Nº 1 PROGRAMMING / MONTAGE
The Cinémathèques and the History of Cinema
On a Screening of Ozu
FILMS UNDER DISCUSSION. INTERVIEWS
ABSTRACTIn this interview (realised in collaboration with Olaf Möller), Alexander Horwath takes Jean-Luc Godard's text 'Les Cinémathèques et l’histoire du cinéma' (1979) and his film Histoire(s) du cinéma (1988–98) as a point of departure to discuss: programming as a form of comparative cinema; the Cinémathèques as a place of production; different forms of criticism and writing on film; spatial vs. temporal (or consecutive) comparison; video as a tool to create a form different to cinema itself; programming as a form of historiography in the context of a Cinémathèque; and different programming methods (examples discussed include Peter Kubelka's programme «Was ist Film» [What is Film?] or Horwath's own programme for documenta 12 in Kassel in 2007). Finally, Horwath discusses the 1984 Congress of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), celebrated in Vienna and dedicated to 'non-industrial' films; the existence of an 'ethical-realist' critical tradition in France vis-à-vis the 'experimental' tradition; the role of the most important film-makers of the Austrian avant-garde in relation to the Austrian Film Museum in 1968; the work of film curator Nicole Brenez; and the so-called 'expanded cinema', which he distinguishes from current museum practices or the new digital formats that prevail today.
ABSTRACTJean Narboni considers a film programme that took place at the Cinémathèque Française in 1981 and which commemorated the 30th anniversary of the film journal Cahiers du cinéma, of which he was editor-in-chief from 1964 to 1972. The programme enables him to trace the history of the journal in relation to the social and political context in France: the creation of the Auteur theory, the increasing political radicalisation of the 1960s and 70s, and the progressive end of this era, marked by the film programme here discussed. In the programme, Narboni identifies the main ideological and critical tendencies that characterised the journal and the changes in critical value and interpretation throughout this period. The author discusses the critical interpretation of Antonioni, Eisenstein or Chaplin in the programme, as well as the confluence of new cinemas, the politicisation of cinema, and the late films by classical directors. According to Narboni, who was also the editor of Langlois's writings, thanks to this project the film critics associated with the journal discovered that programming is a form of montage based on these conceptual or formal associations established between films.
ABSTRACTIn a lecture held at the Cinémathèque Suisse, Jean-Luc Godard reflects on the relationship between the Cinematheques and his own work on the history of cinema. In this way, the question regarding programming may be formulated as follows: what images to compare? In his quest to continue the work initiated by André Bazin on the ontology of cinema, Godard seems to have opted for a 'de-structuring' principle, or a breaking down the mechanism of cinema into atoms, a principle derived from previous enquiries found in the theories of montage of film-makers such as Dziga Vertov or Sergei Eisenstein. For Godard, it is the succession of discontinuous instants that creates cinema. The novelty resides in the fact that this method would lead Godard to work on the physics of cinema, replacing the concept of 'evolution' for that of 'fractioning', and the 'instant' for the relativity of space and time. This way of finding a form appropriate to the study of the history of cinema through montage finds a parallel in the practice of film programming as a form of comparative cinema.
ABSTRACTOn the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of Dziga Vertov, in 2005–06 La Casa Encendida in Madrid programmed “Ver sin Vertov”, a retrospective season on non-fiction film in Russia and the USSR since Vertov's death until the present time. In this essay the film programmer reflects on the three programming criteria for that season. Firstly, he was interested in applying an negative methodology on the history of Russian and Soviet cinema, as it had previously been suggested by Naum Kleijman and used in the programme “Lignes d’ombre” that took place at the Locarno Festival in 2000. Secondly, the programme aimed to reflect the need to physically locate the experience of the spectator, conceicing of the screening as a film-event. And thirdly, the programme seeked to foreground the questions and paradoxes presented by the works themselves, taking them as models or arguments for the programme itself. Taking as a point of departure the particular circumstances of Vertov's death – 37 years after the October Revolution; 37 years before the fall of the USSR in 1991 – this programme performed a historical and biographical reading of Dziga Vertov's Theory of the Cinematographic Interval, and was an invitation to understand programming as an exercise in montage.
ABSTRACTTaking as a point of departure the suspicion that the history of film can only be written through film itself, Ricardo Matos Cabo brings together heterogeneous filmic materials and disposes them in such a way that the relationships amongst them emerges organically: it is a task that has at its centre the matter projected by films themselves. In this way, the cross-dissolve that takes place during a screening – since in the cinema images are shown one after the other, rather than one next to the other – is not of a visible order, but rather operates in an intangible manner, producing correlations between images and sounds, through which film speaks about itself. This essay aims to give an account of some of the analogies produced between the films selected by the Portugese curator in different contexts: 'To See: Listening, the Experience of Sound in the Cinema' (Culturgest, 2009), 'Histories of Film by Film Itself' (Culturgest, 2008) or 'Residues' (Portuguese Cinematheque, 2011). To speak about the histories that these programmes project is, to a certain extent, to trace paths across the different points of the infinite film of which Hollis Frampton speaks.
ABSTRACTThe author discusses two programmes that he curated under the title 'Rivette in Context', which took place at the National Film Theatre in London in August 1977 and at the Bleecker Street Cinema in New York in February 1979. Composed of 15 thematic programmes, the latter sets the films of Jacques Rivette in relation to other films, mostly from the US (including films by Mark Robson, Alfred Hitchcock, Jacques Tourneur, Fritz Lang, Otto Preminger). The essay notes and comments on the reactions of the US film critics to this programme, and also elaborates on the motivations that led him to the selection of films, which took as a reference the critical corpus elaborated by Rivette in Cahiers du cinéma alongside the influences that he had previously acknowledged in several interviews. Finally the article considers the impact of Henri Langlois's programming method in the work of film-makers such as Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais or Luc Moullet, concluding that it generated a new critical space for writers, programmers and film-makers, based on the comparisons and rhymes between films.
Nathaniel Dorsky. Devotional Cinema
Deadline for submissions: [EXTENDED] January 30th, 2020.
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