I Walked with a Zombie

Translation by Inge Pruks

A list of film publications by Sylvie Pierre is at the end of this essay. Though it is far from complete, it provides those unfamiliar with Pierre’s work a good overview of the topics, films and directors she has written on. Alongside Raymond Bellour, Jean-Claude Biette and Patrice Rollet, Sylvie Pierre edits Trafic, a French film magazine founded in 1992 by Serge Daney.

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3 November

Femmes critiques ou critiques femmes

Dear Sylvie,

I’d like to interview you for Senses of Cinema on women critics or critics as women. We could do it by email if you agree.

Bill

* * *

Dear Bill,

Women critics or critics as women? Yes, why not?

Let’s do it by e-mail.

First I want to tell you by way of introduction to this transatlantic conversation that in my own eyes I have never felt very well defined by the idea of being a professional film critic, a profession I only exercised when I was very young and for a short period of time (four or five years of my life, between 1966 and 1971, that is to say between the ages of 22 and 27), when I worked in a permanent capacity at Cahiers du Cinéma, both as a critic – during which I enjoyed the privilege of the professionals’ free pass, which allowed me free admission to theatres – and also as the person responsible for their very impressive photothèque, which I administered enthusiastically. So I was in fact a ‘film critic’ there: I wrote things like “This film is good because…blablabla”. Or “That film is not good because…blablabla”. My texts, like those of my comrades at Cahiers, were analyses of films, oriented towards or structured by an argument, which was more or less explicitly either for or against the film.

However, the very mood which reigned at Cahiers at the time (Jean-Louis Comolli, who’s a director today, was editor-in-chief; it was he who laid down the law at Cahiers, but also Jean Narboni, who became a lecturer in film history; Jean André Fieschi, film director; Jacques Bontemps, lecturer in philosophy, and a few other very intelligent guys, whose common bond was PASSION for films and love for the directors), meant more or less that those who loved films spontaneously wrote on them in the magazine, unless editorial unanimity emerged against a film, particularly those which irritated us in being feted by too large a consensus. In any case, if the editorial board shared an opinion on such and such a film, or if a cherished film or filmmaker was regarded lukewarmly by some and passionately by the others, it was the passionate ones who were most often given the privilege of writing about it, for we knew that the writing would be more vibrant and therefore more interesting if the film had affected us more, whoever it was, because being affected creates knowledge, as Jean-Louis Schefer has said so well. Serge Daney often said that he felt himself to be a film “barrister” (his Jimmy Stewart side, the Stewart of Anatomy of a Murder), but we all had that tendency: Justice had to be rendered to films, and whether or not the films were mediated widely by the press, we were their barristers, sometimes quite on our own.: For certain press agents, the fact that a film was being defended by Cahiers (at that time, anyway), was a doubtful guarantee of its success. Thus each text would be a defence rather than an attack, and in any case the major, long texts (or interviews with directors) and what we called “the body of the issue” were always FOR rather than against the films.

I have very much internalised this deliberate GENEROSITY towards the cinema and its directors.

That does not at all mean that my early masters in criticism taught me to say yes to everything, or even yes to all the films I liked. Oh no! On the contrary, I learnt at Cahiers (once at my expense, and it was a hard and salutary lesson), when I had an article refused, the only one, on Claude Berri’s film The Old Man and the Child (1967), which I had defended with sentimental and infantile enthusiasm. It was most humiliating, but I understood that the stronger the feeling towards a film or director, whether positive or negative, the more you had to subject the work of speaking and especially writing about it to intelligence, structured argument and analytical rigour.

Nevertheless, and it is perhaps there that I might show my specifically feminine color, what I essentially retained from my period as full-time film critic – trying, as intelligently and with as much precision in argument as possible, to grapple with the question of the VALUE of a film – was above all that I was personally better in praising rather than condemning films.

To condemn films, to say they are bad, or shallow or slipshod, or immoral because of their commercial appeal, or unlikeable or stupid…whatever – I have never known how to do that. I’m bored by it and not very good at it. It literally does not interest me. It’s work, really hard work, very difficult, and it’s good that there are still critics who know how to do it (what’s more, there are fewer and fewer of them), but I do not wish to do that work.

So deep down I am not a real critic. Or whatever of the critic is in me only works at full capacity (I should say, to my best possible standard) in the initial preliminary choice of what to write about, which film, director or issue. I don’t write on all the films or directors that I like, far from it. But today, in any case, if I write about a film, it is because I like it.

So there, that’s what I wanted to say before beginning a conversation with you. I have no doubt been a bit wordy, but this preamble is important to me. And if you still want to interview me on ‘women-critics’, you should know that I would rather talk to you about this kind of work: to write for, not against. It is the ‘for’ which for me sketches the limits of the ‘against,’ because in writing about what I like, I learn what I don’t like, and the readers will perhaps guess what that is – but it isn’t a very interesting guessing game.

Sylvie

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9 November

The work

Dear Sylvie,

So what work do you need to do to speak well about a film you love? Evidently it has changed a lot in your case.

At the time when you were writing for Cahiers it had to go via interpretation, and curiously, this form of knowledge was not at all in contradiction with love.

I Clowns

Here’s proof: I was astonished by your critique of I Clowns (L’Homme au clowns, The Clown Man) (Federico Fellini, 1970), and when I saw the film I was overcome with uncontrollable laughter at the payoff of the first nocturnal sequence, so obvious was the metaphor (thanks to you), and I never stopped for the rest of the film. Of course, there’s nothing funny about what made me laugh (castration), but that was precisely the subject of the film: how to laugh about it. And instead of sticking in my throat, blocked by the understanding that your text had brought me, my laughter was reinforced by the way that the symbols of the film constantly alluded to the latent content, without being altogether transparent.

So in this precise case I can vouch that your work (very intellectual, psychoanalytic) communicated to me your love for Fellini and for this film, which remains my favourite film of his. Moreover, note that, since man-clown and woman-clown represent “two forms of castration,” we were able to share the joke!

That’s how I experienced this text. Now tell me how you wrote it, and how you have written so many other superb lover’s interpretative critiques – especially in the context of a rather intimidating political regime. I remember, for example, that a reader wrote a letter where that particular film was described as a pure product of bourgeois ideology (the bourgeois artist complaining about the destruction by the bourgeoisie of the values which the latter had itself created), and that it was published in the same issue. Not very funny, that letter…

Hoping that this interests you,

Bill.

* * *

Dear Bill,

Your written French is absolutely excellent, I am full of admiration. But as it is so excellent, I’ll be lazy and will talk with you in French from now on, if it is OK “with you,” as my Brazilian friends say: “Esta OK com você?” [These comments are in English and Portuguese in the e-mail. Trans].

