Sunday, March 20, 2016

Stéphane Delorme and Cahiers: 2015 – 2016

 The Smell of Us belongs to these rare films that reconfigure everything when we see them: we leave the theater by saying that this is why we go see films… What’s at stake with this film is an idea of cinema. Where the horizon today is getting more de-complexed towards these ‘well made’ products, just as insipid as most commercial products, Larry Clark arrives with his terrible poison, a chaotic film, a grand accident that undresses his desires, his emotions, his frights… He’s transmitting us the truth of his emotion… Rarely has a cinéaste gone so far in undressing his cinema. The son is stuffed by his mother who’s bored, a post-sixtyeighter that suffocates all of their descendants. The scene designates less an incite then a blasé delirium of a bourgeois intellectual, broken, lamentable, held up between a regret of the grandeur of the past and the inertia of the actual present.” (N.707)

“Today we need more teams. Of assemblages of intelligences with a common goal. ‘Team’ is the best word for it. A ‘group’ is too closed within itself, too homogeneous, too dogmatic. A ‘gang’ is too puerile, almost mafioso. A ‘team’ can go far, and Cahiers knows something about this: reassembling a few die-hard cinephiles and, one thing leads to another, it’s the nouvelle vague. A team doesn’t stop, it advances with a common goal. It isn’t a trapped community, closed-off, utopic. But instead it stimulates the réel for everyone. Utopia isn’t a good concept, contrarily to what a few nostalgics from the sixties and seventies would make you believe. The only thing that counts is the réel, that which is of the here and the now. In the name of an idea. There must be a realism of all the instances to be able efficiently drop an idea into the réel.” (N.708)

“If we like certain cinéastes, it’s firstly because of this: they don’t tell us ‘stories’, but instead share with us that which is the most intimate that goes through them… Rarely has a film since Nanni Moretti’s Mia madre so well described the misfortune of these children that want to do well but who don’t know how.” (N.716)

“Rivette doesn’t scatter himself, he doesn’t engage with the b-film, he’s focused and he just wants to understand. What makes Hawks, Rossellini, Lang, Preminger cinéastes? He’s searching for a common point, a common ground, which he names mise en scène. It only takes one or two texts to spell it out, reassembling his thought once and for all. When he discusses for the first time Bergman, on Summer Interlude, in 1958, he barely cites the film: it’s especially the occasion for his text on Bergman, and also the occasion for something else: to understand what makes a great cinéaste. So no little details but instead an exulting higher moral view that confines towards an abstraction. Rivette, by honesty, stops sometimes: to frankly asks himself, ‘Qu'est-ce que le cinéma?’ and he excuses himself for not being able to answer, but the important thing is to know what it is the unique question that’s in his head.” (N.720)

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