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New Left Review 42, November-December 2006

Life-cycle of Cahiers du cinéma. The trajectory of the pre-eminent film journal, from cine-clubs of Liberated Paris to masterpieces of the New Wave, barricades to the pensée unique, tracked against broader changes in French intellectual culture.



Life Cycle of a Cinema Journal

Whatever happened to Cahiers du cinéma? For decades the journal, modelled on the pages of a notebook, had published some of the most polemical and influential criticism ever to animate the world of film; it played a crucial role in establishing cinema as the ‘seventh art’. Founded in 1951 under the editorship of André Bazin, Cahiers quickly recruited a stellar group of young critics—Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol—who assured the review iconic status and international fame when, acting on their words, they took the camera onto the streets of Paris and created the New Wave. Subsequent generations of editors, including Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette and an initial joint team of Serge Daney and Serge Toubiana, brought distinctive developments in outlook and agenda—philosophy or the barricades; aestheticism or the tv channel-hopper—yet always retained the sense of a cinematic vanguard, as passionate as they were interventionist.

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Emilie Bickerton, ‘Adieu to Cahiers’, NLR 42: £3

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