Tuesday 27 February 2018

On DVD - Unearthing a forgotten film by Alexandre Astruc LES MAUVAISES RENCONTRES (France, 1955)

A first ever viewing of a, well backchannels as they say, copy of Alexandre Astruc's Les Mauvaises Rencontres (France, 1955), replete with fanboy subtitles placed over the top of Spanish subtitles was quite a revelation. Astruc's films are mostly hard to find though the French Embassy library had a couple that featured in Barrett Hodsdon's monumental trawl through the history of French cinema via monthly screenings of the WEA Film Group way, way back in the 2000s.

This was a film that passed under the radar on first release. I doubt it had any Australian screenings and Raymond Durgnat, for instance, did not see it in London prior to compiling his "Nouvelle Vague: The First Decade" and as a result made some generalisations about Astruc that don't fit in with this one. 

I imagine it was reviewed in Cahiers and Positif but don't have access to either. In Jim Hillier's "Cahiers du Cinéma: The 1950s: Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave" there is a discussion from 1957 involving Andre Bazin, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Pierre Kast, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer "Six personages en quête d'auteurs: debat sur le cinéma français" in which Doniol Valcroze says: "Taking a very debatable novel, Une Sacrée Salade, as his source, Astruc has elevated his subject to a kind of personal meditation on youth, on a milieu he knew, on ambition, etc." Right.

Alexandre Astruc
Anyway putting the poster up on Facebook, another scalp in the films to see before you die, prompted Adrian Martin to mention that he had translated an essay by Astruc which you can find if you click here. Adrian also wrote an introduction to his translation which you can find if you click here.

Welcome to the cinema of Alexandre Astruc. More please. 

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