Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Positif: Le cinéma retrouvé

The Le cinéma retrouvé section in Positif consist of extended film reviews of major re-releases of old films in theaters and/or new DVD releases usually in updated restored formats. It's a great way to discover a couple of new films each month and to read a lengthy review of it that contextualizes the film historically, places it alongside the director's body of work,  and deems it socially important as a valuable work of art.

The section works best if there is only two films that are reviewed and that will be released on DVD soon. It offers an outlet to write more thoroughly about these old films and provides a mise en hauteur compared to the reviews in the Notre sélection DVD section. The reviews are an additional homage to the films, which might have been written about as critiques in their first theatrical release, and the new reviews expand upon the former, further championing the director and/or film, while the prose reflects the style of that new individual writer.

When Positif changed publisher they updated their website, where instead of putting the regular editorial, usually by Michel Ciment, on the home-page beside the table of content, the two of them can now be found via links at the bottom of the page as a sleek .pdf document. For a full listing of the Le cinéma retrouvé they can be found via Positif's archieve. I can’t pinpoint what issue that the section started, or all of the films that have been featured, but I can list some recent ones, which I tried to make sure to watch and then read about, sometimes having to wait a few months to watch the film, since the French releases are a few months ahead of the North American one's.

To highlight some of the good recent Le cinéma retrouvé film reviews: Pierre Eisenreich contrasts’s seeing Michael Cimino’s Heaven's Gate in both in print and on DCP and reads the story as a dream and Lætitia Mikles’s reviews Le Joli Mai that will become available in North America in the fall (N.628); Marc Cerisuelo’s discusses the production history of  Ernst Lubitsch’s masterpiece To Be or Not to Be and Pierre Berthomieu’s discusses the use of split screen and genre in Robert Aldrich’s  Twilight's Last Gleaming (N.627); Adrien Gombeaud offers a sensitive reading of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Dust in the Wind, and Bernard Génin’s speaks of Martin Rosen’s unique animation style in The Plague Dogs (N.625); Philippe Rouyer proposes Kubrick’s Fear and Desire as his first non-verbal visual experience, and Laurent Vachaud’s offers a delirious take on Kubrick’s relations with the Illuminati in Kubrick: Le secret de la pyramide (N.623).

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