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Tag Archives: Emilie Bickerton

Bette Davis


Published 15th March 2010



Tuesday 23 March / Launch at the Institut Français in London. Emilie Bickerton will be introducing a special screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s PIERROT LE FOU, followed by Q & A. See here for booking and details:

Wednesday 24 March / Emilie Bickerton will be introducing a special screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s A BOUT DE SOUFFLE, followed by Q & A, followed by book signing, wine and snacks at CINEPHILIA WEST. See here for more details:


“The French New Wave directors all came from Cahiers du Cinema, a magazine that turned film criticism upside down in the 1950s. The salvoes of its sagacity are finely charted by Bickerton, who also laments the recent slide into dumbed-down mediocrity.” Nigel Andrews, Financial Times Books of the Year

“What I love is Bickerton’s certainty and courage. She’s stepping here into the viperous pit of French intellectual life like a mongoose with a mission.” Nick James, Sight & Sound

“Bickerton has done a valuable and highly informative job in locating the historical roots of Cahiers in the cinematic cultural debate that French intellectuals engaged in from the first world war onwards, and an equally useful one in relating the magazine’s decline to the distressing politics of post-1968 France.” Philip French, Observer

“The author masterfully unveils the power and the joy that rose up from the pages during the formative years of Cahiers.” David Cotner, LA Times


The first full history in English of Cahiers du Cinema. The French film magazine was the single most influential project in the history of cinema, integral to the formation of the iconic French New Wave. Founded in 1951 under the editorship of Andre Bazin, the journal was responsible for establishing film as the ‘seventh art’ equal to literature, painting or music, revolutionizing film-making, criticism and theory.

Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, Rivette and Chabrol were its first generation of critics. Before taking the camera to the streets and reinventing cinematic rules as directors, these men at the cinematic vanguard wielded the pen as the original weapon in their fight against the prevailing nostalgia for the silent era and admiration of cinema de qualite.

Cahiers critics faced ridicule when they called Hitchcock, Hawks or Preminger artists. But the magazine won the battle and convinced the world that these suspense thrillers, noirs or westerns were the greatest expressions of Twentieth Century art.

In this rich and authoritative history, Emilie Bickerton explores Cahiers’ evolution, tracing its post-war beginnings to the New Wave, late-sixties politicization, the response to the television era in the seventies and eighties and the subsequent denouement of Cahiers’ radicalism in the eighties and progressive shift to the mainstream and buy-up from Le Monde in the millennium.

Cahiers’ history is also a story of France’s relationship with America. Admired and vilified with equal passion, Bickerton assesses how Cahiers’ critical positions were consistently defined and reformulated in response to the cinema, and politics, coming from across the Atlantic.

Bickerton’s sharp and focused history of the journal’s trajectory traces the vital but subtle interconnections between cultural and arts criticism, and the society and politics out of which this emerges. It is a book for cinephiles, Francophiles, arts critics and film students alike.


EMILIE BICKERTON is on the editorial board of New Left Review. She is a journalist for Agence France-Presse in Paris, and writes regularly on film, literature and anthropology for publications including the London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement and The Guardian.


ISBN: 978 1 84467 232 5 / $26.95 / £14.99 / CAN$29.50 / 176 pages


For more information visit:

To buy the book in the UK:


To buy the book in the US:éma/dp/1844672328/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268418057&sr=8-1

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