1966 Filmmakers rally in support of Henri Langlois
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The Cinematheque francaise celebrates the centenary of a co-founder, Henri Langlois 1914 ✠ 1977

Portrait d’Henri Langlois, DR © Collection La Cinémathèque française. Auteur inconnu

BY AUSTIN BURBRIDGE. LOS ANGELES (CINEMA MINIMA) — Throughout April 2014, the Cinémathèque française celebrates the centenary of its co-founder, Henri Langlois 1914 ✠ 1977, with several special programs. Langlois was a “larger than life” character. What he accomplished in France in fostering cinema culture — an insistence that the cinema is an art the equal of any other — changed moviegoing around the world, for the better, and for all time. A giant of the cinema, who never made a movie; one of its greatest champions. Read a nice article in “Les echos” by Marc-Antoine Hartemann:

  • Langlois bonus: For his centenary, a special program pays homage to Henri Langlois, the father of the Cinémathèque française — article translated into English by Google; or
  • Sus à Langlois : Pour son centenaire, une programmation spéciale rend hommage à Henri Langlois, figure tutélaire de la Cinémathèque Française — in the original French.
  • Henri Langlois Centenary at the Cinémathèque. In English — translated by Google
  • The Langlois Affair, by Louis Menand, published in the New Yorker, casts a spotlight on the man, and on the nature — and magnitude — of his accomplishment.

The Langlois Affair began on February 9, 1968 when Henri Langlois, the director of the Cinémathèque Française, which he had established, in the mid-thirties, with his friend Georges Franju, and dedicated to preserving and exhibiting movies from all periods and countries, was relieved of his position and replaced by a man named Pierre Barbin. Barbin was an obscure and relatively inexperienced film-festival organizer, and Langlois was a culture hero, a status recognized even by his adversaries. One of the men who engineered his dismissal, Pierre Moinot, called him “a ragpicker of genius.” Langlois was also, as it turned out, a fox, and his confrontation with French officialdom is one of the great stories of a year whose meaning, like the meaning of 1789 and the meaning of 1848 and, someday, probably, the meaning of 2001, is a forever deepening mystery, even for — especially for — the people who lived through it. READ MORE

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The film of tomorrow
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The film of tomorrow will be an act of love

The film of tomorrow appears to me then, to be more personal than a novel; it will be individual and autobiographical, like a confession, or an intimate diary. Young filmmakers will express themselves in the first person and tell us what’s happened to them — it could be the story of their first love, or their latest; their political awakening; a travelogue; an illness; their military service; their marriage; their last vacation — and it will almost always be enjoyable because it will be true, and new.

A film that costs three hundred million francs must appeal to all social strata in all countries in order to make back its investment. A film that costs sixty million francs can make its money back in France alone, or by reaching smaller audiences in many countries.

The film of tomorrow will not be directed by professionals, but by artists for whom shooting a film is a challenging — and thrilling — adventure. The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who shot it — and the number of spectators will be proportional to the number of friends the director has.

The film of tomorrow will be an act of love François Truffaut “You are all witnesses in this trial: French cinema bursting under bogus legends,” in Arts magazine, May 15, 1957

Reprinted in “Pleasing to the Eye,” Cahiers du Cinéma,1987, pp. 223-224.
[François Truffaut critique]

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Truffaut - le cinéma de demain
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Le film de demain sera un acte d’amour

Le film de demain m’apparaît donc plus personnel encore qu’un roman, individuel et autobiographique comme une confession ou comme un journal intime. Les jeunes cinéastes s’exprimeront à la première personne et nous raconteront ce qui leur est arrivé: cela pourra être l’histoire de leur premier amour ou du plus récent, leur prise de conscience devant la politique, un récit de voyage, une maladie, leur service militaire, leur mariage, leurs dernières vacances, et cela plaira presque forcément parce que ce sera vrai et neuf.

Un film de trois cent millions pour s’amortir doit plaire à toutes les couches sociales dans tous les pays. Un film de soixante millions peut s’amortir simplement sur la France ou en touchant de petits groupes dans beaucoup de pays.

Le film de demain ne sera pas réalisé par des fonctionnaires de la caméra, mais par des artistes pour qui le tournage d’un film constitue une aventure formidable et exaltante. Le film de demain ressemblera à celui qui l’a tourné et le nombre de spectateurs sera proportionnel au nombre d’amis que possède le cinéaste.

