In the turbulent sixties, the provocative French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma was at its most influential and controversial. The first successes of the New Wave by major Cahiers contributors such as Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, and Claude Chabrol focused international attention on the revitalization of French cinema and its relation to film criticism; and in the early 1960s the journal’s laudatory critiques of popular American movies were attaining the greatest notoriety.
As the lively articles, interviews, and polemical discussions in this volume reveal, the 1960s saw the beginnings of significant new directions in filmmaking and film criticism changes in which the New Wave itself was a major factor. The auteur theory that the journal had championed in the 1950s began to be rethought and revalued. At the same time, along with a reassessment of American film, Cahiers began to embrace new, often oppositional forms of cinema and criticism, culminating in the political and aesthetic radicalism of the ensuing decade.
The selections, translated under the supervision of the British Film Institute, are annotated by Jim Hillier, and context is provided in his general introduction and part introductions. For an understanding of the important changes that took place in cinema and film criticism in the 1960s and beyond, this book is essential reading.
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… The principles discovered by the Cahiers writers and developed by themselves and others irreversibly altered the way movies were seen… 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.
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.
- 384 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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