Can one write about cinema without knowing James Gray? How to talk about the films we see? In the editorial of the cinema newsletter of the week, Jean-Baptiste Morain questions himself and listens to “Le Masque et la Plume”.
Godard died a month ago and I miss him. Why ? The other day, at a press screening, while waiting for the film to start, I heard two of my colleagues, behind me (off screen, therefore), talking about a film they had both seen and which was very disappointed. Very quickly, I was seized with extreme embarrassment, not because their arguments were very crude (“The couple does not walk”, “we don’t believe it”, etc.), but because I recognized some of those that I must have formulated and they suddenly seemed very stupid to me.
Admittedly, I was a little reassured when one of the two asked her friend: “And if not, have you seen the James Gray?” “The what ?”, replied the other. “James Gray’s new movie. Do you know James Gray?” “Uh… What’s the title?” “Armageddon Time, he was in Cannes.” “Oh no, I never go to see the blockbusters, I’m not interested.” “But it’s not a blockbuster at all…“And as the room was slowly plunged into darkness, they fell silent. The movie started. I tell myself : “How can one not know who James Gray is, when one is a journalist or film critic?“Then I forgot.
On the waves
And then last Sunday, I inadvertently listened (I rarely listen to it, it reminds me of work), The Mask and the Feather on France Inter, devoted that day to the cinema. As usual, we found the same speakers.
The poor journalist Figaro was there, always mocking (he must have been born in this state). A starving writer, an old “new hussar” without a horse, like a punk with a dog without a dog, he has been writing about cinema for fifteen years – he is around 60 – and often shows an uneasy lack of culture. , due to the sole fact that he surely has not seen a single film between the ages of 20 and 60. He also announced once in a small pamphlet, rickety on all levels, that French cinema was dead with Truffaut and Sautet. Like his youth, in short. He had nothing interesting to say other than that he didn’t like films made by people he believed to be on the left.
The star journalist of Positive since 1960 explained to us (in vain, concerning me) that Ruben Östlund, the last recipient of the Palme d’or, was the new Buñuel. Omitting the simple fact that Luis Buñuel was a little better filmmaker, but also a lot more leftist, anyway.
Only the journalist specializing in the series of France Inter and especially the brilliant criticism of Release seemed to think something of the films and draw sensible reflections from them, rather than displaying very conventional platitudes, voluntary approximations and self-satisfied banter.
And I suddenly remembered that Godard, at the end of the 1970s, had written by hand in the Cinema notebooks : “I don’t go to Paris anymore, they don’t wash their minds.
Editorial originally published in the cinema newsletter of October 12
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“I miss Godard”, the editorial by Jean-Baptiste Morain – Les Inrocks