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A Little Bit of Real Life

Michael Wood: Writing with Godard, 9 May 2024

The Cinema House and the World: The ‘Cahiers du Cinéma’ Years, 1962-81 
by Serge Daney, translated by Christine Pichini.
Semiotext(e), 600 pp., £28, September 2022, 978 1 63590 161 0
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Footlights: Critical Notebook 1970-82 
by Serge Daney, translated by Nicholas Elliott.
Semiotext(e), 212 pp., £16.99, December 2023, 978 1 63590 198 6
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Reading with Jean-Luc Godard 
edited by Timothy Barnard and Kevin J. Hayes.
Caboose, 423 pp., £35, November 2023, 978 1 927852 46 0
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... about cinema, is writing, and talk as a form of writing. In The Cinema House and the World, Serge Daney, whose career at Cahiers du cinéma began in 1964, insists that he and his colleagues ‘always did love … a cinema that is haunted by writing’. Robert Bresson said much the same thing: ‘Cinema is not a spectacle. It’s a kind of ...

After the Movies

Michael Wood: Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma, 4 December 2008

Histoire(s) du cinéma 
directed by Jean-Luc Godard.
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... memory of film. At another point, and for quite some time, Godard is interviewed by the critic Serge Daney, who does most of the talking. ‘The New Wave,’ Daney says, ‘is perhaps the only generation which found itself in the middle of the century and the cinema at the same time.’ Godard was lucky, he adds, to ...

As If

Jonathan Romney: ‘Cahiers du cinéma’, 9 September 2010

A Short History of ‘Cahiers du cinéma’ 
by Emilie Bickerton.
Verso, 156 pp., £12.99, March 2010, 978 1 84467 232 5
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... made its point nonetheless. This reminded me of something that a one-time Cahiers linchpin, Serge Daney, wrote in 1992, recalling a formative influence on his criticism. In the Cahiers of June 1961, Jacques Rivette – yet to attain his eminence as a leading director of the Nouvelle Vague – reviewed Kapò, a film by Gillo Pontecorvo about the ...

Promenade Dora-Bruder

Adam Shatz: Patrick Modiano, 22 September 2016

So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighbourhood 
by Patrick Modiano, translated by Euan Cameron.
MacLehose, 160 pp., £8.99, September 2016, 978 0 85705 499 9
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... himself. When the film was released, however, few were aware of the family dramas at its centre. Serge Daney spoke for many when, in Cahiers du cinéma, he accused Malle and Modiano of ignoring the social and ideological roots of collaboration by refusing to illuminate Lucien’s motives. Yet the film’s silence was an epistemological decision as much ...

When the beam of light has gone

Peter Wollen: Godard Turns Over, 17 September 1998

The Films of Jean-Luc Godard 
by Wheeler Winston Dixon.
SUNY, 290 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 0 7914 3285 8
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Speaking about Godard 
by Kaja Silverman and Harun Farocki.
New York, 256 pp., $55, July 1998, 0 8147 8066 0
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... of the pedagogue, a role for which he had already shown a leaning. Indeed, in the late Seventies, Serge Daney took him to task in the pages of Cahiers du Cinéma itself for his drill-master style of pedagogy, for setting citation against citation while avoiding responsibility for either, for his de-contextualisation of sources and his terroristic use of ...

Who does that for anyone?

Adam Shatz: Jean-Pierre Melville, 20 June 2019

Jean-Pierre Melville: Le Solitaire 
by Bertrand Teissier.
Fayard, 272 pp., €22, October 2017, 978 2 213 70573 6
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Jean-Pierre Melville, une vie 
by Antoine de Baecque.
Seuil, 244 pp., €32, October 2017, 978 2 02 137107 9
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... the point of abstraction. Melville’s first gangster film was Le Doulos (1962), with Belmondo and Serge Reggiani, based on a polar by Pierre Lesou. It’s a tangled story of brotherhood and betrayal among criminals, revolving around the question of whether Silien, the cocky young thug played by Belmondo, is a saviour or a doulos – an informer. But the most ...

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