Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cahiers du cinéma

Bill Krohn has passed along the following English translation of a letter written by the editorial staff of the Cahiers du cinéma. The message is a show of support among a 90% majority of the presiding Cahiers team, and among an estimable cadre of ex-editors/-contributors, for the sale of the revue (and all it encompasses in 2008: website, publishing-house, DVD series, etc.) by the Le Monde group to a consortium in which Thierry Wilhelm will act as principal shareholder. An opposing bid — and that addressed by the text that follows — has been maneuvered by the French arts-culture weekly Les Inrockuptibles, led by disgruntled ex-Cahiers-editor Jean-Marc Lalanne, with plans to dismiss most of the current staff and "remix" the revue into an outlet newly "energized" — that is, caffeinated — with a mandate to consider (my words here, and at least as I see it) "all the images all the time" — video-games, TV shows, websites, and all manner of échafaudage des clips.

It should be obvious which side I'm on — and contrary to all that Lalanne and company's conception of what an inquiry into "cinema" must certainly "mean" to myself and others of the iPhone Generation, I join Andy Rector in asking the following:

More on all this over at Andy's Kino Slang blog, here.


Open Letter to Les Inrockuptibles

Dear Inrocks,

We are the editors of the Cahiers du cinéma.

When Le Monde decided to sell les Cahiers, we took the opportunity to develop a project with the editor-in-chief [i.e., Emmanuel Burdeau] for the purchase of the magazine. That project, born of the desire and the need for critical thinking about cinema, has convinced financial partners: our main shareholder being Thierry Wilhelm — press and Internet editor — along with, among others, Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens, a publisher who has always been close to the magazine.

Our project is also that of a huge number of old members of les Cahiers, like

Jean-Luc Godard,

Claude Chabrol,

Jean Narboni,

André S. Labarthe,

Jean-Louis Comolli,

Louis Skorecki,

Luc Moullet…,

and longtime companions like

Jacques Rancière

and Jean Louis Schefer.

They, more than twenty-five in total, have indicated their commitment by signing a letter we published in Libération.

This project was initiated several months ago. It has constructed itself in plain view of everyone, and its aims are now well-known: renewing les Cahiers in-depth by developing a new complementarity between the magazine and the Internet; ensuring the sustainability of the structure in all its activities; guaranteeing continued employment for the salaried staff.

All of this you know. Or rather, no, you pretend not to know it when you maintain your proposal to take over an inside project, announcing among other things further layoffs.

Is it possible that these Inrocks are the same news magazine that displays a left-wing sensibility? Is it possible that you wish to take over a magazine, at this historical moment, that has the will and means to ensure its own future?

We don't believe it. There must be a mistake.

Therefore, do not delay in letting people know it's not true: Les Inrocks don't want to buy les Cahiers. They are too attached to the plurality of the press, and to lively critical debate, for that.


Pierre Alferi,

Hervé Aubron,

Christophe Beney,

Nicole Brenez,

Jean Douchet,

Laurence Giavarini,

Charlotte Garson,

Gilles Grand,

Bill Krohn,

Ludovic Lamant,

Elisabeth Lequeret,

Arnaud Macé,

Philippe Mangeot,

Thierry Méranger,

Cyril Neyrat,

Eugenio Renzi,

Antoine Thirion,

Axel Zeppenfeld



  1. Not that I like much the present Cahiers, which seem to have lost most of their traditional insight and become too much like every other magazine, and therefore I find rather boresome, too predictably "mainly mainstream" and not as daring as they used to be, but I hope they won't go back to the "anything goes" period represented by Lalanne. I would cease reading Cahiers at all, after 45 years. So, luck to Frodon and bon courage,
    Miguel Marías

  2. Les Inrocks is the typical bobo magazine which tells you about hype for coffee-table discussions, how to sound smart when discussing "Culture", and contains very very very little critical insight. Fake left, fake criticism...
    Don't know how much of it would affect the Cahiers, but still, would like to be not at all...

  3. Maybe I'm missing something, but haven't some of these people been involved in the magazine in the last few years after Le Monde cleanup? What was stoping them from "ensure its own future" at the time would be a good question to ponder. I think Cahiers is still a good film magazine, but if you take for example the last two issues and pick any issue from the late 90's early 2000's I can tell you that it was more interesting back then.

    Serge Kaganski and Frédéric Bonnaud (I know he isn't there anymore) are two of the best film critics of their generation, is that what you call fake criticism... or is that just Lalanne and Morain, which are also pretty good?

    As for plurality of the press there's no impediment for either party to create a new magazine and expose their ideas. Curious that Les Inrocks have launched a new monthly music magazine just recently. It's called Volume and I'm trully enjoying it.


  4. At times, mostly right now I think of reasons why we waste time on what others feel is mindless dribble. Once again this article/issue/blog is no different. I wuld rather put my nuts in a vice, heat it up with an oxy acetylene torch, then jump off the work bench than read this self serving garbage. Why even as I write this I am sparking the flame on the torch. The end result you ask? Burnt flesh, very hot (boiled) testes, and ultimately an old fashioned castration. All to save the likes of me from the progressive aclectics of the world. You know the ones...the club shirts untucked, a touch of mousse, and the ever present one day old stubble. Usually smelling of aqua de gio. Not that the cologne is not great, it is. But so is really good acid, two 4mg tablets of morphine sulphate, and DTX surround with old faithful...Apocolypse Now. I can hear the choppers now - or was that an audible hallucination? Either way much more interesting than this article. Me wearing depends so I can drink more is more interesting. Don't you people have a life of filth and debauchery to fall back on? Go get some microdot, take two 4mg morphine sulpates (purple), and call me in the morning. Let me know how Sheen is when you are impaired to that degree.


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