Apart from that, I promise to pursue this weekend from my place (at the moment I’m in my office at the Environment Agency, to whom I owe my working hours) our fascinating conversation on the subject of women critics. That is to say, myself. Even though it has had a funny effect on me to hear you talking so touchingly about that text on I Clowns (my last text published before my long stay in Brazil, written at a time when I probably felt very cruelly the desire to go and see if I fitted in better elsewhere).

But I’ll continue tomorrow from my place.

Sincerely,
Sylvie.

* * *

Dear Sylvie,

An eight-year marriage with a French lady and also the one with Cahiers – it’s been 24 years now – have made me bilingual, despite the errors. Unfortunately, the marriage with Cahiers has proved to be the more lasting.

Your English isn’t bad either! I presume that goes for your Brazilian as well. You cannot know how much I love that country, but I don’t speak Brazilian – the interviews that I did for the documentary part of It’s All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles (Richard Wilson, Bill Krohn, Myron Meisel, 1993) were made possible by a hastily-assembled system of simultrans which depended on microphones, the radio (for their replies) and a translator on hand (for my questions) in order to make real conversation possible. The only place where we had problems was the Jangada Club in Fortaleza, because of the radios in the taxis which were cruising around in the rich district. Brazil is the country of the future, one whose greatness will come when our emerging empire is in pieces. Already the elections down there went off better than ours up here.

Hoping to hear from you soon,

Bill

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10 November

The work…and work

Dear Bill,

As far as manias are concerned, I am a Brazilomaniac, everybody knows: Deep down, it’s all biography, and my five continuous years in that country (1971-1976) – to which I return at every opportunity, the last time being 2000 – have left a deep mark on me. I love that country with a love I no longer even try to understand; this feeling is as much a part of me as the air I breathe. We will no doubt come back to this in our correspondence, because my stay in Brazil is such a fundamental influence on the very life of my writing.

Smorgasbord

But let us return to Fellini’s I Clowns: This film had in a sense terrorised me. Yes, lots of laughter, but it’s laughter which is a defence against whatever most frightens you. It’s perhaps the deepest wellspring of comedy, and many others have noticed it before me. From everything I’ve ever seen at the movies, nothing made me laugh more, for example, than the sequence from Smorgasbord, (aka Cracking Up, 1983) by Jerry Lewis (don’t protest too much if, as is usually the case with American friends, the French admiration for Jerry Lewis seems the most scandalous, perverse or retarded trait of our Gallic cinephilia) where Lewis goes to the psychoanalyst for the first time and finds himself so overcome that all the furniture of the consultation room – the floor, the armchair – begins not only to creak but also to slide and change its shape so as to almost melt, especially the armchair he’s sitting in for his first session, which begins to literally devour him, to swallow him, to make him disappear when he’s confronted with the almighty power of the analyst. I laughed at this scene so violently that I remember it physically; it was a violence that twisted my stomach, knotted my whole body with anguish, in an empathetic way, of course. And Fellini’s I Clowns had more or less the same effect on me.

At Cahiers people were quite obsessed by Marx and Freud during and after May ’68, it’s well known. So was I, like everybody in our little world, and I saw the Lacanian signifier and Freudian castration everywhere, as well as the class struggle. Rather than laugh retrospectively at our delirious little group and at my own delirium within the group (complicated and aggravated no doubt by being the only woman on the editorial staff at Cahiers, which also had its comic side because it forced me into a lot of narcissistic contortions in the midst of this group of men, who themselves had their egos all fired up by the May ’68 trip), I took this Marxist-Freudian theorising very seriously. After all that, after having written on a Japanese film by Masumura (Magnificent! It was Red Angel [1966], the story of a nurse in the Second World War, so devoted to the soldiers she’s looking after that she goes as far as masturbating with her own hands those who have lost use of their own, all done with a rare dignity), a text which was entitled (oh my God, what hutzpah!) “Japan/Castration,” and after that the text on Fellini that you mentioned…. After all that I had to get away, to go far away, to prove in a way that Freud and even Marx were right since there was “that, deep down in man” (the title of the book by Grodek [‘gros dek’, a pun on ‘awful’]), and in woman also – that is to say, the death drive, the anguish of castration, precisely, and also (in Brazil and in the third world, you could see it even more clearly) the rich and the poor, the dominant bourgeois ideology, the exploited proletariat, etc… I left so as to verify the truth of all that – oh the naivety, so very feminine: I went to frighten myself with my own castration no doubt (in Brazil one is not just a little macho!) and also to console myself, to get over it, to free myself.

All this to say – what else can I say? – that I wrote that article on I Clowns in the most intelligent of unconsciousnesses, in the most profoundly felt blindness about myself, blind to the point where I had to expose myself terribly, in the greatest comical pretension of the intellectual proving her intelligence about the theory with an utter and therefore laughable seriousness. But I was so SINCERE, pathetic in my seriousness no doubt, that all the same I must have touched on something not too false, which I’m proud of, finally, as to what is sublime in Fellini’s poetry – so Latin, and so haunted by female divinity. Fellini is of the same poetic essence as the very figure of the she-wolf of Rome. The suckling, which is both sublime and grandiose. Female trappings, disguises, the clown (in French we pronounce it as “cloon,” it’s so feminine), the one who is missing something, who suffers blows and hits back because someone’s cut it off him/her. Who was it, and what? Ah, it’s better to laugh about it, but this laughter comes from fear. Laugh to defend yourself. I laugh a lot to defend myself.

Beijos and love – Sylvie

P.S. It makes me feel quite bizarre to recall all that…such a moment of profound crisis in my life. My intelligence was fighting courageously, trying to understand the shapes (and Fellini is such a brilliant creator of shapes), but the “I” was not well, it was sick, exacerbated, conceited and lost. I only recall the last phrase of the paper because I remembered it one day with Serge Daney, who was telling me that everything we write is “true,” but in the autobiographical sense. And the last phrase of the Fellini paper was “Woman as fetish should not work.” Well, after that article, I had to work (like a dog!).

* * *

Bye Bye Cahiers

Dear Sylvie,

More background: Serge Daney was the first of the ‘Cahiers people’ that I met [in 1977], and the most important, but later I met nearly all my idols from this period of the journal – including you, finally, thanks to Claudine Paquot. Serge had already spoken to me of this extraordinary period in an interview that we did before we met. I thought a bit about his retrospective analysis, aiming above all to establish continuities – “It was a continuation of cinephilia by other means,” “We only deconstructed films which we loved” – when I read your e-mail about yourself, Cahiers, Fellini and…Red Angel.

