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CAHIERS DU CINEMA- BEST FILMS OF 1960- SOURCE OF POLEMICS #1

by Jorge Negrete
CAHIERS DU CINEMA- BEST FILMS OF 1960- SOURCE OF POLEMICS #1 by Jorge Negrete
Nel, ya se me terminó “El Libro Vaquero” pero tengo un chingo de estos… *For “Cahiers du Cinema” lists were a source for polemics, provocation was born through selection and classification. *This lists serve as indicators of a broad taste within the “Cahiers du Cinema” editorial team. *There still exists a predominance of American films during this year, until the 1967-68 years where commitment to “New Cinema” (and the whole “Cahiers..” staff) was oriented to a more politicized trend. *This list best were compiled out of the “Top 10´s” lists of the editorial team, regular critics, former critics, film theoreticians and historians, critics… Read more

Nel, ya se me terminó “El Libro Vaquero” pero tengo un chingo de estos…

*For “Cahiers du Cinema” lists were a source for polemics, provocation was born through selection and classification.
*This lists serve as indicators of a broad taste within the “Cahiers du Cinema” editorial team.
*There still exists a predominance of American films during this year, until the 1967-68 years where commitment to “New Cinema” (and the whole “Cahiers..” staff) was oriented to a more politicized trend.
*This list best were compiled out of the “Top 10´s” lists of the editorial team, regular critics, former critics, film theoreticians and historians, critics from other journals and sympathetic filmmakers.

REGULAR CRITICS OF “CAHIERS DU CINEMA” during 1960-68 whom apported their lists:
-Jacques Bontemps, Jean Douchet, Jean Louis Comolli, Serge Daney, Michel Delahaye, Jean Domarchi, Jean-André Fieschi, Gérard Guegan, Fereydoun Hoveda, André S. Lebarthe, Louis Marcorelles, Michel Mardore, Luc Moullet, Jean Narboni, Claude Ollier, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, André Techine, Francois Weyergans among others.

FORMER CRITICS AND OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTORS TO “CAHIERS DU CINEMA” (Most of them filmmakers):
-Alexandre Astruc, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Doniol Valcroze, Jean Luc Godard, Pierre Kast, Francois Truffaut (and later Rivette, Rohmer and Moullet)

FILM THEORETICIANS AND HISTORIANS WHO CONTRIBUTED TO “CAHIERS DU CINEMA”:
-Henri Angel, Raymond Bellour, Noëhl Burch, Christian Metz, Jean Mitry, Georges Sadoul.

CRITICS FROM OTHER JOURNALS (mainly from “Positif”, the main competition of “Cahiers…”)
-Robert Bernayoun, Michel Ciment, Roger Tailleur, Bertrand Tavernier, Pierre Marcabru, Henry Chapier among others.

SYMPATHETICFILMMAKERS
-René Allio, Bertolucci, Mag Bodard, Pierre Braunberger, Demy, Eustache, Marcel Hanoun, Alain Jessua, Melville, Jean-Daniel Pollet, Alain Resnais, Jacques Rozier, Agnes Varda.

1960 (Published on “Cahiers du Cinema” 117, March 1961
*Some films are accompanied with excerpts from reviews made during that year, which come from different magazines and journals.
*All films were premiered in France during 1960. (Some foerign titles are not necessarily from 1960)

1.-Sansho Dayu (Mizoguchi, Japan, 1954)

a)”Mizoguchi treats the region around Kyoto the way Ford treats Monument Valley”

“The simplicity of vision is reflected in Mizoguchi´s way of telling a story, which is both highly mannered and extremely refined.”

Roger Tailleur, Positif, January 1961

2.-L´Avventura (Antonioni, Italy, 1960)

a) “Like Bergman, but with a style that is completely different and more substantial, Antonioni has turned nearly all of his films into a hymn to woman”

“Everyone is talking about this film. Some see it as a revelation, a shock, a painful wound. Others grow indignant, speak of its mystification, boredom, incoherence, and coldness. The discussions are always passionate. Proof that the work is of considerable importance.”

Georges Sadoul, Les Lettres Françaises, September 23, 1960.

3.- A bout de souffle (Godard, France, 1960)

a) “Godard initially wanted to make a commercial film along conventional lines. But in the end, due to laziness and willingness to take risks, Godard disregarded everything except the overall framework and the use of physical action”

“Godard suceeds in convincing the viewer that this modern universe is a marvelous world full of beauty, even though it is as metallic and terrifying as science fiction…”

Luc Moullet, Cahiers du Cinema, April 1960

b) “A bout de Souffle is one of the most artificial, most manipulative films around, and its structure is among the most banal”

“The film has a chaotic feel to it that is, presumably, indicative of the vitality of genius”

Louis Séguin, Positif, April 1960

c) "The film appears to break completely with the brilliant dialogues of the thirties, where the actor´s replies flew back and forth like a tennis ball in the Davis Cup Match. In “A bout de Souffle” the characters move from one subject to another and do more talking than listening"

