Scen.: Philippe-Emmanuel Sorlin. F.: Jacques Wasselot. M.: Danielle Anezin, Danielle Anezin. Mus.: Tim Dormbusch. Prod.: Kidam, Ciné+. DCP. D.: 60’. Col.
In 1972, André S. Labarthe recorded film interviews with Elia Kazan at his Connecticut home and at his New York office. Following the cancellation of Labarthe’s Cinéastes de notre temps series, the rushes were never cut into an edit.
This footage dating back to 1972 was digitized by the Cinémathèque française, then in 2017, André S. Labarthe decided to edit his film about Elia Kazan at last. Danielle Anezin, his wife and film editor, was able to complete this last episode of Cinéastes de notre temps, in which Annette Michelson is shown interviewing Elia Kazan. The discussion on Kazan’s films is especially detailed and turns on the importance of Viva Zapata, as well as on his early days with the Group Theatre, a company that profoundly influenced American theatre production and movie-making towards the end of the 1930s.
I thought these rushes had been lost forever, but one long, hot summer, during a heatwave, I found myself having to tidy cans of film in the great mess that passes for my archives at my home in the country. There I found a few cans of black-and-white 16mm-film, marked “New-York/Connecticut” in black ink. They turned out to contain several interviews with Elia Kazan, shot first at his office on Broadway, then in his country-home in Connecticut. He was playing a game of tennis when we arrived. Much later, I shot Nanni Moretti also playing a game of tennis. I devised a title sequence for Cinéma de notre temps, my next series, in which Kazan was seen playing tennis with Nanni Moretti – even though they never in fact met!
Shot-reverse-shot! The essence of tennis. If you can accept that the guillotine stands as a forerunner to the close-up, then it follows that tennis must have provided inspiration for the reverse shot…
André S. Labarthe, 2011