Your way of speaking about the period between ’66 and ’71 to me seems less linear, more conflictual than Serge’s. You left, you say, both to test your ideas in an encounter with reality, and also to get rid of them – or perhaps to get rid of a certain way of speaking about those things, which you still believe in, as do I. But after all, Serge’s way of telling the “secret history” of that period of Cahiers was absolutely hilarious (Pakradouni’s departure, for example), and much later than you he, too, felt the need to leave Cahiers.

Now, I’m certain that your experience of Brazil during those five years of silence was very different from mine, even though we both knew certain people — David Neves and Rogerio Sganzerla, for example. Unless like me, you encountered magic down there, something that constitutes one of the main axes in my understanding of that country. I’m sure it’s possible, even for a Parisienne – especially a Parisienne who had written so well on I Walked with a Zombie!

Love and kisses,

Bill

* * *

13 November

Marcher avec les zombies

Dear Bill,

I laugh as I give a title to this message, which you will have to keep “in French in the text” and I hope that it will make you laugh, too. Our career as cinema critics – as well as both our lives, I suppose, because I like it very much when you talk to me about yourself – certainly must have seen us accompanied by many strange entities.

I’m glad to hear you speak about your Brazilian experience with It’s All True. I know our friend, Sganzerla, and I like it that with great Brazilian humour he transformed “It’s All True” into “Nem tudo é verdade” (difficult to translate: in French, a very analytical language: something like “It’s Not Exactly All True”. Trans.) in his film where he gives his own brilliant interpretation of Orson Welles’ Brazilian “trip.” Rogerio, whom I like, too, the last time that I saw him, in August 2000, had staged in the theatre with his wife Helena Ines Marguerite Duras’ play Savannah Bay – it was most impressive. However, I knew him less well than David Neves. I was passionate about David, an absolutely crazy love, as platonic and pure as crazy, an indescribable intensity. Yes, David, because of David, to rejoin David, I got to know the magic of Brazil. I don’t mean that I rushed off to take part in sessions of candomblé, umbanda, macumba as soon as I got to Rio, like a lot of French tourists (what imbeciles!), who immediately want to be shown “la favela, la macumba and the beautiful naked mulattos.” Oh no, the magic of Brazil is something much more profound – you must have noticed it. And what insight you show to have noticed that my article on Tourneur’s I Walked with…had in effect without my knowing it, of course, predestined me to understand something of Brazil. Unless it be the reverse: It’s because Brazil inhabited me already, virtually, because of Brazilian friends whom I already knew in Paris (Glauber Rocha; David Neves; Caca Diegues and his wife at the time, the great singer Nara Leao; Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, the actor Hugo Carvana and his wife Marta), that I could write “The beauty of the sea,” a text I’m most proud of – one of my favourites, in fact, even though it’s very short.

I Walked with a Zombie

And there we come back to a very serious matter, and to the question that you asked me: What I try to do when I write, as a critic, in order to speak of a film that I like – and I particularly adore I Walked with… I try to understand how the poetics function. Yes, I’m saying “function” in the formal and language-based sense of the term. That doesn’t mean to cool down the film and the emotion that it gave me by putting it into a laboratory or even onto a morgue table, in order to analyse it – the famous “dissection” procedure which is the reproach aimed (sometimes, it’s true, not without reason) at the very intellectualised French critical method “of the Cahiers type.” You have to try to find out – and I think that we did know how to do this very well at Cahiers at a certain time, in our best articles of course – how a director “does it” so that one no longer knows how he does it, how a director “does it” so that this way of doing it is unique, his own, not only his style, but his inimitable poetic being, his consistency as a poet (and as an auteur: For me it’s the same thing; the “politique des auteurs” in film criticism being the politics of poets, or the poetics of authors, as my friend Jean-Claude Biette said so well in his book of the same name). It’s very important: It’s not a question of finding the “gimmicks” of magic tricks, but of taking lessons in magic with the director so as to become, with him, much better than a professional magician – perhaps something like a conscious lover of magic’s strategies.

Now, Tourneur…the brilliant Tourneur…has a marvellous secret, exactly like the wonderful character of the woman doctor in the film under discussion: He knows how to use two methods of convincing his “patients,” which is to say his public, at the same time: Western, Cartesian, scientific-pragmatic rationality, and the other method, a different rationality – not “ir”-rational, as the Cartesians would have it stupidly, but founded on belief, instinct, fear or triumph over fear, imagination, the relationship with one or several divinities, symbols, fortunate or unfortunate chance happenings, miracles, and so on.

The woman doctor of the film, white of skin and culture, understands that she would not succeed in “rationally” convincing the West Indian women about the necessity of sterilising the babies’ bottles and their water, and so she acts like a voodoo priestess in order to give them instructions about hygiene… From the point of view of the script, the detail is a stroke of genius. Tourneur, as director – after all, here was someone whose origins were French – was also someone who used mystery in his directing, never to impose on the imagination of the spectator, but as a kind of acupuncture: the needles of his cinema are placed on the nerves where a mysterious influx will be created. It is in this genius that I see his poetics, and to “criticise” it is to dis-cern it, to dis-encircle it. To perceive it directly. That’s how I like to do criticism.

Much love,
Sylvie Pierre.

P.S. I have to go to P.O.L straightaway: a second volume (enormous!) of writings by Serge Daney – La Maison Cinéma et le Monde II – is going to come out in the bookshops and we are celebrating the event this evening. All his articles from the Libération era (1980).

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15 November

The Great Silence

Dear Sylvie,

Let’s continue. The years spent in Brazil were, at least compared to Cahiers (a magazine which was itself going through an “aphasic” period in relation to cinema), a period of silence. I don’t know what work you did down there, but unless I’m mistaken it wasn’t as a film critic. Then slowly when you returned you again took up that trade. You wrote for example an article on Holocaust (TV production from 1978) whose premises would nourish your writings on television for Trafic 20 years later, and a series of articles on Brazilian cinema which started with an article on Bye Bye Brasil (Carlos Diegues, 1979), where all of a sudden – and it’s stated in the article – your writing was no longer the same at all.

After, you dedicated yourself to a defence of Brazilian cinema, culminating in a book on Glauber Rocha, which was not just an act of love (as is the case for any worthwhile critic according to you), but also the counterpart of the Brazilian generosity that Glauber Rocha had embodied for you, as you said in the impassioned eulogy you wrote for Cahiers.

