Finding the criminal #2

Juventude em Marcha - Pedro Costa, 2006, digital video


At the time, in the intelligentsia, people had been shaken by 1968. The delirium didn't last very long, about two years. During that time, we went pretty far with the idea that 'we won't be filmmakers', which was fine with us, as none of us was a born filmmaker, so we'd found a justification: we won't be filmmakers because there are much more important things to do! Which was to create a great Chinese-style cultural front with mass appeal, etc. But as soon as reality entered the picture, it fell apart. I'll only note that, without knowing whether it's to our honour or whether, on the contrary, it's a sign of absolute collective baseness, but we plunged politically collectively.

That enabled us not to belong to any group since we became our own group. We were quite naive, and took it to a point at which it almost became pathological, but we stopped in time. We didn't do anything base in relation to cinema. Which is to say that we never said anything good about, I don't know, an Elio Petri film, as all the leftists liked them. We always said good stuff about Straub and Godard and everyone told us off, because those films were considered indigestible by everyone, and they were indeed quite difficult films. We had absolute fidelity to our tastes in cinema, our Cahiers tastes, even if reduced to a very Jansenist base. Godard, at the time, was also very naive, very Maoist. He was more active than us; he did lots of stuff and we followed him a bit. As for Straub, he was a very important filmmaker to us, and is still very important to me — even if, well, we're all twenty years older. Back then, we went on, following a little minuscule line that should have broken a hundred times, but didn't, which just goes to show that it was solid after all.

--Serge Daney on writing for Cahiers du cinéma during its militant phase in the early 1970s, in Itinéraire d'un ciné-fils (1992).