Tuesday, February 11, 2014

But what about Positif?! (Michel Ciment’s Top Twelve Lists)

“Even if one justifiably laments, in French criticism on paper, the depletion of energy and innovation in Cahiers du Cinéma,” writes Jonathan Rosenbaum in an interview with James Naremore in his upcoming book An Invention Without a Future.
Though there are social, cultural and historical factors that need to be taken into account to understand the differences in the critical reception of films in both North America and in France (cf. de Beacque's La Cinéphilie) the above mentioned knee-jerk dismissal is not a constructive way to go about it.
And what about Positif?! Which goes unmentioned…
It might just be one of the best active film magazines along with Cahiers du Cinéma and Cinema Scope.
Positif since its beginnings in 1952 has always offered a counter-position to some of Cahiers’s eccentricities. As Gérard Gozlan makes clear in his L’anti-Bazin: it’s the difference between a Christian mythical speculation against that of a Marxist historical materialism. And both of them together offer a general aesthetic position on the reception of films in France.
But how come people don’t discuss it more?
Another example: There is an impressive website that is organized by a Caltech alumni that gathered all of Cahiers’ Top Ten lists overs the years along with some other impressive lists by authoritative English critics like Andrew Sarris, Dave Kehr, Jim Hoberman and Roger Ebert.
Again… What about Positif?! Why isn’t it included in these overviews?
A general survey of their covers would be an equivalent (cf. Edouard Sivière’s writing on the subject) which includes eleven films that they would have deemed the most important ones for those months. As well, Michel Ciment, who is the director of the magazine, around the February/March issue regularly publishes his Top Twelve films of the year list in his Bloc-Notes contribution.
            Anyways, in my project here at Toronto Film Review to communicate the realities of French film criticism, in both content and style, here are Ciment’s Top Films lists since his first Autour du Cinéma contribution in 1982. – D.D.

***
1981 (Positif - March 1982, N.252)
Excalibur (John Boorman)
La femme de l’aviateur (Éric Rohmer)
Francisca (Manoel de Oliveira)
Garde à vue (Claude Miller)
Honeysuckle Rose (Jerry Schatzberg)
Popeye (Robert Altman)
Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese)
Stalker (Andrei Tarkovsky)
La Tragédie d’un homme ridicule (Bernardo Bertolucci)
Trois frères (Francesco Rosi)
***
1982 : N/A
***
1983 (Positif  - February 1984, N.276)
À nos amours (Maurice Pialat)
L’Argent (Robert Bresson)
Fanny and Alexander (Ingmar Bergman)
The Story of Piera (Marco Ferreri)
Mortelle Randonnée (Claude Miller)
Pauline à la plage (Éric Rohmer)
Sans Soleil (Chris Marker)
Smorgasbord (Jerry Lewis)
Moonlighting (Jerzy Skolimowski)
Three Crowns of the Sailor (Raúl Ruiz)
Miss Oyu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1951)
***
1984 (Positif - March 1985, N.289)
Amadeus (Miloš Forman)
L'amour à mort (Alain Resnais)
Broadway Danny Rose (Woody Allen)
Carmen (Francesco Rosi)
The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman)
Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone)
The Draughtsman's Contract (Peter Greenaway)
And the Ship Sails On (Federico Fellini)
Les nuits de la pleine lune (Eric Rohmer)
Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders)
Rumble Fish (Francis Ford Coppola)
Un dimanche à la champagne (Bertrand Tavernier)
***
1985 (Positif – February 1986, N.300)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen)
Après la repetition (Ingmar Bergman)
Brazil (Terry Gilliam)
The Emerald Forest (John Boorman)
Kaos (Paolo and Vittorio Taviani)
Ran (Akira Kurosawa)
Nostalghia (Andrei Tarkovsky)
Les favoris de la lune (Otar Iosseliani)
Détective (Jean-Luc Godard)
Police (Maurice Pialat)
Love Streams (John Cassavetes)
Voyage à Cythère (Theo Angelopoulos)
***
1986: N/A
***
1987 (Positif - March 1988, N.325)
Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders)
L’Apiculteur (Theo Angelopoulos)
Chronique d'une mort annoncée (Francesco Rosi)
Le Déclin de l’empire américain (Denys Arcand)
Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick)
Hope and Glory (John Boorman)
Intervista (Federico Fellini)
La Photo (Nikos Papatakis)
Street Smart (Jerry Schatzberg)
That’s Life! (Blake Edwards)
Le Thème (Gleb Panfilov)
The Belly of an Architect (Peter Greenaway)
***
1988 (Positif – March 1989, N.337)
Bird (Clint Eastwood)
De bruit et de fureur (Jean-Claude Brisseau)
The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese)
