- Baby Seeking Bathwater
- The Organ and the Vacuum Cleaner
- For a cine-demography
- John Ford for Ever
- The Dog and The Rope
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
A sort of history of cinema comparing the number of spectators and of characters in movies:
- Classic cinema: a lot of people in a lot of movie theatres watching films with a lot of characters.
- Modern cinema: fewer and fewer people in already too many movie theatres watching films with fewer and fewer characters.
- Post-modern cinema: many people in just a few (large) theatres want to see films with just a few characters.
For a cine-demography
The French version was originally published in Liberation,
Since Daney's text is 20 years old, I'm wondering if the metaphor couldn't developed further. Something like a lot of isolated people scattered around the globe (in front of the television, DVDs, internet or at film festivals or in museums) watch many movies with small, minor, ordinary characters. No more heroes except for the fantasy super heroes of Hollywood (Batman, etc.).
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Originally published in Liberation on
I'm still amazed by Daney's ability to capture a unique characteristic (rapid contemplation) of a filmmaker (Ford) in such a concise and simple manner.
Fort Apache was on British TV last Saturday afternoon and, as I exercised the usual Daney trick: count the first 10 shots of a movie to see "if it works", I spotted this amazing panoramic shot of a coach going full speed through Monument Valley: the camera follows the coach from left to right but then abandons it for a moment to look up a big rock formation before getting back down to the coach and the action. The coach actually disappears from the frame in the middle of the action... sheer magic.
Any other rapid contemplation anyone?
Friday, April 18, 2008
Baby Seeking Bathwater
Originally published in Libération in two parts on 30 September and 1 October 1991. Published in English in Documenta Documents 2, 1996, Cantz Verlag. Translation by Brian Holmes.
It's an important article, written less than a year before Daney's death, at the height of his social criticism for long pieces in Libération. And it's perhaps the text where Daney ventures the furthest away from cinema and television (a simple poster triggers the article) toward broader social criticism.
An image of the poster is inserted in the original Libération article: a photo of a woman with a baby in her arms standing in front of the giant Benetton poster.
Friday, March 21, 2008
The article starts as a review of Bresson's 1976 Le diable probablement (The Devil Probably) before moving to unchartered waters.
The translation is not ideal but this is another long piece by Serge Daney from his first book LA RAMPE. And it's a good example of Daney playing with categories (see Adrian Martin's recent comment on how "Serge Daney invented three distinctions a day and would incessantly play with different distinctions"). I also like how the text shows Daney's acute attention to sound.
The Organ and the Vacuum Cleaner
Literary Debates: Texts and Contexts (Postwar French Thought, Volume II), edited by Denis Hollier and Jeffrey Mehlman, translated by Arthur Goldhammer, New Press, 2001, pp. 474-486.
The original text is "L'orgue et l'aspirateur (Bresson, le diable, la voix off et quelques autres)", pages 19-27, Cahiers du cinéma, issue 279-280, August-September 1977. Reprinted ,” in La Rampe: Cahiers critique 1970-82 (Paris : Cahiers du Cinema/Gallimard, 1983), pp. 138-48.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The dog and the rope
Serge Daney, Cahiers du cinéma, hors-série spécial photos de films, 1978
It feels good to see people like Andy taking the initiative to discover some great yet little-known texts (even in France) by Daney and to publish them. It shows that there's is still much Daney to discover and debate.