In Propos d’un passeur : Serge Daney, the historian and critic Philippe Roger (1949) interviews Serge Daney and confronts him, thanks to a television screen, with four movies that sketch a possible history of cinema. During his career, Daney (1944-1992) wrote about cinema and aesthetics of the audiovisual images for Cahiers du cinéma and Libération, but he also founded the magazine Trafic and published several essays.
Starting with A King in New York (1957) by Charlie Chaplin, Daney underlines the different layers which characterise Chaplin’s oeuvres; then, Daney approaches the relation between Hollywood and History, and more precisely he argues about the notion of testimony in the audiovisual sphere through an excerpt from George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin (1994) by George Stevens Jr, while A Dirty Story (Une sale histoire, 1977) by Jean Eustache brings him to talk about the pleasure of listening to somebody who’s telling a story. Finally The Green room (La chambre verte, 1978) by François Truffaut raises the question of belief: according to Daney, we have to believe in cinema in order to love cinema, because second-degree irony is discordant with the medium.
In Propos d’un passeur : Serge Daney, we encounter an uncommon and hectic mind, a figure that, by quoting his words, was a Barthesian cinephile in early retirement. By using long and wide shots, Roger allows the camera to follow Daney’s monologue: the film critic ventures into the hints provided by the excerpts and develops a stream of thoughts about the cinema: in this way, he freely ponders ethics and aesthetics, the European and the American attitudes towards cinema industries and styles, cinema and psychoanalysis, salvation and loss.

This work has been digitised in the frame of DCA Project

  • Format Betacam SP(Betacam SP)
  • Color system PAL
  • Color col. and b&w
  • Year 1990
  • Duration 00:56:00
  • Languageinfo
    Spoken: French
  • Artists