Clement Time


I’ve caught up with a few Rene Clement films lately, and so I decided to have a full week of his work on Shadowplay to push me to see the rest. I haven’t been able to find any of his shorts or documentaries except for the early Tati comedy SOIGNE TON GAUCHE, but all the features have been located and by Sunday I hope to have watched nearly all of them — LES JEUX INTERDITS/FORBIDDEN GAMES is screening at Edinburgh Filmhouse in mid-March as part of Mark Cousins’ Cinema of Childhood season, so I’m thinking I might see it on the big screen. In this way I can climax things by seeing his best-loved film last.

Over at The Chiseler, I kick things off with a piece attempting to define Clement’s field of interests and view of humanity, before getting down to specifics over the coming days. I hope you’ll join me!

7 Responses to “Clement Time”

  1. Nice piece. However as regards Truffaut it wasn’t simply that he “argues that their films belong to the screenwriters rather than the directors.” He attacks screenwriters , such as the famous team of Aurenche and Bost, for writing works that criticized the Catholic church and its practices. Truffaut was a flaming reactionary at this point in his career — a fact that has been discussed by next to nobody. The image of Truffaut as a sweet, boyish skirt-chaser has triumphed over serious study of the man and his many contradictions. He was often as not no “nicer” than Godard.

  2. He was certainly the Cahiers’ hatchet man for films and filmmakers they wanted to trash, though he did regret his savagery a bit in later years.

    And yes, the specific things he objects to have to do with the anti-clericalism he sees in Aurenche and Bost, which he tries to cover by saying it’s OK to be anti-clerical but they are distorting their source material in order to do it. But his true objections are quite apparent.

  3. Daniel Riccuito of The Chiseler writes: “I like 400 Blows, but Godard is just infinitely greater than T. And even if Clement is being a bit unfair, I’d say he’s not essentially wrong. I’m still trying to come to grips with GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE after seeing it twice — I’ve never witnessed anyone take cine-philosophy and cine-poetry and coil them together as gorgeously as Godard has. Well, except for Epstein… Anyhow, I’m not sure I’ve seen Clement’s work. Where do I start?”

    You might start with where most people start and finish, Forbidden Games, which is maybe the most readily available Clement film. A film Truffaut hated and considered “dishonest” about childhood, his pet theme. In fairness, Truffaut had the experience of growing up during the Occupation and Clement was fully grown and had to use his imagination…

  4. You ought to publish a curriculum! How else am I going to know what to watch now that I have more free time than I’d like? (Though tonight it’s the restored “Metropolis” at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle.)

  5. I don’t know myself!

    But tomorrow will be Bataille du Rail and I might proceed chronologically, ending with The Rider on the Rain… we’ll see. Enjoy Metrop! (How could you fail to?)

  6. I did indeed! Some in the audience got a little…giggly at times. I was so wrapped up in the movie it didn’t bug me too much but, jeez, I would have expected the audience to be slightly more respectful.

  7. That movie confuses modern audiences who think they’re laughing at “dated” silent movie performances — whereas it’s a fairly unique, peculiar kind of overheated acting Lang is going for in that one particular movie. Not like anything else.

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