Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#151 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:06 am

Rayon Vert wrote:Can't see North by Northwest in there.
It was reviewed at-length by Moullet and while well-received overall in the CDD in December 1959 (Three stars from all the Cahiers critics on the panel except from Douchet, who gave it four), Moullet's essay is defensive and suggests most of his colleagues saw it as minor. Henri Agel was the sole contributor to vote for it in the yearly round-up

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#152 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:25 am

Oh my God, this Moullet review is ridiculous. My translation of some of the typically Moulletean nonsense:
Luc Moullet wrote:North By Northwest is an entertainment, as opposed to Vertigo, which is a serious movie. What does that mean? That the characters have consistency in Vertigo, and no consistency in North By Northwest, or more exactly the parody of the parody of the consistency they possessed in Vertigo. [...] Everyone knows it, so it isn't necessary to speak of it: a criticism is not made to criticize.
And then there's this
Luc Moullet wrote:The aesthetics of Hitchcock are the aesthetics of the punch

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#153 Post by knives » Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:15 am

What does that even mean (also now I take your comparison less as a compliment :| ).

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#154 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:26 am

It wasn't an insult!

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#155 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:43 am

They rated The Nutty Professor over 8 1/2. :roll:

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#156 Post by knives » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:51 am

Honestly I'd probably do the same.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#157 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:52 pm

I wouldn't even vote for 8 1/2. As odd as some of these choices are, a List Project culled exclusively from these lists would prob end up better than our actual decade lists

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#158 Post by rohmerin » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:09 pm

Why does Los olvidados appear in two years? Is that a mistake?

La casa del ángel is definitely the best Argentinian film I've seen.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#159 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:16 pm

Whoops, the 1961 one is actually the Young One, I fixed it now-- thanks!

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#160 Post by zedz » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:03 pm

Rayon Vert wrote:Godard gets his 4 films of '67 in the top 11! And he nails the top spot four years in a row. (Can't understand that level of admiration for Bande à part, though.)
And I hear that the Trump family have voted Donald Trump the Best President Ever. He also took silver and bronze.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#161 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:18 pm

I get the joke, but the Cahiers critics were more than capable of panning their friends' movies and did it all the time. They just really liked what Godard was doing (and he wasn't a contributor to the journal in 1967 anyways)

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#162 Post by zedz » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:46 pm

I always got the sense that they were very 'brand conscious', and rather dogged in promoting it at the expense of other French filmmakers - and I think this is borne out in these lists. Sure, a handful of New Wave-aligned films could be panned as a show of 'critical independence', but it would have been unthinkable for their coterie to be unrepresented in any best of the year list.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#163 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:03 pm

That's just not accurate. I think detractors look at the collective tastes of the Cahiers from the wrong perspective. It's not that they all fell in line with the prevalent reading of their peers, it's that the prevalent reading of their peers tended to be the one shared by those with similar tastes. They hung with the same groups, went to the same events, and water finds its own level. There is constant disagreement among the critics on most films, and not just in matters of degree, but broadly their tastes were pretty similar. The Cahiers critics were not Legion, otherwise we'd be talking about how they all loved sci-fi when really it was just Fereydoun Hoveyda ringing that bell, but there's no evidence of pressure to conform. Indeed, the contributors relish their individual buckings as much as their fawning shared praises. There's no need to praise a film that they didn't like for internal bolstering-- Le beau Serge wasn't greeted rapturously from within, and that alone should discredit the above argument...

Fundamentally, most of the arguments raised in favor or against many films by Cahiers critics were thinly-veiled justifications/obfuscations of moral, religious, and political concerns, which can be confusing or absent from consideration when just looking at the titles in lists like this (and this in part is why their writing is rarely well-considered, regardless of their impact at the time and on film history). I think their collective writing and approach is fascinating, obviously, but I think a lot of that is also my interest in how so much of what people know (or think they know) about the journal and its members is convenient fiction

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#164 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:10 pm

Ha, lubitsch was just attacking them in the Lang thread, I was surprised that didn't draw this response. Honestly, I find a lot of the responses to the Cahiers group that are predicated on a world in which they represent the official canon misguided- the degree to which the canon has shifted to agree with them is a sign of how influential they were, but I think a lot of their more incoherent arguments and perverse opinions have to be seen in the light that they were outsiders who were constantly trying to start some shit

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#165 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:20 pm

I believe it's more youthful arrogance and desire to be bold as opposed to posturing to stir shit up-- I don't doubt the sincerity of their unusual or passionately-argued opinions (which is the tiredest argument against the Cahiers group-- "They couldn't possibly mean it!"), though Matrix, your point is broadly correct in the sense that they knew what they were doing and how it looked. That Cahiers got popular and were associated with and produced so many world-famous filmmakers and had infinitely more hand in taste-making than Positif or other left-leaning cinema journals at the time drove the other side bonkers with a mixture of jealousy and legit befuddlement-- being anti-Cahiers is nothing new!