Drowning by Numbers (Peter Greenaway)
Frantic (Roman Polanski)
The Dead (John Huston)
Hôtel Terminus (Marcel Ophüls)
Paysage dans le brouillard (Theo Angelopoulos)
La Petite Voleuse (Claude Miller)
Quelques Jours avec moi (Claude Sautet)
Le Sud (Fernando E. Solanas)
Tu ne tueras point (Krzysztof Kieslowski)
***
1989 (Positif - March 1990, N.349)
L'Ami retrouvé (Jerry Schatzberg)
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Terry Gilliam)
Brève histoire d'amour (Krzystof Kieslowski)
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee)
Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg)
High Hopes (Mike Leigh)
Dangerous Liaisons (Stephen Frears)
Nocturne Indien (Alain Corneau)
Palombella rossa (Nanni Moretti)
Sex, Lies, and Videotapes (Steven Soderbergh)
Time of the Gypsies (Emir Kusturica)
Another Woman (Woody Allen)
La vie et rien d’autre (Bertrand Tavernier)
***
1990: N/A
***
1991 (Positif - February 1992, N.372)
An Angel at My Table (Jane Campion)
Barton Fink (Joel and Ethan Coen)
Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami)
Dances with Wolves (Kevin Costner)
Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton)
Until the End of the World (Wim Wenders)
Miller’s Crossing (Joel and Ethan Coen)
Le Pas suspendu de la cigogne (Theo Angelopoulos)
Dust in the Wind (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme)
Souvenirs de la maison jaune (João César Monteiro)
Van Gogh (Maurice Pialat)
***
1992 (Positif – March 1993, N.385)
A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang)
Batman Returns (Tim Burton)
La chasse aux papillons (Otar Iosseliani)
The Oak (Lucian Pintilie)
Life, and Nothing More… (Abbas Kiarostami)
Les équilibristes (Nico Papatakis)
Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood)
Kafka (Steven Soderbergh)
The Story of Qiu Ju (Zhang Yimou)
Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)
Un Coeur en Hiver (Claude Sautet)
Life on a String (Chen Kaige)
***
1993 (Positif – February 1994, N.396)
Farewell My Concubine (Chen Kaige)
L'Arbre, le maire et la médiathèque (Éric Rohmer)
Arizona Dream (Emir Kusturica)
The Piano (Jane Campion)
Lorenzo's Oil (George Miller)
The Puppetmaster (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
Manhattan Murder Mystery (Woody Allen)
Naked (Mike Leigh)
Smoking/No Smoking (Alain Resnais)
Le Songe de la lumière (Victor Erice)
A Perfect World (Clint Eastwood)
Abraham’s Valley (Manoel de Oliveira)
***
1994 (Positif – March 1995, N.409)
In the Name of the Father (Jim Sheridan)
The Baby of Mâcon (Peter Greenaway)
Carlito’s Way (Brian de Palma)
Exotica (Atom Egoyan)
Journal intime (Nanni Moretti)
Death of a Neapolitan Mathematician (Mario Martone)
Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino)
Regarde les hommes tomber (Jacques Audiard)
Short Cuts (Robert Altman)
Le Sourire (Claude Miller)
Three Colors: Red (Krzysztof Kieslowski)
 Veillées d'armes (Marcel Ophüls)
**
1995 (Positif – February 1996, N.420)
L'Appât (Bertrand Tavernier)
Through the Olive Trees (Abbas Kiarostami)
Bad Boy Bubby (Rolf de Heer)
La Chanteuse de pansori (Im Kwon-taek)
Ed Wood (Tim Burton)
Madadayo (Akira Kurosawa)
Nelly et Monsieur Arnaud (Claude Sautet)
Principio y fin (Arturo Ripstein)
Ulysses' Gaze (Theo Angelopoulos)
The Bridges of Madison County (Clint Eastwood)
Underground (Emir Kusturica)
Vive L’Amour (Tsai Ming-liang)
***
1996 (Positif – March 1997, N.433)
Drifting Clouds (Aki Kaurismäki)
Breaking the Waves (Lars von Trier)
Butterfly Kiss (Michael Winterbottom)
Capitaine Conan (Bertrand Tavernier)
Casino (Martin Scorsese)
La Comédie de Dieu (João César Monteiro)
Conte d'été (Éric Rohmer)
Fargo (Joel and Ethan Coen)
Good Men, Good Women (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
The Portrait of a Lady (Jane Campion)
Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh)
Three Lives and Only One Death (Raúl Ruiz)
***
1997 (Positif – February 1998, N.444)
Carmin profound (Arturo Ripstein)
The Sweet Hereafter (Atom Egoyan)
Généalogies d'un crime (Raoul Ruiz)
Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami)
Hana-Bi (Takeshi Kitano)
Happy Together (Wong Kar-Wai)
Lost Highway (David Lynch)
Mars Attacks! (Tim Burton)
On connaît la chanson (Alain Resnais)
The Pillow Book (Peter Greenaway)
The River (Tsai Ming-liang)
Everyone Says I Love You (Woody Allen)
***
1998 (Positif – February 1999, N.456)
Black Cat, White Cat (Emir Kusturica)
Conte d’automne (Éric Rohmer)
L'Éternité et un jour (Theo Angelopoulos)
Festen (Thomas Vinterberg)
Flowers of Shanghai (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
The General (John Boorman)
Deconstructing Harry (Woody Allen)
Anxiety (Manoel de Oliveira)
Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino)
Dr. Akagi (Shohei Imamura)
Kundun (Martin Scorsese)
U Turn (Oliver Stone)
***
1999 (Positif – March 2000, N.469)
Adieu, plancher des vaches! (Otar Iosseliani)
Babe: Pig in the City (George Miller)
Cookie’s Fortune (Robert Altman)
Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick)
Holy Smoke (Jane Campion)
Humanité (Bruno Dumont)
The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick)
La maladie de Sachs (Michel Deville)
Le Temps retrouvé (Raoul Ruiz)
The Straight Story (David Lynch)
The Wind Will Carry Us (Abbas Kiarostami)
Voyages (Emmanuel Finkiel)
***
2000 (Positif – February 2001, N.480)
Amores perros (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Bringing Out the Dead (Martin Scorsese)
Songs from the Second Floor (Roy Andersson)
Chunhyang (Im Kwon-taek)
Esther Kahn (Arnaud Desplechin)
In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai)
Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Man on the Moon (Miloš Forman)
Merci pour le chocolat (Claude Chabrol)
Ratcacher (Lynne Ramsay)
The Yards (James Gray)
Yi Yi (Edward Yang)
***
2001 (Positif – March 2002, N.493)
The Others (Alejandro Amenábar)
The Man Who Wasn't There (Joel and Ethan Coen)
Betty Fisher et autres histoires (Claude Miller)
The House of Mirth (Terence Davies)
Warm Water Under a Red Bridge (Shohei Imamura)
Devils on the Doorstep (Jiang Wen)
Intimacy (Patrice Chéreau)
Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch)
Clouds of May (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Platform (Jia Zhangke)
Roberto Succo (Cédric Kahn)
The Tailor of Panama (John Boorman)
***
2002 (Positif – February 2003, N.504)
All or Nothing (Mike Leigh)
Dog Days (Ulrich Seidl)
Gosford Park (Robert Altman)
L'Homme sans passé (Aki Kaurismäki)
Ivre de femmes et de peinture (Im Kwon-taek)
Laissez-passer (Bertrand Tavernier)
Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar)
The Pianist (Roman Polanski)
Le Sourire de ma mère (Marco Bellocchio)
Spider (David Cronenberg)
Ten (Abbas Kiarostami)
Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki)
***
2003 (Positif – February 2004, N.516)
Bon Voyage (Jean-Paul Rappeneau)
Le Domaine (Lester James Peries)
In the Cut (Jane Campion)
Les invasions barbares (Denys Arcand)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (Quentin Tarantino)
Master and Commander (Peter Weir)
Niki et Flo (Lucian Pintilie)
Oasis (Lee Chang-dong)
Pas sur la bouche (Alain Resnais)
Un Oso Rojo (Adrián Caetano)
Les Sentiments (Noémie Lvovsky)
***
2004 (Positif – March 2005, N.529)
Saraband (Ingmar Bergman)
Big Fish (Tim Burton)
Good Morning, Night (Marco Bellocchio)
2046 (Wong Kar-Wai)
Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (Theo Angelopoulos)
L’esquive (Abdellatif Kechiche)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry)
Feux rouges (Cédric Kahn)
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (Quentin Tarantino)
Memories of Murder (Bong Joon-ho)
Un long dimanche de fiançailles (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
Uzak (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Life Is a Miracle (Emir Kusturica)
***
2005 (Positif – February 2006, N.540)
Les amants réguliers (Philippe Garrel)
Avanim (Raphaël Nadjari)
Be with Me (Eric Khoo)
Caché (Michael Haneke)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton)
De battre mon coeur s'est arête (Jacques Audiard)
Gabrielle (Patrice Chéreau)
Keane (Lodge Kerrigan)
Million Dollar Baby (Clint Eastwood)
Three Times (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
Vera Drake (Mike Leigh)
The World (Jia Zhangke)
The Hand (Wong Kar-Wai)
***
2006 (Positif – February 2007, N.552)
Coeurs (Alain Resnais)
Ten Canoes (Rolf de Heer)
The Host (Bong Joon-ho)
Klimt (Raoul Ruiz)
Lady Chatterley (Pascale Ferran)
A Prairie Home Companion (Robert Altman)
Mrs Henderson Presents (Stephen Frears)
Flags of our Fathers (Clint Eastwood)
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (Cristi Puiu)
The New World (Terrence Malick)
Syriana (Stephen Gaghan)
Volver (Pedro Almodóvar)
***
2007 (Positif – February 2008, N.564)
Les amours d'Astrée et de Céladon (Eric Rohmer)
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Andrew Dominik)
Climates (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Goya’s Ghosts (Milos Forman)
La Graine et le Mulet (Abdellatif Kechiche)
I’m Not There (Todd Haynes)
Letters from Iwo Jima (Clint Eastwood)
We Own The Night (James Gray)
Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg)
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu)
Secret Sunshine (Lee Chang-dong)
Still Life (Jia Zhangke)
***
2008 (Positif – February 2009, N.576)