After the silence came a feeling of duty, which had not been evident in your writing even during the superego-ridden period that followed 1968. Duty towards friends, duty towards a country. In rereading some of these articles I see that this defence and this (parsimonious) description of the Cinema Novo took the form of a negative theology. How to speak of Brazil and its cinema? By saying that it’s not folklore, not exoticism, nor political didacticism, nor third-worldism, by proffering analogies, by trying above all to write differently.

It seems to me that, in a way, you have never spoken of Brazil, at least of the experience which transformed you, making possible at the same time the third period of your work as a critic, the Trafic period.

Dammit!

Bill

* * *

16 November

The Great Silence Speaks

Dear Bill,

So basically, I have to tell you my life story. You ask me such fundamental questions, about the changes that mark out the main periods of my biography, that it becomes difficult! I’m going to launch into it without thinking too much about it or, as you say, “superego-ing,” at the risk of being a bit disordered.

It’s funny that you should use the term ‘great silence’ for my period of living in Brazil. Let’s say that this silence was inhabited by the beauty and intensity of the experience, so strong that it also made me ‘speak’ a great deal, in the sense of a process of analysis, which is certainly done with words, but which passes through a fundamentally symbolic level, the level of discourse, of expression.

First I’ll try and tell you why I went to Brazil and not elsewhere: because of cinema, of course. So you could say that the decision arose, in a certain roundabout way, from being a film critic, since I went towards a country whose cinema interested me. I went to Brazil, unconsciously of course, as a radical follower of Bazin, implicitly trusting that Brazilian cinema, insofar as it was a great cinema, was the reflection of a great country. The old idea of cinema being the mirror of the world. Veronica’s veil placed on the face of an immense Christ (under-development). You will tell me that for the same reasons (great/beautiful cinema = great/beautiful country) I could have wanted to go into no matter what other country which, especially during the ’60s and ’70s, exported great films or great directors: Italy or Czechoslovakia or Hungary or Japan or India…Yes, I could have…but no I couldn’t have. I needed something else, which had as much to do with the spoken language as another more intimate language, half way between mother and father – as it happened, the Portuguese language.

Since childhood I have always been in love with the Portuguese language, from Portugal, which I didn’t understand at all, but whose very sound I adored. That way of hushing the ‘s’ sound, of swallowing everything in the word, all the vowels, except for the one in the accentuated syllable… who knows why, I adored that. And the soul, the heart of the ‘fado,’ this strange enthusiasm for depression, and this gentle and heart-rending pleasure in the expression of nostalgic suffering (I didn’t yet know that it was called ‘saudade,’ or if I had heard the word, I did not understand it but I experienced its charm), everything which was so profoundly expressed by the singer Amalia Rodriguez, whom I used to hear as a child on the radio: I loved Portuguese passionately. And without understanding them, phonetically, I was fascinated by the words ‘Lisboa, tu es Portuguesa, nao seja Francesa.'(It’s crazy, when you think about what that actually means.)

Also, at Cahiers, I loved Portugal itself, the country: We had a memorable Cahiers Week in Portugal (under Salazar) in 1969. I got to know cultural fascism on this occasion. During that week we were supposed to show, amongst others, Resnais’ Night and Fog (1955) and Godard’s Weekend (1967). We were literally forbidden to project either in public: Portugal rigorously prohibited the least reference in public or in film to fascism, on the one hand, and on the other to the tiniest idea of ‘pornography’ (and Godard’s Weekend, probably because of the scene with the body of the woman cut up, or else quite simply because it was Godard, was considered subversive and pornographic).

So I adore Portugal and my Portuguese friends: Paul Rocha and Alberto Seixas Santos. The Portuguese are the flower of Europe. And for me (I think that such things count), if you’re going to move, it’s in the good direction, the SOUTH and the WEST. I love the south and the west. The north and the east, I’m not sure about. It’s not reasoned, it’s visceral. The east is associated with the German Nazi; I will never go to Germany, they are damned, I cannot, and I don’t even want to change my opinion. Literally, the Nazis have damned their land. As for the north, it’s beautiful, but it suggests cold and I am afraid of the cold, so I don’t go there much either. And that’s how, via the cinema (Cinema Novo, at the end of the ’60s of course) I connected myself by means of the Imaginary, and via the Real of friendships (but our real friendships are also imaginary), to the super south/super west, more south and more west than Portugal, but in the right direction for travel, discovery and fate (o fado=fatum=fate): From Portugal which I already loved, I came to connect with Brazil. It was irresistible, I’m off, I run, as soon as things go badly for me. And in ’71, things were bad. Castration was hurting. My marriage with Aumont was going badly; one of my best friends (Anne Thoraval) committed suicide in the most atrocious conditions on the 15 August 1971. Cahiers and all our militant leftist hysteria… I’m hurrying here, it’s all very complicated, contradictory and even ‘dialectical’: At the same time I adored the Cahiers, my friends from Cahiers, Jean Narboni, Jean-Louis Comolli, and I shared in most of the militant excesses of the magazine. But finally, after all, Cahiers began to irritate me, bother me, and oppress me in a bizarre way because I was a woman. Because even though I was respected I was very subtly patronised, in particular as soon as it was a matter of expressing political opinions. All that…I’m sure you understand. So, to cut it short, I felt bad, bad and re-bad, I had to go and live elsewhere – TO LIVE, and to rethink everything about my relationship to politics as well as to my own subconscious. (We were all Marxist-Freudian at Cahiers, but nobody went into analysis; Marxist but very bourgeois, even petit-bourgeois; theoretical, but not very robust. In fact, as far as science or philosophy was concerned…)

OK, so I left on 20 November 1971, initially with no plan but to pursue my profession as cinema critic upon my arrival in Brazil (well, two months after my arrival), as “Sylvie Pierre, cinema critic at Cahiers” – and God knows that in Brazil the label weighed heavily upon me, given the mythology which surrounded the name of Cahiers. For three months I conducted an indescribable course at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio on ‘Eisenstein’s Cinema and Montage’.

That’s when the shake-ups started coming…

* * *

18 November

Dear Sylvie,

Glauber Rocha

I don’t want to stop the thoughts that are ripening over the weekend about your long residence in Brazil, so I’ll just mention the consequences I noticed from a distance when you returned: a style that was much more syntactically playful, the deployment of a rich vocabulary which had been restricted out of respect for the Cahiers house style, unexpected humorous touches waiting at every turn of the argument, la politique des auteurs replaced by la politique d’amis (“the policy/politics of friends”), the death of “political correctness,” in the form of passages in praise of prostitution in the films of Carlos Diegues and others, the defense of poetic “license” and all the controversial behavior that may accompany it (in particular on the part of Glauber Rocha), the partial rehabilitation of Brazil’s chanchadas and even its television melodramas, the very non-Foucauldian art of biography (which you practiced marvellously on Rocha, but also later, through director stand-ins, on the lives of Cezanne and Van Gogh), and timidly, in small steps (during the Trafic years), your own autobiography.

