Tuesday, December 9, 2014

homme cinéma: Antoine de Baecque

Antoine de Baecque is one of the most Cahiersiste film critics. After having been a writer at the magazine, joining in the late Eighties, he went on to write its ‘official’ history -- “You really need a lot of time… to read all of Cahiers’ 600 issues,” he has said in regards to these efforts -- and then to being its chief editor for a couple of years, from 1996 to 1998. If he could be associated with any of the prior period’s chief editors and original Cahiers writer-directors, de Baecque would be more Daney-Godardian than Toubiana-Truffautian. His film criticism and interest bring together history, politics, philosophy and theory. For de Baecque, Cahiers represents modern film criticism and the original French New Wave modern filmmaking. He has written many books covering this period and its key figures like François Truffaut (with Serge Toubiana), Jean-Luc Godard, and most recently Eric Rohmer (with Noël Herpe). These volumes confirm his status as one of the great and most thorough French director biographers, which is rare in it of itself. Along with an impressive resume, which includes teaching and editing Libération’s cultural section, some of de Baecque’s other great books, essays, and interviews include Camera Historica: The Century in Cinema, on cinema and its relation to history; an interview with Alain Badiou in the philosopher's book Cinema; La Cinéphilie: Invention d’un regard, histoire d’une culture 1944-1968 (cf. my essay); books on Andrei Tarkovsky, Tim Burton and Maurice Pialat; a magisterial book on corporeal metaphor in Revolutionary France (1770-1800); one of his most recent, and a masterpiece of French film criticism, with Philippe Chevalier, Dictionnaire de la pensée du cinéma; and most recently La traversée des Alpes: Essai d'histoire marchée.

De Baecque will be at the Alliance française on Thursday, December 11th at 7PM to talk about WWI films and the on the weekend (the 13th & 14th) to introduce some Jean-Luc Godard shorts and The Old Place.

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