Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Pair of Interviews with French Cinema Legend Babette Mangolte


If she had only shot Chantal Akerman's JEANNE DIELMAN, 23, QUAI DU COMMERCE, 1080 BRUXELLES (1975) and NEWS FROM HOME (1977) Babette Mangolte's place in cinema history would be assured. But there's so much more, as she also lensed Akerman's LA CHAMBRE and HOTEL MONTEREY (both 1972), as well as Yvonne Rainer's LIVES OF PERFORMERS (1972) and KRISTINA TALKING PICTURES (1976), Jean-Pierre Gorin's MY CRASY LIFE (1992) and more.

In addition to her work as a cinematographer she has directed many fine works of cinema. She will present her film THE CAMERA: JE OR LA CAMERA : I (1977) at the AFS Cinema on Saturday 9/17. The previous night, she presents a screening of Chantal Akerman's NEWS FROM HOME. These screenings, and the entire Chantal Akerman series, are made possible by Austin's own Experimental Response Cinema.

Here is a very interesting interview with the Village Voice, in which she talks about the early years of filmmaking in New York and her and Akerman's philosophy of feminism and filmmaking.
"Emotion was definitely something that was coming from the historical context of feminism. We were saying, "We're not going to make films like a father, or like a brother or lover. We're going to make films differently, because we are going to tap into things that they don't see because they don't have the experience of living as a woman." That was the whole point of feminism in the 1970s. We wanted to invent."
And here is another very good, longer piece from Interview Magazine from earlier this year. In that interview she discusses why the New Wave did not appeal to her as a member of the younger generation.
"I'm really interested in experimental works, so the people that I admired the most was Dziga Vertov, Eisenstein, people from the '20s. Also, I loved John Ford and his westerns. The New Wave was not tender to women. I lived on the Left Bank, so I was more interested in the people considered "Left Bank," which were Alain Resnais, Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, and so on. I met Alain Resnais, actually, when I was an assistant editor, I was in an editing room next to Resnais, who was editing The War is Over [1966]. I thought he was so elegant. Obviously I really admired Hiroshima Mon Amour [1959], and Muriel[1963] I thought was a masterpiece. I like Vivre sa vie [1962], I like The 400 Blows[1959]. It makes no sense to bad mouth people, but I think Godard is astonishing as a survivalist, somebody who can do a film that is as extraordinary as Goodbye to Language [2014]. In the '60s when I started to see everything I could see, you could see pretty much everything which was still available from the '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, and therefore I had an education which was really large and vast in different cinema. That's probably the reason I did not fall for the New Wave. It's really the love of the movies that made me want to become a cameraperson, definitely. I was really a film buff."

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