The diaspora of the Cahiers people of the last Golden Age saw various changes of profession, but you are the only one, as far as I know, who changed her writing. Brazil had to have something to do with that. In my case, never having danced in my life, I spent my first night there dancing for six hours straight in a “school of the samba” (no aches and pain the next day – the magic of Brazil); my roommate here in Los Angeles for six months before her death was the Umbanda priestess who had officiated at my marriage, and even today I perform little ceremonies in the sea when I can: all changes for which my Cartesian-Puritan education had not predestined me. But I still write the way I wrote when I was in college – a little better, I hope, but not differently. Changing one’s writing, for a writer, is like changing one’s skin, and that’s what you did in Brazil. How?

A big hug,

Bill

* * *

23 November

Too serious, and not serious enough

Dear Bill,

The Brazil experience was a reality shock for me. Deep down, that’s what I went looking for, and I can say that I got everything I wanted and more.

Broadly speaking, with the hindsight of time (I lived continuously in Brazil between 1971 and 1976 – three years in Rio, and two years in Brasilia – and since then I have returned for stays of different duration a good 20 times), I can say that what I learned in Brazil was to re-evaluate the question of seriousness. As a broad generalisation: I became much more serious about questions of reality, and much more tolerant regarding questions of ideas, as soon as ideas, thoughts, analyses, reasoning and theories TAKE ACCOUNT OF REALITIES. And by reality I mean history and geography, anthropology, economy, psychology, psychoanalysis, body and soul, humanity’s affects and constraints. In short, humanity’s humanity. I do not mean “humanism” (which would take us back to the unreal), but a real humanity, a community (or exclusion) of human beings, breathing, eating, thinking, loving in certain precise and real conditions, etc. Try and imagine how I arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1971 during the full military dictatorship (the end of the presidential mandate of the abominable Guarrastazu Medici, of sinister memory in Brazil; then there was Ernesto Geisel from ’74 onwards, and this Geisel was much more intelligent and open than the awful fascist Medici). So anyway, I arrive, fresh from all that post-’68 Parisian leftist effervescence (nicely protected by French democracy and the prosperity of those years), I arrive from a milieu of intellectuals where the communists of the French Communist Party were considered frightful “deviationists” or even straight-out right-wing traitors by the Mao-Trotsky leftists – I was very much like these people and I frequented them. So I arrive in a country where everything which was in any way left-wing (including and especially the communists) was suspect, spied upon and very often openly arrested, persecuted, tortured, terrorised, kept in prison, stopped from working, etc. So the first thing that I learned was that a leftist political option was not something you talked about or declared, verbally or in writing, but rather a real commitment which carried risks for your freedom, your moral or physical wholeness.

Here is a significant anecdote which will give you an idea of the climate which prevailed at that time in Brazil. Ideological censorship (especially after ’68, which aggravated the dictatorship of the generals in power since ’64) cruelly affected the press, music (Chico Buarque de Holanda, Caetano Veloso and the others: half their songs were banned outright), and the cinema, of course. It was something so heavy, so menacing, the police were everywhere to “watch closely and punish” as Michel Foucault would say, that all of us became completely paranoid, and often with good reason. (You know: “Even paranoids have enemies.”) So that’s how it was. And a few weeks after my arrival, which is to say early 1972, I was supposed to teach a course on Eisenstein at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro, which housed the Cinémathèque as well as some editing and sound equipment for film. So I had to first show films by SME (Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein) to students who had chosen to pay (quite a large sum moreover) to hear “Sylvie-Pierre-from-Cahiers-du-Cinéma”. That is to say, something very exciting for the local carioca imagination: You’re familiar with that, you know how Orson Welles upon arriving in Rio excited the local cultured, worldly cariocas [inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro, trans]. Not that I’m comparing myself to such a grand personage, but there is in Brazilians, especially the cariocas, a great thirst for exotic phenomena which are linked to “outside” mythologies. So there I was, and putting all modesty aside, I arrived like a small phenomenon, and I was expected on the one hand to conform to the mythology of Cahiers du Cinéma, which I was supposed to represent (super-cultured, sure of myself, rational, quotable, a pompous disagreeable little upstart, and what’s more French in style and in looks, sexy, perfumed, elegant, what can I say…), and on the other hand I also had to meet an expectation whose very subtle dangers I understood straightaway: I was supposed to deliver an INTELLIGENTLY PROGRESSIVE message. That is to say, I was not there to openly give lessons on Marxism and Leninism (as we were doing at Cahiers during that period) because I would have quickly found myself in prison or been exposed to the worst kinds of problems. But so as not to betray the confidence that my Brazilian friends had in me and my role of representing Cahiers (in particular Carlos Diegues, who had found me this teaching job, helped by David Neves and by the then director of the MAM Cinémathèque, the late Cosme Alves Neto), I had to give a course on “Eisenstein and montage” which would really make students of cinema or future directors or future workers in cinema understand that form in cinema, and montage in particular, was of crucial importance and carried an ideological value, was an ACTION, an extraordinary means of persuasion through the articulation of the language. Or still more modestly, by looking closely at the work of a brilliant director caught in the circumstances of the Soviet revolution, I was there to teach that you could take his work seriously enough to glean from it the pure and simple idea that cinema was something other than diversion and entertainment. And also that to have “an idea in your head and a camera in your hand,” according to Glauber Rocha’s famous saying which has been used too often to summarise or caricature the “Cinema Novo,” required a real idea and a real camera, that it was not a recipe for pure cinematic improvisation.

The problem was that the Brazilians in charge of censorship as well as the police had in fact understood very well that Eisenstein’s films carried an ideological message which they hated and, even if they couldn’t formulate it in these terms, that there was in the montage dynamics of his silent films a force which was liable to inflame crowds and lead them to a communist revolution, which is the hysterical obsession of neighbouring North America as regards South America, especially since the Cuban revolution of 1958. Deep down, these military people were amazing in their belief in the undeniable objective force of cinematic art as a means of militant action. Consequently, the military had already long ago banned the public showing of Battleship Potemkin when I began my course. It was impossible to show it to the students. When the course began, I could only show Strike and October from the silent period. The projection of Strike began in a darkened room of the Cinémathèque. A Russian copy (magnificent), without translation of the inter-titles. With a pedagogical goodwill towards any situation (I speak very little Russian, but I knew the film very well), I began to translate the inter-titles for the public of the Cinémathèque, amongst whom were also my students. And I said in Portuguese (I learnt it very quickly down there, it was vital for me), “Here we have policemen disguised as workers, who are coming to spy on the strikers and to arrest them.”

