Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cahiers du Cinéma: Comedy and Kechiche

"Why a praise of comedy today? In our «dix tares du cinéma d’auteur» published in our last December issue (which continues to serve us as a compass) there was prominently featured the fault of "papal seriousness" of all these auteur films that by force of being so serious become unwatchable or succumb to be involuntarily comic. The cinema that we defend reserve instead a distance, an irony, an elegance, whether it is David Cronenberg, Wes Anderson, Hong Sang- soo, Leos Carax, Harmony Korine or JJ Abrams. This is the mark of great filmmakers to mix genres with ease and to create ruptures of tone. The two surprise successes of this summer surprises, L’Inconnu du lac by Alain Guiraudie and Frances Ha by Noah Baumbach, are shining examples. Regarding the renewing of French cinema in these last few months, the films rely much of their approach on comedy (La Bataille de Solférino by Justine Triet, La Fille du 14 Juillet by Antonin Peretjatko). After our praise of eroticism last year, and our praise of lyricism there were a few months ago, this issue participates in this same tradition and reaffirms our focus on a cinema of strong emotions, against that of being mild or shy or well-behaved, which has been developing just about everywhere. To praise comedy presupposes some kind of idea about comedy. A conception that is not at all weak. [ ...] This is the adjective of the wildest comedies: Magnificent because it is poetic. It has to do with temporal shortcuts, differences between one’s age and body, falls that are fast and slow, the invention of gestures that are unforgettable, and becoming a child or animal again and to make others laugh and marvel. Magnificent because it is passionate. These films shine by their candor and their praise of friendship or l’amour fou between characters that "are pure in their heart and feeble doing everything else," like they say in the latest Farrelly brothers film." - Stéphane Delorme (Editorial Comédie, N.692)

"The logic of this issue follows a montage between two French filmmakers, an assembly that concentrated all our forces: Abdellatif Kechiche, crowned with the Palme d'Or for La Vie d’Adèle, and John Grémillon, the eternal maudit of French cinema. We won’t hide the fact that Kechiche’s film divided us, perhaps primarily because the film itself is divided. The two chapters are more like two episodes then like two moments of a demonstration, similar to the films of Stanley Kubrick, a master of films broken into two (and which Adèle cites in the film as her favorite filmmaker). [ ... ] There is no specific actuality about Grémillon going on right now, but there has been a slow accumulation of events in the last three years that has him returning always more deeper into our spirits. There was the publishing of his remarkable writing about the cinema, and the release of his films from Gaumont of Daïnah la métisse, Pattes blanches et L’Amour d’une femme, and coming out in November there will be Lumière d’été. If we don’t do a Grémillon event now, if we don’t press this as a major and urgent actuality, he will again not find his place in Cahiers and a new generation might overlook him. We remember the last failure, it was ten years ago, when the rooms of his retrospective at the Cinémathèque remained half empty. Systematically missing Grémillon is to refuse to enter into what the French cinema can truly offer which is the most beautiful, intense and tender: the best." - Stéphane Delorme (Editorial Kechiche/Grémillon, N.693)

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