Aide-toi, le ciel t'aidera (François Dupeyron)
Changeling (Clint Eastwood)
Gomorra (Matteo Garrone)
Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh)
Hunger (Steve McQueen)
No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen)
Opéra Jawa (Garin Nugroho)
Les Plages d'Agnès (Agnès Varda)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton)
There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Un conte de Noël (Arnaud Desplechin)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen)
***
2009 (Positif – February 2010, N.588)
In the Electric Mist (Bertrand Tavernier)
Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodóvar)
Gran Torino (Clint Eastwood)
Les herbes folles (Alain Resnais)
Import/Export (Ulrich Seidl)
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
Irène (Alain Cavalier)
The Proposition (John Hillcoat)
The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke)
Three Monkeys (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Un prophète (Jacques Audiard)
Vincere (Marco Bellocchio)
***
2010 (Positif – February 2011, N.600)
Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton)
Another Year (Mike Leigh)
 A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen)
Bright Star (Jane Campion)
Carlos (Olivier Assayas)
Lola (Brillante Mendoza)
Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz)
Poetry (Lee Chang-dong)
La princesse de Montpensier (Bertrand Tavernier)
The Social Network (David Fincher)
Le Soldat dieu (Kōji Wakamatsu)
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (Woody Allen)
***
2011 (Positif – February 2012, N.612)
A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg)
The Strange Case of Angelica (Manoel de Oliveira)
Le gamin au vélo (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne)
Hors Satan (Bruno Dumont.)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
Melancholia (Lars von Trier)
Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen)
The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodovar)
Shame (Steve McQueen)
The Tree of Life (Terrence Malikc)
A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)
We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay)
***
2012 (Positif – February 2013, N.624)
A Dangerous Method (David Cronenberg)
Les adieux à la reine (Benoît Jacquot)
Amour (Michael Haneke)
Après mai (Olivier Assayas)
Beyond the Hills (Cristian Mungiu)
Bullhead (Michaël R. Roskam)
De rouille et d'os (Jacques Audiard)
The Descendants (Alexander Payne)
J. Edgar (Clint Eastwood)
Tabu (Miguel Gomes)
Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols)
Vous n'avez encore rien vu (Alain Resnais)
***
2013 (Positif - February 2014, N.636)
To the Wonder (Terrence Malick)
A Touch of Sin (Jia Zhangke)
La belle endormie (Marco Bellocchio)
Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
The Selfish Giant (Clio Barnard)
Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen)
Jimmy P. (Arnaud Desplechin)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Mud (Jeff Nichols)
Paradise: Faith (Ulrich Seidl)
La Vénus à la fourrure (Roman Polanski)
La Vie d'Adèle (Abdellatif Kechiche)
***
2014 (Positif - February 2015, N.648)
Aimer, boire et chanter (Alain Resnais)
A Most Violent Year (J. C. Chandor)
Bird People (Pascale Ferran)
Boyhood (Richard Linklater)
Ida (Paweł Pawlikowski)
L'Institutrice (Nadav Lapid)
Leçons d'harmonie (Emir Baigazin)
Léviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
Mommy (Xavier Dolan)
Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako)
3 coeurs (Benoît Jacquot)
12 Years A Slave (Abdellatif Kechiche)
Winter Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
***
2015 (Positif - February 2016, N.660)
Belles Familles (Jean-Paul Rappeneau)
Birdman (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Le Fils de Saul (László Nemes)
Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)
Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)
Marguerite (Xavier Giannoli)
L'Ombre des femmes (Philippe Garrel)
Sangue del mio sangue (Marco Bellocchio)
Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse (Arnaud Desplechin)
Un pigeon perché sur une branche philosophait sur l'existence (Roy Andersson) 
***
2016 (Positif - February 2017, N.672)
The Academy of Muses (José Luis Guerín)
The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)
Baccalauréat (Cristian Mungiu)
Le Bois dont les rêves sont faits (Claire Simon)
Carol (Todd Haynes)
Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman)
Julieta (Pedro Almodóvar)
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade)
Une vie (Stéphane Brizé)

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