And with that – oh my God, I will never forget that moment – the very kind man who showed the public into the room of the Cinémathèque came quietly up to me in the dark and said: “Dona Sylvia, don’t say another word, the police are in the room!”

Strike

A shiver of intense physical terror shot up my spine. I can still feel it in my back, an absolutely violent sensation, it took my breath away. Of course I fell silent for the rest of the projection of Strike, asking myself apprehensively what on earth could be happening. Well, it was a tragicomedy whose scenario I only understood retrospectively from what my friends told me. The Brazilian military police had decided that finally, after thinking it over, Eisenstein’s films Strike and October were just as subversive as Battleship Potemkin if not more so. So without warning, and even though the films were programmed and announced to the public (which included my students), they dispatched two cops to come and seize the prints at the Cinémathèque. But true to Carioca form (the Sao Paulists are much more punctual, it’s well-known, than the inhabitants of Rio, who push their fanciful ideas about exact time to the most metaphysical heights, saying: “Whatever has to happen will happen in its own good time”), the two policemen arrived late, when the projection of Strike had already begun, and the showing of October was supposed to follow. One of them had begun to negotiate with the Director, asking him to stop the projection. But Cosme, much like Henri Langlois, had the unshakeable self-esteem of his profession and a lot of courage. He said to the cops: “No way. A projection has started, and I will not stop it in the middle of a film, under any pretext whatsoever. You can seize the first film and the second if you insist, but during the interval between the two projections.” The other cop had posted himself in the room, posing as a spectator, a bit like in Eisenstein’s film, and he must have found it funny to hear me confirm the completely “politically incorrect” nature of this film about communists, while the first cop was having this strained conversation with Cosme. And of course I knew nothing of this as I talked about the Czarist police and its manipulation of repression as though it was a well-known fact, well-established historically and culturally, basically as though it was nothing unusual: Even the most left-wing amongst us, when we came to see Eisenstein’s films at the Paris Cinémathèque, did not leave the projection carrying machine guns!

So of course you know where I’m heading with this story. (I’d have hundreds of other stories to tell you concerning the shock which was Brazil.) After going through that, one takes the seriousness of language quite differently. Language is the most serious thing in the world: One word can kill, can cause to be killed, or save. Imagine if the kind gentleman at the Cinémathèque, who I remember was called “Taurinho” – it was his nickname, “Little Bull” – if he had not told me to stop talking…

And me, what if I had got up and started to yell out, “You bastards! You will not succeed in gagging this great immortal and revolutionary masterpiece! Down with fascism,” and so on. Not only would that have brought me a lot of headaches – and my physical courage has its limits, I assure you – but I would have cast a bad light on the Cinémathèque and the friends who had welcomed me.

Thus, one has to be modest when faced with tragedy; you have to laugh, when you can. Reality is always a dialectic. If the cops left with Strike and October under their arms, relegating the copies for years into who knows what kind of police cellars, deep down, it’s because they believed in the power of cinema. Maybe we almost ought to embrace them.

You told me, with great subtlety, that when I came back from Brazil my style had changed. It’s true, you are completely right. Brazil taught me to laugh. For me the comic is the height of intelligence. It is the Brazilians’ intelligence which makes them laugh. Of course I love the chanchadas [musical comedies, Trans.]. Of course I have replaced the ‘politique des auteurs’ by the ‘politics of friends’: Ah, how much I feel myself to be a friend of John Ford whom I have never met, and no doubt fortunately for me. Glauber Rocha would say to me: “My friendships are not psychological, they are epic.” I find this statement fantastic. You do exaggerate a bit when you say that I wrote a panegyric of prostitution in Diegues: Not really, I don’t remember that, but perhaps I’ve forgotten. There are paths you have to walk, and as was said by Georges Brassens (a brilliant French popular musician, exquisitely refined in his music and his poetry, as you know, I’m sure): “You don’t wiggle your ass in the same manner/For a bishop, a sexton or a gate-keeper.”

Ah, what a pleasure it is to talk to you! I hope you don’t mind that our conversation is taking on its own rhythm, in all the senses of the word. I am far from telling you everything about Brazil. But I would find it hard to tell you everything, the mental revolution was so profound.

I very much liked what you said about your dancing for 6 hours upon arriving in Brazil, and no aches and pains. Of course there is a purely muscular tonicity in this country. We could, but it’s perhaps a bit irrelevant, exchange grand thoughts on the moral and religious revolution that is brought on by Brazil. In my case, I’ll tell you that in a bizarre way I on the contrary discovered puritanism. One day, Glauber’s mother, at whose place I stayed for the first three months of this five-year stay, said to me “nao se engana a Deus” (“You cannot fool God”). That’s so very American, South as well as North, it seems to me. Besides, Madame Rocha was a Baptist. So, I also learnt about puritanism by going to Brazil. Another story.

Beijos e saudade
Sylvie

* * *

29 November

What about Braudel?

Dear Sylvie,

I bring up the name of Fernand Braudel because you told me something I didn’t know about him: that he taught in Brazil. That struck me because the whole time we were filming at Fortaleza, among the jangadeiros [fishermen of northeast Brazil, Trans.], I was reading the magnificent book by Jacques Ranciere, Les mots de l’histoire (The words of history). For me it was the inspiration for the documentary we were shooting – the one which was not able to be finished, even though we did complete a provisional montage of it – on Welles AND the jangadeiros. Of course I am not the first documentary filmmaker who was inspired by the work of Braudel (interpreted in this case by a powerful theorist of political science), but I was astonished to learn that Braudel had lived in Brazil, and happy to learn that you are interested in him. Because his theories could be one connecting thread between your Brazilian period and that which followed, first in Cahiers and then in Trafic.

I do not know whether this influence is really to be found in ”Le four banal” (“The Banal Oven”), but in any case I can tell you that your defence of Holocaust made an impression on me. For a year after its appearance in Cahiers I completely stopped going to the movies so as to watch only telefilms. Eventually Daniele Dubroux, Serge Le Peron and I interviewed our televisual “four aces” – William Graham, Joseph Sargent, Lamont Johnson, Abby Mann – for Cahiers.