Le film de demain sera un acte d’amour

François Truffaut « Vous êtes tous témoins dans ce procès. Le cinéma français crève sous les fausses légendes », Arts, Paris, 15 mai 1957

Reproduit dans « Le plaisir des yeux », Paris, Cahiers du Cinéma,1987, pp. 223-224 [François Truffaut critique]

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Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimée in A MAN AND A WOMAN

A look back at UN HOMME ET UNE FEMME | A MAN AND A WOMAN by Claude Lelouch

BY AUSTIN BURBRIDGE. LOS ANGELES (CINEMA MINIMA) — Of course it’s pure pop — but done with deceptively simple, even casual technique, and the kind of light touch that comes from tremendous self-assurance. One is tempted to remark that its images seem to have been plucked from advertising, except that — such was the influence of the film — the advertising of the era may have been inspired by the film, rather than the other way around.

Making love, winning the audience

The real “killer” moment in this picture — which otherwise seems so insubstantial as to be hardly a movie at all, but a daydream of a movie — is the scene in which the man and the woman make love. At the time it was an extraordinary, even audacious moment in a movie. Here’s why.

In the midst of lovemaking, the man senses — from a nearly imperceptible change in the woman’s demeanor — that something is wrong. He stops: She is thinking of her late husband.

This was — and still is — one of the very few moments in cinema wherein a scene of lovemaking advances the story, rather than interrupting it. Most scenes of lovemaking are completely unnecessary, because the significance is merely the fact it occurs at all; not in the details of how it is accomplished.

Sex and the storyteller

It is not a solecism to show a sexual act in a movie, but it does present a serious, technical, narrative problem for movie makers: After a spectacle of sexual congress has completely distracted an audience, the story will have stopped dead in its tracks. How to get a movie started again, after that? That is a trick that requires finesse — and a storyteller’s cunning, of which writer-director Claude Lelouch and screenwriter Pierre Uytterhoeven have an abundance.

Detail and sensitivity

This part of the story shows a level of detail and sensitivity which rarely occurs in cinema inside or outside the bedroom.

Success and Influence

I don’t think American cinema was ever the same after this movie was shown. It was a hit in art-house theaters in the USA; it took two Academy Awards: Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Writing, Story, and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen; but what made it not only successful but vastly influential, was that the ABC Television network showed the movie in prime time, to an audience far larger than what it could have gained in theaters — embedding it — and its candid, casual use of intimacy — into popular taste.

And of course, there is that amazing, light, but elegant theme by composer Francis Lai! It makes American pop movie scores seem turgid and overbearing.

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Headshot of Martin Leduc

The TILT Festival's Online Video Mashup Contest

BY MARTIN LEDUC. TORONTO, CANADA (CINEMA MINIMA) — The TILT digital art festival in Perpigan France is teaming up with  the artists at Addictive TV and the curators from Cinefeel.org to launch an online video remix contest. The winner gets 1000 euros.

The submission deadline is March 10, 2009.  TILT organizers are encouraging the use of public domain video footage for your submissions.

More details available here:  http://www.tilt-festival.org/en/online.php

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AFM Diary: Success at American Film Market 2008

afm_diary1.pngBY AUSTIN BURBRIDGE. SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA (CINEMA MINIMA) — Despite a remarkably difficult moment for sales, independently-financed movies are finding distribution at the 2008 American Film Market. Devin Carter of Koan reports sales in several territories for its fantasy-adventure DRAGON HUNTER. On the strength of this good news, “We are already preparing a sequel,” Mr Carter remarked with a grin, adding that his firm would be putting its resources into satisfying demand for fantasy — family drama and comedy may get short shrift in the coming production cycle.

Ian Brady and Stephen Salter — principals of UK independent production and financing company Foundation Films — report that its finished film THE CREW by Adrian Vitoria will be distributed in the United Kingdom by Momentum Pictures; and that it has begun to close international deals; the first of which will be signed today 2008 November 9 Sunday, for Australia.

Daniel Lesœur reports intense interest in Eurociné‘s latest film — now in production — Jiří Barta‘s animated feature IN THE ATTIC. He also brings to the market Eurociné’s incredibly deep — and remarkably wide — catalogue of classics and cult films spanning action, horror, family, and erotic genres.

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