Serge Daney at the 1984 Cannes Festival

Until 24 May, the blog ‘Serge Daney in English’ is publishing a series of new English translations of the entire output of Serge Daney reporting from the 1984 Cannes Film Festival. Translated by Laurent Kretzschmar and Srikanth Srinivasan, each text is published on the day it appeared in the newspaper Libération, thirty-seven years ago. Kretzschmar has been publishing English translations on his blog ‘Serge Daney in English’ for over fifteen years. Srinivasan has recently devoted himself to translating the books of critic and filmmaker Luc Moullet, and recently published a book on Indian independent filmmaker Amit Dutta.

Some samplers from the first batch of translations:

On Cannes: “Let one thing be clear: the Cannes film festival stopped being a great celebration of cinema a long time ago. Instead, it is the harsh capital of an imaginary yet very real country: Cinema. Every capital has its officials, its ambassadors, its offices, its administration, and of course its dissidents. Dreamers, stay away.”

On Werner Herzog’s Wo die grünen Ameisen träumen: “Herzog’s world is that of pure fiction and the only stories that interest him are of cosmogonic nature: they deal with the creation of the world.”

On Marek Kanievska’s Another Country: "What about the film? There isn’t any film." (...) "What does this triumphant infiltration of TV drama into cinema finally come down to? It comes down to the world being seen in medium shot (and medium, mediocre, media is all the same thing)."

On Andrzej Zulawski’s La femme publique and Bertrand Tavernier’s Un dimanche à la campagne: “Why go through the trouble today of answering questions that, visibly, no one is asking any more? Why pretend to willingly endorse the rejection of the modern when you only relish the old? Why try so hard? Doesn’t this trick mean that Tavernier, despite being promoted as an “auteur”, thinks it is still his duty to redeem himself from this ungrateful role but still expects to reap the emotional benefits of this move? Keeping a low profile isn’t necessarily the same as being humble. The humility of the true labourers of auteur cinema was commendable. But this was a while ago, a long while ago.” (...) “But what struck me when seeing [Zulawski's film] from the last row of the Louis Lumière auditorium was how terribly, suddenly old this hysterical demand for a visionary artist, deus ex-machina and professional dissident had become.”

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