Google Analytics, 2007
Let's hope exactly this for 2008.
Google Analytics, 2007
With Daney’s key texts available in German, Italian and Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese, one wonders if the English-speaking film lovers are the only ones missing out on his writings.
Argentinean publishers have released Daney’s texts from three of his books (La Rampe, Ciné Journal as well as the whole of Persevérance).
A book called “Of the World in Pictures proposes late texts and interviews, including Perseverance.
Italian publishers have made the most consistent effort with no less than four books released since Daney’s death and covering his key texts from the time of Libération to Perséverance.
The English speakers are in fact in the same positions as Japanese speakers with only Perseverance – the only Daney book with no film criticism – available.
Let's have a thought for the South Korean students who contacted me to translate Daney from English to Korean. Publishers, one more effort. Please.
Like the other reviews of the book, Steve's points to the limitations of Postcards From the Cinema (not the ideal introduction to Daney, lack of actual film criticism, difficult translation). But since Steve - unlike the other reviewers - has actually done quite a bit to increase Daney's recognition in the English-speaking world through his website, he brings some needed perspective on the lack of translations of Daney and I find him a little more credible in his reservations.
Steve is also startled by the fact that Daney never saw Kapo and accepted Rivette's comment blindly. I must say that I totally miss that point. First taking Rivette's word for anything sounds great fun. Plus a single glance at the shot should convince anyone that Rivette is indeed "absolutely right".
On the other hand, Steve makes really excellent remarks about what it would mean to apply Daney's approach to current cinema, television and other audio-visual forms.
Joining the choir, he also hopes there will be more translations.
POST AS PUBLISHED ON 28 AUGUST 2007
A number of reviews of Postcards from the cinema (the English translation of Serge Daney's last "book") have been published. I've been reluctant to post a blog commenting on the reviews of a translation of an interview, but it is the only way we have to assess the reception of the book. And the reactions are mixed. Most of them praise The Tracking Shot in Kapo article but have reservations about the rest of the book which is not proper film criticism but Daney's attempt at his cinema-biography in an interview with his Cahiers du cinéma friend and colleague Serge Toubiana.
In Sight & Sound, Jonathan Romney, finds the Kapo article "essential reading", showing Daney's "brilliance at extrapolating an argument from a single image" but finds Daney's interview not "of obvious interest from a strictly cinematic point of view". Much worse, Kent Jones, in Film Comment, has a strange rant at Daney, saying the autobiographical aspects of the book gave him the "heebie-jebies", considering Daney's account of a film he never saw (Kapo) "troubling and wincingly juvenile" and his "self-historicizing as musty and outdated as a radio ad jingle". Both called for more translations of Daney's actual film criticism.
Two kinder reviews are published online. Anna Dzenis in Screening the Past, finds "fascinating" these "insights into the life of a true cinephile." Tony McKibbin in Senses of Cinema pinpoints the irony of publishing a book by a film critic which contains only one article of actual film criticism (and on a movie the film critic didn't even see) and finds this a good example "that the lines between cinema, life and art aren’t easily drawn – nor would Daney want them to be". Again both called for more translations!I'll update this post if more reviews are published
Daney: No. For me, the love for cinema has never been confused with the love of the movie theatre. In the theatre, there was still too much society, too much consensus. I’ve always nestled against the screen. I have a relationship with a movie which is independent of everything, as if I had internally digitalised it before everyone. And I’m the only one by the way who has tried to see in detail how movies stood the test of the small screen. To say “you know, it’s not what we think.” One movie gains, the other loses out. For example, The Ten Commandments is great on television. Whereas India Song is made for an empty theatre. I was very happy with my paradoxes. And I had the hope, eventually a bit dashed, that it will trigger in people the desire to compare. No, really, I don’t care about movie theatres. I saw movies alone in a theatre. Well, it’s embarrassing. Especially comedies. To laugh alone, what anguish! The dilemma is therefore not between theatres and television, but between projection and broadcasting [“diffusion” in French]. And projection is not insignificant. To project oneself in a personal psycho-analysis, to have a project… Words are superb. What do young people have today? “Plans”, good or bad. The word “project”, they don’t dare pronounce it anymore. Personally, I have projected myself so much into the space of the image - this strange gaping hole - that I know something about projection that I will never forget. And I also know what it is to have a projector behind me.
Magazine: Is this why you say you want to stop writing on television?
Daney: I have the feeling of having closed a loop. No, not a loop: it would be too sad. I hope it’s only the first round of a spiral. Although… Television is a formidable thinking tool. You are like an analyst to whom society’s subconscious would be offered wide open… A rather raw subconscious (…) But if one is in good form and a good analyst, here’s a formidable machine to make you think and write. There is one problem though: it doesn’t bite. There’s no feedback whatsoever. If I attack Michèle Cotta [the news director of France’s main commercial channel], she doesn’t reply. If I write twenty thousand characters on Benetton Toscani, it’s not picked up on or quoted anywhere. It doesn’t trigger any debate. It’s considered as my own problem, my strange – and eventually likeable – whim. Me, Serge Daney, I have this strange whim which consists in writing on television with a film maker’s morality. They don’t hold it against me but I may as well not say anything.
Magazine: And the “Zappper’s wage”, your weekly chronicle in Libération?
Daney: The “zapper”, it was a very small niche, very narrow, which cannot be made a genre. Even “zapper” was a poor choice of word. If I zapped between channels, it was from one day to another. But I still watched the programmes from beginning to end. It wasn’t the video-diary of a TV addict under the influence of visual neuroleptics! I had kept my habits as a cinephile who likes duration and time in cinema. Anyway, after having been round the issue, from the news mass to advertising and decoration, I stopped. Serge July [Libération publication director] was annoyed. Because as an editor, he thought he had found a good gimmick, A grand child of Barthes. July has the original edition of “Mythologies” in his office and sadly still believes that it will help us understand our times…