Perhaps “Le four banal” was a re-reading of Braudel and the cinema after all, and your amendment to everything that had been written in Cahiers on Cinema and History in your absence. A television melodrama on the Holocaust (Sam Fuller complained that the extras were not dirty enough, because of the budget!) that you dared to defend (with the help of Godard), without suspecting that it would be crushed six years later by the weight of the very Braudelian Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985), a film which would like to replace all other possible and imaginable films on the subject. The cheek [culot] of the guy! (And what cheeks [culottes: underpants]! An actress with whom I saw Shoah pointed out to me that even though the film was morally irreproachable on all levels, the director/lead had committed the rather serious sin for a film actor of VPL: “Visible Panty Line”.)

After, you kept at it, but in Trafic. Not so much in your exchange with Pierre Leon on Schindler’s List, where you continued to brandish Holocaust as a good counter-example of non-Braudelian (not “anti”-Braudelian) cinema, but in your texts on television, where Braudelian historicity comes through in spite of the media machinery which has been put in place to permanently suffocate it – through the presence of extras who are there to fill up the background in the CNN reports on the war in Bosnia, if I’ve correctly understood that article, or through a Portuguese report on the referendum for or against abortion which reeked of “portugalosity” for a certain foreign viewer. (Even if the physical presence of Braudel in Brazil has only anecdotal significance in your relationship to his work, I imagine that your experience as a foreign television viewer of Brazil’s Globo-isation between ’71 and ’76 must have taught you quite a lot about the science of finding small truths in a mountain of crap.)

Your defence of films on the Painter also seems to me to come from a theory of history which is not classically Marxist: for example, Van Gogh played by Kirk Douglas as the incarnation to the second power of the idea of the Great Man; then your evocation of Putin as more Fieldsian than W.C. at the end of your first “Journal televisee.” This thread seems to me, finally, to take us to the heart of your paradoxical article on 9/11 on television, which starts with those Events in order to finally praise, sadly, of course, their capacity to “summon up all the structure and the density of history from which they emanate.”

Perhaps I am wrong in wishing to link texts which are so distant from each other and so diverse in their aims to a thematic of “dialectical Braudelism”, but it seems that in the television articles, for example, you are looking for something more than the old feelings of cinephilic pleasure, rediscovered on the small screen. That is to say, you have not stopped being fascinated by historiography. Me too, by the way – it’s fascinating.

On the other hand, I don’t like television any more. For years I haven’t had it at home, and when Olivier Joyard woke me up to tell me about the terrorist attacks, I had to connect the “rabbit-ears” to see, through a tempest of cathode-ray snow, the anti-triumphalist remake of Empire which proved that they had really taken place. I waited until an admiral with the very Fieldsian name of Stufflebeam had uttered the first flagrant lie – that the Air Force had not shot down flight 93 – before re-disconnecting it, and that’s how things have remained, because the Internet and the radio are enough for me to contemplate the ever more sinister consequences which were unfortunately foreseeable 5 minutes after Olivier’s phone call.

OK, I’m talking only about myself and doing it much too much. It’s because I want to prolong this pleasant dialogue with my first French pen pal (French people are allergic to e-mail, you know), but do I feel that “The End” will not be long in coming now. This will be MY LAST QUESTION.

Your turn,

Bill.

* * *

30 November

Dear e-pen pal,

Well, well, what an amazing e-mail full of very multifaceted questions you have just sent me… But finally, you twine things around a subject (in the double sense of “about something specific and about a somebody made of flesh and bones” [quote in English in the text, Trans.] I cherish, that is to say, Fernand Braudel.

In fact I have never known (I shall try to inform myself on this) exactly how long Braudel stayed in Brazil. All I know is that his sojourn took place around 1930, that he intended to create with Claude Levi-Strauss (or maybe decided subsequently to do so) a department of “Human Sciences” at the University of Sao Paulo. I know this department was in fact created, and it would be very interesting to know with which Brazilian intellectuals of the time (probably very brilliant ones, such as Paulo Prado or Sergio Buarque de Holanda). What fascinates me in any case is that Braudel should say retrospectively of his time as a young teacher, and therefore as a young man, “It’s in Brazil that I became intelligent.” Of course, I have always been tempted to appropriate this phrase; and I repeat it to whoever will listen – that’s how much I like it and how much it speaks to me.

So here is my completely personal idea of what could have fascinated Braudel in Brazil to the extent of affecting his understanding of history: On the scale of such a vast country, which is so obviously founded on a civilisation of cross-breeding, which very cross-breeding complicates the colonial origin of the nation, and the chronology of its relationship to this colonial past, under climate cycles which have nothing to do with the European climate system, which in my opinion has a profound importance on the very perception of historical time, a historian coming out of the famous ‘Ecole des Annales’ (a disciple of Marc Bloch and Lucien Fêbvre) couldn’t help but be led, I am sure, to understand in vivo how much history needs both geography as well as all the other human sciences. The French, even the most intelligent of them, are all a bit cretinous about being obsessed, even if unconsciously, by a personalist notion of power, and a centralist notion of the State, which implies the conception of History as a succession of powers embodied by great figures, and of great dates denoting the taking on or the loss of power, changes of regime, and so on. How impossible not to notice in a country such as Brazil (Lévi-Strauss and Braudel must have argued), that the time of the Indians is not the same as the time of the industrialists and bankers of Sao Paulo, or that of the unfortunates of the Nordeste – lack of synchronicity between the human groups that you’d find in many other countries, finally – but also that this country of what I would call multiple human velocities, exists also in the horizontal stream, and actually also in the multidimensional, multi-combining and combinable, in multiple systems of thought. Brazil makes you intelligent because it juggles with all thoughts, all systems of logic, including those which are not her own and which come from elsewhere. It’s a country – as you must have noticed when you shot your film on the fabulous subject of the Wellesian adventure – where as a matter of fact everything can be true, which does not lead you to a simple relativisation of truth systems (when it’s relative, truth is no longer very true), but a metaphysic enriched by several kinds of physics, and a thousand ways of going beyond. OK, sorry, here I’m getting involved in a slippery slope. I’ll have to write a book – you’re stirring up my enthusiasm to do so again.

Shoah

Let’s come back to what you’re telling me about yourself, what you’re asking me about myself, and the combination of the two. I like your mixing of the two, but that doesn’t make it easy for me to reply because I’ve lost track of the question or questions, or else you ask me too many questions or questions which are too difficult, but it’s fun in any case to talk together without interrupting the conversation with a logic other than the one we use in life.

