1947 one might optimistically have thought that Messieurs Bresson, Becker, Clouzot and Clement were going to create, in terms of style, a new school of French cinema. That didn't happen, I think, because there was no agreement on its substance and no shared inspiration.

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