Current Issue: Vol. XXXIX, No. 1 – Special Issue on the Cahiers Critics in Arts Magazine
Arts and the Hussars in Their Time
by Marc Dambre – Translated by Marco Grosoli
For most of the 1950s, Arts was principally animated by the “hussars” writers (especially Jacques Laurent and Roger Nimier). This article provides a broad historical contextualization of that phenomenon: it retraces the hussars’ parable from the late Forties until the early Sixties, their careers, their political inclinations, their activity in cultural journalism, their role in Arts, the intersections between the latter and the “young Turks” from the Cahiers du cinéma (most notably François Truffaut, whom editor-in-chief Jacques Laurent hired as a film critic in 1954), and their support to the Nouvelle Vague.
Marc Dambre is Emeritus Professor of Modern and Contemporary French Literature at the University of Sobonne Nouvelle. He is the author of Roger Nimier. Hussard du demi-siècle (Flammarion, 1989), has looked after the publication of Nimier’s works, and edited the collections Les Husards. Une génération littéraire (Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2000) and Roger Nimier (Cahier de l’Herne, 2012). In the field of contemporary literature, he has founded CERACC (UMR Thalim) Research Centre, and led a seminar with Bruno Blanckeman. He has co-edited several works for the Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, including L’Exception et la France contemporaine (2010), Romanciers minimalistes (1979-2003) (2012), and Mémoires occupées. Fictions françaises et Seconde Guerre mondiale (2013).
The Politics and Aesthetics of the “politique des auteurs”
by Marco Grosoli
An account of the contributions politique des auteurs film critics (Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer and François Truffaut) gave to Arts in the second half of the 1950s. The essay focuses on the political implications of this engagement: in Arts (a journal directed by Jacques Laurent, a rather overt – if unorthodox – conservative writer), the group’s leaning towards the right was more outspoken than it was in the Cahiers – not to mention their universalist, western-centric bias. Even more significant is their anti-existentialism, an unspoken (and hitherto somewhat overlooked) theoretical axiom informing the politique des auteurs, and finding in Arts (arguably the nemesis of Sartre-directed Les Temps modernes) very fertile ground.
Marco Grosoli earned a Ph.D. in Film Studies from the University of Bologna; his dissertation regarded the integral corpus of writings (2600 articles) by film critic and theorist André Bazin. He is currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Kent (Canterbury). He has co-edited (with Monica Dall’ Asta) a volume about the cinema of Guy Debord and one (with Jean-Baptiste Massuet) about the use of motion/performance capture in recent cinema. He has published in several academic journals and edited collections, including Fata Morgana, II Mulino, Cinema & Cie. He also collaborates with various movie journals. such as Film Comment, La Furia Umana, Sentieriselvaggi.it, Filmidee.it, Spietati.it.
The Lost Art of Keeping a Secret: Jacques Rivette’s Film Criticism for Arts
by Douglas Morrey
Douglas Morrey is Associate Professor of French at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Jean-Luc Godard (Manchester University Press, 2005) and the co-author of Jacques Rivette (Manchester University Press, 2009). He is currently researching a study entitled “The Legacy of the New Wave in French cinema.”
Eric Rohmer at Arts: A Cinema Writer
by Antoine de Baecque
Eric Rohmer was one of the most important film critics of the 1950s, not only for the Cahiers du cinéma (which he ran between 1957 and 1963) but also for lesser-known weekly magazine Arts. Between 1956 and 1959 he published 179 texts (approximately 600 pages) in Arts, most of which have hitherto never been re-edited. Arts was the iconoclastic and irreverent tribune of the Nouvelle Vague, for which François Truffaut was in charge of the cinema page. Rohmer pulled out all the stops, reviewing recent productions, especially from America (westerns, musicals, and melodramas) and engaging in relentless polemic against French “quality” ﬁlms. In these texts, Rohmer reveals himself to be an aﬁcionado of the Western as well as of Jayne Mansfield, and a defender of Hollywood cinema, which he compares to the “admirable art of the great age of Louis XIV.”
Antoine De Baecque is Professor of History of Cinema at the University of Paris Ouest-Nanterre. He has authored several articles and books about cinema, particularly regarding the history of Cahiers du cinéma (for which he has also been the editor-in-chief between 1996 and 1998). A publisher and a biographer (of Truffaut with Serge Toubiana , and of Godard), has has recently published (with Noel Herpe) a biography of Eric Rohmer also containing some previously unpublished texts by the critic/director. His other works include La Cinéphile. Invention d’un regard, histoire d’une culture. 1994-1968 (Paris, 2003).