July 26, 2021

The 400 hits of French cinema in America

Par stéphanie chayet

Posted today at 09:50

Illustration taken from photos by Alban Wyters / Abacapress, Alamy Stock Photo, by Kathy Hutchins / Alamy, Zoonar GmbH / Alamy, Martin Bergsma / Alamy, EQRoy / Alamy.

“This film has just saved 2021”, “Finally cinema! »,« Give him the Palme d’Or right now, nothing can beat that. ” Under the trailer ofAnnette, 99% of comments are in English and to match. Since the announcement of its production, every crumb of information on the mysterious rock opera of Leos Carax, which takes place in Los Angeles, has made the buzz on the English-speaking Internet.

“For an American cinephile, Annette is what one can imagine more exciting at the moment ”, confirms Richard Brody, film critic at the New Yorker and biographer of Jean-Luc Godard (Jean-Luc Godard, everything is cinema, Presses de la Cité, 2011), before mentioning the long line of fans who were already waiting for Leos Carax in 2013 in front of the Alliance française in Manhattan, where the French director had come to talk about his previous film, Holy Motors (2012). “It was really very moving to see the enthusiasm he inspired in these young people. ”

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Perhaps the scene reminded the critic of his youth, when he discovered cinema through Godard, like so many other American baby boomers. Richard Brody was then at university, where a fellow film buff had sent him to a screening ofBreathless. More than a revelation, it was a conversion, he says: “For me, Hollywood was neither young nor modern. It was my parents’ thing. With the New Wave, the cinema became not only an art – the French gave the world the word “author”! – but, moreover, an art of youth. “

This time when The Marquise d’O (1976), Éric Rohmer, could remain with the poster in New York an entire year, where the French filmmakers made the rain and the good weather, is only a distant memory, notes the critic. Distributor of Bruno Dumont and the first feature films of Leos Carax, the very Francophile Richard Lorber, one of the leaders in the distribution of international auteur cinema in the United States, also fallen into the New Wave during his studies, deplores the ‘“Shrunken footprint” of French cinema in his country: “France’s candidate for the Oscar for best international feature film, Two (2019), by Filippo Meneghetti, did not exceed 6 000 dollars at the box office. It’s weak to the point of being embarrassing. Still, it’s one of the best movies of the past decade. In the 1960s, we would have been ecstatic. “

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