Mavericks and Outsiders: Positif Celebrates American Cinema January 30 - February 4, 2009
Join Michel Ciment, editor of the highly influential French film magazine Positif and one of the world’s most respected film critics, for this select survey of America’s cinematic legacy.
Founded in 1952 by a group of film enthusiasts from Lyon led by Bernard Chardère, Positif proudly proclaimed its links to a surrealist tradition that emphasized the subversive in art and celebrated filmmakers whose work sought to become part of political dialogue. Unlike its perpetual rival, Cahiers du cinema, it was unabashedly leftist in its orientation and became an early champion of directors ranging from Andrzej Wajda and Dusan Makavejev to Ruy Guerra and Glauber Rocha.
Positif nevertheless remained skeptical about the breakthrough made by the French New Wave, even more so after the radicalization of some of its members (not to mention Cahiers’) in the wake of 1968. Conversely, the magazine emerged as France’s most eloquent defender of the New American Cinema of Altman, Scorsese, Schatzberg, and others, at a moment when denunciations of American culture had become de rigeur for much of the French left.
Today Positif remains much as it has always been: iconoclastic, unpredictable, and passionate about the films and filmmakers it defends. This program, curated by editor Michel Ciment, celebrates its continuing legacy as an important and perceptive observer of American cinema. Several featured filmmakers will join Mr. Ciment on stage to talk about their work.
Thanks to French Cultural Services for their support.