Postcards from the Cinema
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Postcards from the Cinema is the book Serge Daney, one of the greatest of film critics, never wrote. It is based around an interview that was to be the starting point for a book, a project cut short by Daney's death. Postcards turns a history of cinema into a profound meditation on the art and politics of film. Daney's passionate and lucid engagement with film, combined with his concern for journalistic clarity, effectively created film criticism as a genre. Equally at home with the theories of Deleuze, Lacan and Debord as he was with the movie-making of Bunuel, Godard and Ray, Daney was also a fan of Jerry Lewis and Hitchcock. At the same time - and before his time - he championed the critical analysis of television and other audio-visual media. Long-awaited, this is the first book-length translation of Daney's work, testimony to a life lived with a fierce love of film.
intellectuals, co-workers, filmmakers and critics contribute short essays describing Daney, his writing, and his impact. The essays amount to non-systematic studies of aspects of Daney’s work and life, and most of the writers attempt to define Daney for themselves, through accounts of personal friendship or critical affinities, that is to say they are ultimately autobiographical pieces. As interesting, and often moving, as these pieces are, they unfortunately don’t amount to objective, critical,
entire life, behind the collection of snapshots that is the proof of my existence. With the postcard there is a kind of bragging, on the one hand there is the “I’m here, you’re not, but we’re still friends,” on the other hand “At the end of the world I exist,” “I’m in Shanghai as if I always lived here.” And with the postcard there is something else that is ultimately rather political, which is that it’s the product of a modest and anonymous commercial production that doesn’t aim in any way
resist this coded language, this visual imposed or withheld by the West. 61 The most beautiful postcards are obviously those in which the beauty seems neither planned nor willed by someone. I say ‘seems’ because I could almost, and it’s truly a perverse idea, reconstruct a politique des auteurs staring with the different types of shots, styles of framing, and the main postcard producers. Isn’t this what we agreed to do with American cinema? Where I almost stumbled onto catastrophe was when the
That’s the one who always comes to me; I would always end up recognizing him. There is this sort of universality of he who will never be a part of the pack. It’s very narcissistic to find yourself disguised in a young third world boy, but it’s also true. I never really had any big mishaps (in general I’m not particularly risky, but sometimes I was) maybe because of a certain assurance of being superimposed on the landscape, because of a certain doubt of really existing, matched with the certainty
about television, although that wouldn’t take us very far. For me it was rather to watch the films of Welles before reading Shakespeare, to see The Tarnished Angels before reading Faulkner: to make a culture out of what cinema itself could cross, adaptations, etc. Cinema in so far as it made this great cultural promise possible and prosaic. That’s why I find this love of cinema in the 20th century rather strange and beautiful. It’s a true paradox: when I started becoming a cinephile, I was on the