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Michel Audiard’s film reviews were already brutal


The historian of literature Franck Lhomeau publishes with Editions Joseph K. a nugget on the work of chronicler from 1946 to 1949, well before Michel Audiard does not meet the success.

“Citizen Kane, that is cinema! 500% cinema … Conceived, directed and performed by a 25-year-old boy named Orson Welles …»This removed criticism was written by Michel Audiard in 1946 in The Evening Star. He is just 26 years old but we can already recognize the gun-carrying style of the future great dialogueist. After having made historic work by unearthing the first essays of the “little cyclist»In 1943 in the collaborationist journal The call, Franck Lhomeau repeats by releasing a real nugget with the Joseph K. editions, the almost exhaustive collection of all the chronicles written by Michel Audiard, between 1946 and 1949, mainly in two newspapers The Evening Star and Cinévie.

The defender of a demanding cinema

Because contrary to what we have been saying for decades, and which Michel Audiard himself had led to believe by building his own legend, the future director of We must not take the children of the good Lord for wild ducks was not thanked by The Evening Star after a pseudo-report in Asia, a bogus interview with Tchang Kaï-Chek not far from the dreamed banks of the Yang-Tsé-Kiang.

It is precisely in this newspaper, an emanation of a clandestine sheet published irregularly during the war under the title The Gaullist, where he meets Jacques Perret, whom he will write nearly a hundred cinematographic chronicles in which he defends, with the style and irony of his best dialogues, a demanding cinema. He does so with courage (or unconsciousness) against the choice sometimes of certain spectators whom he will hesitate to qualify their lack of cinephilic sense of “ bad taste is raised to the height of a priesthood“.

Under the pseudonym of Jacques Potier (name of his childhood friend), he praises Citizen Kane, by scratching those who, like Jean-Paul Sartre or Pol Gaillard from Humanity, consider Orson Welles’ film too intellectual to interest the masses. For lovers of paradox, it must be remembered that François Truffaut, also a film critic before becoming a director, will devote boundless admiration to Welles’ masterpiece all his life.

Great cinema. Wilder’s film contains vile images, of a baseness, but also of a dramatic intensity, rarely achieved …

Michel Audiard on The Lost Week-end by Billy Wilder, in the Evening Star on February 12, 1947

He asserts, without concession, his tastes for Charlie Chaplin, Billy Wilder, John Ford and Walt Disney cinema. At the first Cannes Film Festival, in September-October 1946, he underlined the revelations of young Mexican cinema or the “ amazing documentaries »Scandinavian, and notes that the Soviet cinema, which had produced so many masterpieces, suffers from the same evil as the National Socialist cinema: the excess of interventionism and the debauchery of financial means put at the service of propaganda.

Enjoying total freedom, Michel Audiard fires off everything: he mocks the game of Charles Boyer or that of Pierre Blanchar, criticizes the proliferation of films on the Resistance and shoots Jean Gabin on sight.
The one who would become one of the most famous French dialogists was then one of the sharpest pens of film criticism, which he then sharpened to Cinévie, before starting a career in 1949 which owes a lot to his years as a film buff and columnist.

From Michel Audiard we already knew that he liked good words, dialogues that sound like pissing off, but we still did not know what school he had formed. Thanks to the meticulous research of Franck Lhommeau, we discover both the secret of a pen and a little more of the history of post-war French cinema. A rare and informative book that would please a movie buff at the foot of the Christmas tree.

Michel Audiard, Each time an innocent person has the idea of ​​putting on a masterpiece, the chorus of cockroaches goes into a trance …, Cinematographic Chronicles 1946-1949 (320 pages, 25 €) at Joseph K. The interested reader can also find in the same publisher in the Temps Noir collection, The Tontons gunslingers, an analytical work on Georges Lautner’s film, discussed, of course, by Michel Audiard.

Orson Welles on the set of Citizen Kane Orson Welles’ debut film was admired by Michel Audiard

Le Figaro presents, below in video, Citizen Kane Orson Welles, The Lost Weekend by Billy Wilder and The dictator by Charlie Chaplin, the three favorite films of Michel Audiard.

Citizen Kane d’Orson Welles, released in 1941 in the United States (in 1946 in France), with Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore …

The poison (The Lost Weekend ), or Billy Wilder’s Lost Weekend, in 1945, Grand Prix of the 1946 Cannes Film Festival, with Ray Milland, Jane Wyman …

The dictator (The Great Dictator ) by Charlie Chaplin in 1940, his first talking film, with Charlie Chaplin, Paulette Goddard …

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