Conference: Film Criticism in Arts magazine (1952-1966). Godard, Rivette, Rohmer and Truffaut away from Bazin’s paradoxes

Date: 10th June 2014

Location: ICA Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Arts (London, The Mall).

Famously, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer and François Truffaut all wrote for the Cahiers du Cinéma journal (run by André Bazin) before becoming renowned filmmakers. Yet, at the same time, they all also wrote for Arts, a largely polemical and politically controversial weekly magazine that was no less decisive in imposing their “politique des auteurs”, the cult of cinematic authorship that proved immensely influential on film culture ever since. This symposium aims to reconsider the articles they published on Arts, a body of writings that is certainly neglected, little-studied and in some cases downright unknown: around twenty articles by Rivette and over 150 by Rohmer were not even listed in any known bibliography until very recently. In so doing, it will provide a more accurate view of what the “politique des auteurs” originally was (most notably as regards its theoretical premises), also in order to engage with the still ongoing, very lively debate on cinematic authorship. More generally, this event intends to contribute to the current rediscovery of that crucial period of French film criticism, brought forth among others by the shortly-forthcoming, recently-announced publication of André Bazin’s integral corpus of writings, and by the fresh release of a new, important biography on Eric Rohmer shedding a new light on his criticism.


Please send an email containing name, surname and affiliation (if any) to There is no admission fee, however, registration prior to the event is mandatory. French/English simultaneous interpretation through headphones will be provided.

The organization of the conference has been made possible thanks to the joint contribution of the Kent Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (KIASH), of the Aesthetic Research Centre (University of Kent), of the Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Film and the Moving Image (University of Kent), and of “Traverser Bazin”, an ongoing research project led by Prof. Hervé Joubert-Laurencin and recipient of the prestigious LABEX grant (Laboratoire d’excellence des arts et médiations humaines).


10:45am: Registration
11am: Introduction
11:20am: Prof. Marc Dambre (Université de Paris III – Sorbonne Nouvelle): “Arts et hussards dans leur temps”
12am: Respondent: Zahra Tavassoli Zea (University of Kent)
12:10am: Dr. Douglas Morrey (University of Warwick): “Jacques Rivette’s Film Criticism for Arts”
12:50am: Respondent: Dr. Cecilia Sayad (University of Kent)
1pm: Lunch (not offered)
2pm: Prof. Antoine de Baecque (Université de Paris X – Nanterre): “Eric Rohmer critique de cinéma pour Arts”
2:40pm: Respondent: Dr. Richard Misek (University of Kent)
2:50pm: Dr. Marco Grosoli (University of Kent): “The Author Policy and its Political Underside. Arts in the wider context of the ‘Politique des auteurs’”
3:30pm: Respondent: Dominic Topp (University of Kent)
3:40pm: Break
4:10pm: Prof. Hervé Joubert-Laurencin (Université de Paris X – Nanterre): “André Bazin et la revue Arts”
4:50pm: Respondent: Dr. Mattias Frey (University of Kent)
5pm: Break
5:20pm: Final Discussion


MARC DAMBRE is Emeritus Professor of Modern and Contemporary French Literature at the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle. He is the author of Roger Nimier Hussard du demi-siècle (Flammarion, 1989), has looked after the publication of Nimier’s works and edited the collections Les Hussards. Une génération littéraire (Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2000) and Roger Nimier (Cahier de l’Herne, 2012). As regards contemporary literature, he has founded CERACC (UMR Thalim) Research Centre, and led a seminar with Bruno Blanckeman. He has co-edited several works for the Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, among which L’Exception et la France contemporaine (2010), Romanciers minimalistes (1979-2003) (2012) and Mémoires occupées. Fictions françaises et Seconde Guerre mondiale (2013).

DOUGLAS MORREY is Associate Professor of French at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Jean-Luc Godard (Manchester University Press, 2005) and the co-author of Jacques Rivette (Manchester University Press, 2009). He is currently researching a study entitled ‘The Legacy of the New Wave in French cinema’.

ANTOINE DE BAECQUE is Professor of History of Cinema at the University of Paris Ouest-Nanterre. He has authored several articles and books about cinema, particularly regarding the history of Cahiers du Cinéma journal (for which he has also been the editor in chief between 1996 and 1998). A publisher and a biographer (of Truffaut with Serge Toubiana, and of Godard), he has published in 2014 (with Noel Herpe) a biography of Eric Rohmer also containing some previously unpublished texts by the critic/director. His published works include La Cinéphilie. Invention d’un regard, histoire d’une culture. 1944-1968 (Paris, 2003).

MARCO GROSOLI earned a Ph.D. in Film Studies from the University of Bologna; his dissertation regarded the integral corpus of writings (2600 articles) by film critic and theorist André Bazin. He is currently a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Kent (Canterbury). He has co-edited (with Monica Dall’Asta) a volume about the cinema of Guy Debord, and one (with Jean-Baptiste Massuet) about the use of motion/performance capture in recent cinema. He has published on several academic journals and edited collections, among which Fata Morgana, Il Mulino, Cinema & Cie. He collaborates also with various movie journals, such as Film Comment, La Furia Umana,,,

HERVÉ JOUBERT-LAURENCIN is Professor of Aesthetics and History of Cinema at the University of Paris Ouest-Nanterre, where he also directs the HAR-Cinéma research team. His main research interests are Pier Paolo Pasolini, the writings about cinema and animation cinema. He is currently leading a triennial international research project called “Traverser Bazin. Ecrits suscités par le cinéma” ( His published works include Opening Bazin. Postwar Film Theory and Its Afterlife (co-edited with Dudley Andrew, Oxford University Press, 2011), Ouvrir Bazin (co-edited with Dudley Andrew, Montreuil, 2014), Le sommeil paradoxal. Ecrits sur André Bazin (Montreuil, 2014).