“…wheter we like them or not, the characters are unconventional and posses a rare gift:life”

Georges Sadoul, Les Lettres Francaises, March 31, 1960

4.-Tirez sur le Pianiste (Truffaut, France, 1960)

a) “The exquisite dialogues are lifelike; there´s some very original music; and a handful of admirable sequences shot in a snow-covered landscape are worthy of the best of Nicholas Ray”

“Truffaut has engaged the audience in a dialogue that speaks to his true interests: timidity, friendship, the love of women, relationships. In this sense, Tirez sur le pianiste! extends the moral autobiography begun with the 400 Coups.”

Jean Domarchi, Arts, November 30, 1960

b) “Truffaut´s fisrt film, Le 400 Coups, was filled with sincerity and tenderness. There´s no trace of either in his current film. Nor there is any trace of the poetic charm that was no doubt the result of the soft rhythm of that earlier film´s imagery”.

Louis Chauvet, Le Figaro, November 28, 1960

5.-Poem of the Sea (Dovzhenko/Solntseva, USSR,1958)

6.-Les Bonnes Femmes (Chabrol, France, 1960)

a) “Chabrol may have “nothing to say” but having a message isn´t, after all, a necessary basis for being a filmmaker”

“A director´s greatest skill is his ability to bring his purity of vision to the screen. Chabrol´s entire career can be summed up as the history of this purification”

“Godard uses cinema while Chabrol promotes it”

André S. Lebarthe, Cahiers du Cinema, June 1960

b)”The script is ridiculous, pretentious; the artificial dialogues are grating, and make the worst writers of an earlier generation of filmmakers look good by comparison”

“To paint the reality of the world, it makes sense to paint it in its entirety…the way in which auterist directors describe boredom is relatively successful in the following sense: viewers are soon fed up with the boredom they experience in watching their films”

Louis Chauvet, Le Figaro, April 28, 1960

-Nazarin (Buñuel, México, 1959)

8.-Moonflet (Lang, USA, 1955)

9.-Psycho (Hitchcock, USA, 1960)

a) “This stylish horror film contains several good scenes, and if you don´t figure out the plot during the first half hour, your enjoyment may parallel that of the director, who, from a sidewalk in the film, follows Janet Leigh with an appreciative glance.”
Louis Seguin, Positif, January 1961

b) “Hitchcock´s work, in one way or another, always reflects the duel between Light and Dark, Unity and Duality.”

“Hitchcock´s earlier film (Vertigo) was constructed around seduction, artifice, the surface of appearances, and attraction. Here, everything is based on crudeness, unadorned faces, sharp editing (it cuts like a knife)”

Jean Douchet, Cahiers du Cinema, November 1960

10.-Le Trou (Becker, France, 1960)

11.-Zazie dans le métro (Malle, France, 1960)

12.-Party Girl (Ray, USA, 1958)

a)”Party Girl is the triumph of silence, meditation and self-control over noise and fury”

“Constructed around a sense of internal strife that seems to resolve external violence, and an admirable use of color, specially, the way the director uses purple and gold, Party Girl is at the same time a poem, a meditation and undoubtedly a confession”.

Jean Douchet, Arts, March 9, 1960

13.-Le Testament d´Orphée (Cocteau, France, 1960)

14.-Pather Panchali (Ray, India, 1955)

15.-Time Without Pity (Losey, GB, 1956)

-Les Yeux Sans Visage (Franju, France, 1960)

a)”Franju´s work is the struggle of poetry against the gray concentration-camp world of comfortable values”

“Normalcy is imperiled and the fantastic reigns in this elegy of poetry…As Franju himself remarked, “Its not just an horror film””
Marcel Oms, Positif, May 1960

17.-La Dolce Vita (Fellini, Italy, 1960)

a) “…the most outstanding merit of this film lies in its lack of screenplay…Normally four people work to produce and a quarter hours of script. Now that´s what cinema needs”

“What´s surprising is that he (Fellini) managed to succeed and, once he obtained his first blank check from the bankers, immediately went back to being the director of The White Sheik and Variety Lights”

Jean-Louis Laugier, Cahiers du Cinema, June 1960

b) “This film makes no attempt to excite, distract, or even move viewers, but makes them feel uncomfortable, provokes a conscious sense of malaise intended to conclude in lucid and fruitful reflection.”

“Fellini doesn´t provide us with an answer, doesn´t even suggest one. He reveals our solitude to us and delivers us to the world of dead, desperate, and liberated souls”

Pierre Billard, Cinéma 60, June 1960

18.- Heller in Pink Tights (Cukor, USA, 1960)

-The Bells are Ringing (Minelli, USA, 1960)

-Suddenly, Last Summer (Mankiewickz, USA, 1959)

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