Written by Jean Serroy and directed by Anne Serroy, The 1000 cult films in the history of cinema invites to an overview of an art, the seventh, mass and test.
University professor emeritus and film critic, Jean Serroy engages in The 1000 cult films in the history of cinema to a necessarily subjective and delicate exercise: make a partial and personal selection, adopting a French and contemporary point of view, of films that are candidates for posterity, from the birth of the seventh art at the end of the 19th century to the present day, from The exit of the Lumière factory in Lyon, which already induces a commercial exploitation of the cinema, to Parasite, recent Palme d’Or in Cannes and ambassador of a singularly fertile South Korean cinema.
The book is made up of brief notes on the selected films, dozens of interviews (Woody Allen, Ridley Scott, Sylvester Stallone, Xavier Dolan, Sean Penn…), short decennial introductory texts and more substantial “zooms” (on Brigitte Bardot, Jean Gabin, DW Griffith or even Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers). The book is not specifically dedicated to moviegoers: by their format, its evocations remain sketchy and can above all be compared to whetting the appetite. Thierry Frémaux underlines another characteristic of this in his preface: “Everyone has their cult films, impossible to steal those of others. “ It would therefore be pointless to deplore one or the other omission.
Jean Serroy underlines the paternity of DW Griffith in the modernity of the cinematographic language. It collects the comments of Ridley Scott on the staging of the aliens and a fear indexed to the economy of their appearances. He questions Woody Allen on the tragicomic nature of his cinema, George A. Romero on the illusion and freedom induced by the horror and fantasy genre, Penelope Cruz on his relationship with Pedro Almodovar, “Of great intensity”, where each shoot is a “Special adventure” and one “Enrichment”. Small thematic boxes cover subjects as varied as Alfred Hitchcock’s cameos, the chapters of mythology Star wars, films shot in a single sequence shot or the crossed destinies of the two Johns, Wayne and Ford.
These perspectives turn out to be all the more valuable as the film notices often boil down to the essentials. and sometimes sorely lacking in contextual elements. Thus, films such as The Laureate, Mr. the Cursed, Dracula, Jurassic Park, Toy Story or Citizen Kane would certainly have deserved to see their avant-garde, political or seminal specificities highlighted. This lacunary historico-analytical dimension sends this beautiful book back to the state of a catalog, without this being understood in a pejorative sense.
Thus, the reader will be able to wander there as he pleases, read one or the other notice sporadically, draw ideas for discoveries there, verify (or not) in an interview what he may have sensed at the time. subject of a movie. Jean Serroy mixes the action blockbuster with intimate independent drama, horror with science fiction, France abroad. It offers a transversal panorama of cinema but without backing it up with a critical or exhaustive reading. In some respects, but with less substantiated texts, The 1000 cult films in the history of cinema could fall between 1001 movies to watch before you die (Omnibus editions) and the Petit Larousse from the movies. Not enough for the cinephile eager to dig deeper into the seventh art, but ideal for anyone who aspires to learn about the works that History has marked with a white stone.
The 1000 cult films in the history of cinema, Jean Serroy
Glénat, November 2021, 336 pages
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Jean Serroy presents his “1000 cult films in the history of cinema” | LeMagduCine