Prod.: Peripheria, Gaumont · DCP. Col.
Founder of the Cinémathèque française, Henri Langlois allowed many cinephiles to discover unseen works, exposing them to a history of cinema considered not chronologically, but through similarities and association of ideas. An assiduous spectator, Jean-Luc Godard was marked by this fundamental initiation: “Langlois knew well what he was doing with his ‘disordered’ projections and his bizarre museum. Everything was nuance, hidden meaning. A series of unexpected combinations that unleashed true reflection”.
The project of a ‘history of cinema’, written and produced at the same time, disappears in 1977 with the death of Langlois. In 1978, the Conservatoire d’art cinématographique of Montréal invites Godard to hold a series of conferences, in the wake of the ‘anti-courses’ Langlois had given ten years earlier. They are the foundations of what will become the monumental work Histoire(s) du cinéma, conceived in the furrows of Langlois and André Malraux. “The big story is the history of cinema. It is the question of the 19th century that is resolved in the 20th. It is bigger than others because it is projected, while they are reduced”. Composed of fragments of films and quotations, Histoire(s) du cinéma is also sprinkled with readings and conversations. The presence of Godard, in full reflection or at work, in front of the typewriter or at the moviola, is constant. After making the first two episodes, Serge Daney is invited to join him. Their conversation is filmed on 3 December 1988 in the form of an uninterrupted dialogue, a lengthy two-person reflection and an across-the-board discussion on cinema and its history, on the role and place of the image in the ’80s, on the state of the contemporary world. Godard will derive formulae and quotations from it which will go on to fuel the following Histoire(s) du cinéma. Some extracts of their meeting appear in episodes 2A and 3B. One part of the conversation was transcribed by Serge Daney in an edition of “Libération”, dated 26 December 1988, where he defines it as “an interview-river, filmed in the eventuality of a pedagogic guide to Histoire(s) du cinéma and a television broadcast”.
Samantha Leroy e Hervé Pichard
per concessione di Gaumont. I nastri originali video da 1/2 pollice sono stati affidati a Serge Le Péron nel 2012 per la preparazione del suo documentario Serge Daney : le cinéma et le monde. Sono stati digitalizzati all’INA. Il film resta incompleto, con due master originali mancanti. Nel 2014 viene realizzato un DCP a partire da cassette Beta Num, con il concorso dell’École Nationale Supérieure Louis Lumière, poi depositato alla Cinémathèque française