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#166 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:41 pm

Sure, that's a fair distinction. I don't think they were insincere in their opinions, just that they were trying to create an entirely new way of watching and responding to movies- so it's unsurprising that this lead to a lot of terrible or confused, occasionally self contradictory takes.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#167 Post by knives » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:46 pm

Neupert's chapter on Rivette is pretty amusing in this regard since he keeps bringing up how Positif like him, but mostly used that liking to bash Cahiers.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#168 Post by whaleallright » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:27 am

if I'm not mistaken, the temporary suspension of the "best of the year" lists after 1968 reflects a shift from a nominally apolitical, cinephilic approach to an overtly left-wing, more "theoretical" editorial policy at Cahiers. (it's not long after that they publish the infamous, turgid, Lacan- and Althusser-inspired piece on Young Mr. Lincoln.)

I don't know how quickly this shift occurred or how it was experienced by the journal's veteran critics; I should probably read the Antoine de Baecque volumes on the history of the journal. but it would seem to be reflected, already, in some of the 1968 choices: the formalist Huillet/Straub and New Left Robert Kramer picks, and possibly the Quebecois documentaries too. btw the Kramer film, The Edge, has been largely forgotten; anyone here seen it?

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#169 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:47 am

Your question is perfectly timed, I actually watched the Edge earlier tonight! I haven't read through any of the critical appraisals from Cahiers yet, but I'm curious how much their fancy with it is related to the politics (it involves a young radical leftist who intends to assassinate President Johnson) and how much is the style of the film-- the movie employs that ol' crutch of many student films in which excessive narration replaces synchronized sound because it's easier to do so (maybe 20% of the film is synchronized). However, Kramer overlaps dialog onto scenes that rarely depict or show when/where/what the conversation is covering. I could see this appealing to a formalist or aesthetic reading, but honestly, it came across as just constant amateur hour. Most of the overlap looked to be a quick fix for not shooting necessary scenes and having too much coverage shot of other scenes. The dialog is also meandering, proto-mumblecore (but somehow worse and less interesting [!]), the film explores exactly zero actual moral or political quandaries inherent in the premise, and everything looks like it was made on the weekends by a friend-circle. It is a movie so poorly constructed that its flaws could be mistaken for art. Even if these techniques were intentional distancing/tone-muting tools on Kramer's part, it's still basically the A Night to Dismember of political films.

I also watched the Big Mouth, which is typical mid-range mediocre Jerry Lewis (and a slightly better than average Sea World commercial), no more, no less. Though for some reason Colonel Sanders is in it and he calls fake Max Showalter a "moron," so there's that.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#170 Post by knives » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:27 am

Sanders is in it because he helped with catering. This was common for independent films back in the day.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#171 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 05, 2017 2:59 pm

Source? A quick Google search turned up a national KFC ad with Lewis and Sanders that ran in conjunction with the film's release, suggesting this was just product (mascot?) placement

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#172 Post by knives » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:09 pm

It can be both. I know this was the case with The Phynx and Hell's Bloody Devil. My understanding is that he would make deals with films to cater at a severely reduced rate in exchange for product placement. It was mentioned when i saw the film on TCM.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#173 Post by swo17 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:15 pm

From the IMDb trivia for HGL's Blast-Off Girls:

According to director Herschell Gordon Lewis, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Harland Sanders, whose company supplied Lewis' production company and advertising firm with fried chicken during the filming of this and other movies, insisted on appearing in a cameo at a KFC restaurant located in Wilmette, Illinois. Lewis recalled that Colonel Sanders was very difficult to work with because Sanders made several unreasonable and self-serving demands for, among many things, multiple rehearsals, top-billing, and wanting to direct the scene himself.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#174 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:17 pm

Interesting, thanks guys!

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#175 Post by zedz » Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:21 pm

swo17 wrote:From the IMDb trivia for HGL's Blast-Off Girls:

According to director Herschell Gordon Lewis, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colonel Harland Sanders, whose company supplied Lewis' production company and advertising firm with fried chicken during the filming of this and other movies, insisted on appearing in a cameo at a KFC restaurant located in Wilmette, Illinois. Lewis recalled that Colonel Sanders was very difficult to work with because Sanders made several unreasonable and self-serving demands for, among many things, multiple rehearsals, top-billing, and wanting to direct the scene himself.
Lewis talks about this a couple of times in different places in the big Arrow box set (which i am presently dragging myself through by the hair). It seems that he set up a deal with a local KFC to provide catering (a semi-regular thing, it seems, as The Gruesome Twosome has a prominent finger-lickin' sequence as one of its several desperate filler attempts) and was surprised to hear that Sanders wanted to be in the film - having, presumably, never heard of Lewis or his work!

We should probably be glad that the two didn't hit it off or we might have ended up with a follow-up called "It Tastes Like Chicken".

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