January 23, 2022

Make a whole cinema … before the film

It’s ironic to watch a documentary series about the magic of cinema on a platform like Netflix, when you know that the streaming more and more rooms are empty. But i liked it See, produced in particular by David Fincher and David Prior, which offers a collection of short essays on cinema. In particular the first episode, Summer of the shark, in which Sasha Stone returns to the madness around the film Jaws of Spielberg in 1976, which launched the vogue for blockbusters summer and a universal shark phobia.



This series reminded me that going to the movies has been by far my favorite activity since childhood. My parents would give me $ 5 and I would disappear for the rest of the day in dark rooms, sometimes in double or triple programs where I came out aching, but delighted.

I lived through the end of the glory days of cinemas, when they were everywhere. The Champlain, the Ouimetoscope, the Saint-Denis, the Parisien, the Parallèle, the Imperial… I frequented them all assiduously, in a devouring passion hampered by nothing, since no one was watching what I was going to see. My parents gave me the full freedom of being a movie buff, and the lax clerks who didn’t verify my age did the rest. I saw everything I wanted to see, mostly horror movies that shouldn’t be shown to the faint of heart.

All the warnings before the films therefore make me laugh a little, and I admit to laughing just as much to see people getting excited about the arrival of “may contain period cultural representations”, as we have read. before the broadcast of The Crazy Cage by Édouard Molinaro, popular success of 1978, and also before the film C.R.A.Z.Y. by Jean-Marc Vallée, released in 2005, but which takes place in the 1970s.

It shocks a lot of people, who find it ridiculous. In short, we are outraged by warnings that aim to counter the indignation of those we do not hesitate to qualify as self-righteous. We are living in a wonderful time.

Movies have long had classifications and caveats, like “contains sexuality, harsh language and scenes of violence.” Over time, we have seen more warnings about drugs, cigarettes and suicide. The list goes on with dated cultural representations, and one wonders how far it will go, all that. In fact, diffusers protect themselves, like when a company tells us in its instruction manual that you should not dry your cat in the microwave.

Last year, when the RBO group celebrated its 40e birthday with series RBO – The Archives, he already made fun of this type of precaution at the beginning of each episode which contained a silly warning, in a funny diversion which made the viewing better.

What we find ridiculous here is probably the pointlessness of such a warning before The Crazy Cage, because you only have to see the grain of the film and the clothes of the characters to understand that the film does not date from yesterday.

Is it really necessary to warn the public that it will face something other than its time?

Except that, even in 1978, the film was dated and showed a very stereotypical view of the homosexual couple. But the general public loved Renato and Albin, which made The Crazy Cage the most viewed French film in the United States in the 1980s, contributing to both the acceptance and the perpetuation of stereotypes – that’s the whole paradox of this comedy classic.

As far as I am concerned, I am ready to accept all the contortions that it will take as long as we do not touch the films. If you want me to climb the curtains, put scissors in a feature film. If we need warnings to spare the susceptibilities and keep the films intact, I don’t see the problem, we just have to skip them. Because what exactly are we complaining about, when we have never had access to such a large catalog of films since the beginnings of cinema?

I have an old man at home TV Hebdo 1961, with Muriel Millard on the cover. I keep it only because the warnings make me laugh.

It was the priests at the time who rated the films, and their judgments were more moral than aesthetic.

For example, for The train will whistle three times, we warn that there is “evocation of a link”. For Queen of cards, we indicate “depraved manners”. For Young girls in the night, “Free love, cynical and harsh dialogue”, and for Florida’s Secret, “Freedom of attitude and gesture”. My favorites are “final triumph of laziness” attached to Vire-Vent and “the midst of crazy people and spread turpitudes” for Au P’tit Zouave. I never tire of it, all the films have been combed through this fine-tooth comb, and it’s hilarious, because these warnings were to titillate the reader of the TV Hebdo and make him want to see the movies (after putting the children to bed). A bit like when the “Parental Advisory” label was created for music albums with explicit lyrics, which has become a sort of seal of quality among teenagers.

When I think about it, all generations have faced dated cultural portrayals on television, covers and old movies oblige. RBO had caricatured the show Dad is right, which annoyed many young people who did not recognize themselves in this portrait of the model family, with an almighty father, a perfect mother and obedient children. Besides, there is an article in my old TV Hebdo from 1961 who asks, “Is Papa right?” “. The answer: “It’s not always daddy who is right. It will even happen that the moral will come from the side of his son, his daughter, his wife or even the maid. ”

In fact, you never know where it will come from.