This title features five French filmmakers: Renoir, Bresson, Tati, Truffaut, and Rohmer. "Essays and Interviews" is, as its title indicates, a collection of essays about, followed by interviews with, five of France's major movie directors from the ...
silent period (the early part of Jean Renoir's career) through the New Wave and beyond (even to the present, in the films of Eric Rohmer). Most critics would agree that these five men are among the most important, if not the most important, in the history of French cinema - which means, of course, that they play a significant role in the history of world cinema as well. Moreover, there are echoes of Renoir's work in Francois Truffaut's, even as there are of Robert Bresson in Rohmer. The great Jacques Tati himself is evidence of Bresson's dictum that 'the soundtrack invented silence', for he made all of his comedies - otherwise filled with silence - during the sound period."Five French Filmmakers", then, is the macrocosmic French cinema in microcosm. And all the more so because this book is introduced by the seminal French theorist and critic Andre Bazin (1918-1958), who in 1957 wrote an essay (translated here by me, for the very first time) titled "Fifteen Years of French Cinema," which serendipitously spans the period from Renoir's sound pictures all the way up to the start of the New Wave. Bazin naturally talks about all the important directors, in addition to Renoir, Bresson, Tati, Truffaut, and Rohmer, working or starting their careers from 1942 to 1957, which is precisely why I have included his piece in - indeed, placed it at the start of - "Five French Filmmakers".