Lanzman and “his” Shoah: Oh yes, how I am both in agreement with this magnificent film, and irritated by its pretension in banning all others, in particular fictional ones (even though we know that if he didn’t have that pretension, the film, which is upheld by it, couldn’t have been made). The television series Holocaust (I wrote about it, thank you for remembering, and I’ve forgotten the name of the director, not by chance, even though I have a high regard for this telefilm) – deep down I was grateful to him for defusing in advance the Lanzman interdiction. And why couldn’t we have had a story, including therein a fictional, arranged element, of a family “under” the Shoah. There is the French Armenian Henri Verneuil who made a very fine film “of fiction” on the Armenian genocide-I shall try to find you the title. I don’t know whether Holocaust and Schindler’s List are films of older history and whether Shoah in contrast is as you say a “Braudelian” film. It’s interesting to ask questions in this way. To tell you the truth, I don’t even know whether, as an historian, Braudel himself ever posed the question about the Shoah (or about “the extermination of the Jews of Europe,” to use the terms of a classic American historian). Perhaps you know. It would interest me enormously to find out.

As far as I’m concerned, what I know, and that is all I can tell you, is that a profound constant, perhaps a single real coherence in my work as, let’s call it writer on the cinema (movie writer? No, that’s no good…writer about cinemacinematowriter… um…um…from bad to worse, but you know what I mean, and I couldn’t care less if they called me “cine-fille”), a coherence, then, which is my own difficult coherence – because coherence never ceases to elude me in life, and I run after it – is the question of History. It appears that American feminists have discussed the very notion of history, or rather the signifying (rather than signified) unconscious of this word, claiming that it would be better to say “her story” than “his-story”.

It’s amusing. As far as feminism is concerned (another question of History), it’s both my cause and my consequence. I don’t care about it, and yet it’s very important. It’s not very important for me, and yet it’s essential. I have never fought for it, and yet without my mother, daughter of peasants from the central mountain ranges who in 1925 studied Philosophy at the university (I don’t know if you can imagine the courage it took to do it!), and without my grandfather, a horseback gendarme who in about 1910 was dismissed from the force (he was a freemason and a libertarian, and a sympathiser with the 1870 Commune) because he had refused to charge striking coal miners in the south of France… so, anyway, without this history, and like everybody, without this history which makes History, without this complex fabric of humanity, woven from geographical, familial, social and cultural threads, not forgetting economics of course, where like you I belong, well, we wouldn’t now be in the process of exchanging e-mail, because although I wouldn’t be a nothing or a no one, I surely wouldn’t be a writer on cinema.

All is History, all is history. Dialectical Braudelism, I like that. In fact, it’s pretty good. If I write some Memoirs one day, it will be an exercise in dialectical Braudelism. Thank you for giving a name to my method, practised very deliberately but also very instinctively. How to transmit a little History and Geography – yes, that’s what interests me.

I’ve always thought, and I’m saying this without coyly opting for paradox (the common ground where everyone meets – that’s not bad either: That’s why I have a weakness for television), I’ve always thought that finally Marxism very much lacked the dialectical spirit. Even though it was Marxism which invented the notion of “dialectical materialism.” But what do we do with everything else that’s not “material”? How can materialism REALLY be dialectical? It can’t. You need the divine after all, don’t you think? If you leave man at the mercy of man to find his ideal (yes, his IDEAL), you may as well say you’re encouraging man to become a wolf for his fellow man, which leads straight to the goulag. You have to be more dialectical than “dialectical materialist.”

Well, well, I’m going to miss this if our conversation ends here.

Affectionately,

Sylvie Pierre

* * *

Cahiers du cinéma

The Round Up (Jancsó)
I Walked with a Zombie. La beaute de la mer
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:
L’heure juste
The Ambushers
Tony Rome
Ningen no joken
La streghe:
La sorcellerie a travers les ages
Boom
Up the Down Staircase
Le temps deborde
(Interview with Jacques Rivette)
L’amour fou: Le film sans maitre
Le dur desir de durer
Adieu l’ami
Faces:
Autour du vide
La Nuit infidele
Un epais manteau de sang
The Money Order
Galileo
Das Schloss
Wild in the Streets
Tell Me Lies

Huit fois deux
Summit
Les Deserteurs
Nostra signori dei turchi
Ballade pour un chien
L’enfance nu
Kierion
Phedre
The Premature Burial
The Master of the House, Ordet
(Annotated Filmography of Dreyer)
Charles Bitsch: pudeur et mystere
The Detective
L’Ete du lion
The Tomb of Ligeia

Interview with Walerian Borowcyck
L’ile Borromee
L’Amour fou
La Vie, l’amour, la mort

Montage (Round table)
Interview with Louis Malle (presentation)
Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel
Ogon no Tozuku
La voie lactee
and Simon del desierto: Les Deux colonnes
The Legend of Lylah Clare
The Stalking moon
La Primera carga al machete
Model Shop

Encounter with Subrata Mitra
King, Murray
Un film
Corri, uomo, corri
La ragazza con la pistola

Interview with Marco Ferreri
Interview with Nagisa Oshima
Once Upon a Time in the West: Clio vieille
Chacun son chemin
Sabata
Patton
Tristana:
Les deux colonnes (continued)
Japon/castration
Interview with Susumu Hani
The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show
Interview with Carlos Diegues
Elements pur une theorie du photogramme
I Clowns: L’Homme aux clowns

[Living in Brazil from 1972 to 1976]

L’Execution du traitre a la patrie Ernest S.
Holocauste:
Le four banal
A force on s’habitue
Bye Bye Brazil:
Des douleurs des uns et du bonheur des autres
Glauber Rocha par coeur, de tete et dans un corps
Les bresiliens a Nantes: Triangles et trafics
Pedro de Andrade: Joaquim le majeur, et les autres
Dignes, ce festival
Carlos Verreza: La troisieme homme
Les chemins de la liberte: Interview with Nelson Pereira dos Santos
Glauber Rocha pourquoi?
Le cinema bresilien a Beaubourg: Zut aux exoticophiles!

Book: Glauber Rocha, Editions Cahiers du Cinema, 1985

Trafic (incomplete)

Le mystere et la vie passionee (Issue No. 1)
Le monde d’Ozu ou l’empire de la decence (Issue No. 4)
La passion d’etre un autre (Issue No. 5)
A mes parents (Issue No. 17)
Le violon de Rothschild (Issue No. 20)
Journal televisee (Issue No. 29)
Journal televisee (?)
Echange entre Pierre Leon et Sylvie Pierre sur La Liste de Schindler (?)
Lettre aux amis du Bresil (Issue No. 36)
Rio Daney Bravo (?)
Ce dieu qui benissent les uns benirait-il les autres? (Issue No. 40)

About The Author

Bill Krohn is the author of Hitchcock au travail (1999), available in English as Hitchcock at Work (Phaidon Press, 2000). He has also been the Hollywood correspondent for Cahiers du Cinéma since 1978.