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Escaouprès " Cesar " de Stephen Heath (2004)

Ce livre mériterait une traduction en français.

C’est un hommage à Pagnol, et notamment à son "César", dont il reprend le titre, par un fin connaisseur du cinéma français de cette époque.

Voici quelques extraits de la présentation du livre par Ben McCann sur:"; target="_blank" target="_new"> />

Je l’ai commandé, et si quelqu’un l’a déjà lu, les commentaires sont ici les bienvenus.




César (1936) was written directly for the screen and brought to a close the impressively successful ’Marseille trilogy’. [...]

Stephen Heath’s dense, informative book is extremely comprehensive on this part of Pagnol’s life in the 1930s, giving up nearly a quarter of this most recent BFI study on his doctrine and cinematic activities. Heath certainly know his subject inside out – there is a range of references and secondary sources in this early section that provide testament to Pagnol’s creativity that neatly introduces the director and places the trajectory of hjis carrer against the backdrop of wider institutional changes taking place in the French film industry at this time.

After a brief section synopsising the trilogy, Heath devotes the central section to close sequence analyis of César, illustrated through a rich selection of photographs. He looks at questions of speech and accent, cinema and theatricality, stereotypes and the film’s cultural effects.

The chapters are neatly divided into subsections, each dealing with a constituent part of the film. There are discussions of ’values’, ’family matters’, ’women’ and ’lying’, but best of all is a section on comedy and tragedy, in which Heath looks at the skilful juxatpositon of the two by Pagnol – ’If they marry it’s a comedy, if they not it’s a tragedy’ was the director’s watchword. Heath is also keen to place Pagnol within the pantheon of great French directors. As he argues, if Welles and Renoir spoke so highly of him, there seems no reason to elevate him higher. Indeed, Pagnol is a rather forgotten director today - few would make the connection between him and Jean de Florette – and Heath is to be congratulated for opening up Pagnol for closer inspection.

Heath is especially strong on the study’s final section in which he examines César’s relation to the contemporary artistic and cultural-historical reality of Marseille. Too often, 1930s French cinema is regarded through a Paris-centric prism, but in fact Heath recognises "the city’s importance in the history of cinema." Marseille is the main character of the trilogy, and the author

There are lacunae – there is little on critical reception to the film, nor an appraisal of the 1951 reissue of the trilogy, and it would have been useful to to learn more about Raimu, the star of the trilogy. More crucially, César is a difficult film to watch – it is long, melodramatic and hampered by stagey performances – and is also difficult to get hold of, and so this book might miss out on capturing the floating reader.

But the more discernible, there is a great deal of interest here, not least a thorough and concise overview of 1930s French cinema. The arrival of sound in the late 20s brought about a seismic shift in French film – would directors embrace or reject the new technology? It is proof of Pagnol’s tireless support of the ’talkies’ that his output, though verbose for some, placed the voice at the centre of new filmmaking traditions. In this respect, Heath recognises his pioneering spirit, paving the way for the humanist realism of Renoir, Gréville and Guédiguian.


Cigalon Re: " Cesar " de Stephen Heath (2004)

Fernand,c’est surement trés intéréssant,mais la

traduction nous permettrais de juger.

Alors bon courage et à bientot.



allaudien Re: " Cesar " de Stephen Heath (2004)

Un autre point de vue (Sorry cigalon) by Richard Armstrong

If serious cinephilia has lionized the cosmopolitan, socially significant and cinematically important French master Renoir, Marcel Pagnol’s is the atmosphere that popularly signifies the "gloire" of classic French cinema. In the 1980s the Provençal Jean de florette (France/Switzerland/Italy,1985) and Manon des sources (Italy/France/Switzerland,1986) were inspired by Pagnol stories and played to a British audience then revelling in the lavender splendour of Peter Mayle’s television series A year in Provence (UK, 1993). "The aura of these new movies mingled with the fragrant allure of our culture’s travel section and the supplement on cuisine," writes David Thomson in the New biographical dictionary of film. There was a Pagnol season at London’s National Film Theatre in July 1988.

This book takes to task the cinephile’s traditional dismissal of Pagnol, a writer-director inspired by the desire to film the plays with which he made his name. Cinephilia has always sought to differentiate between the literary and the truly cinematic in order to free cinema from lingering associations with the novel and theatre. By drawing attention to Pagnol’s unique way with language and performance, Stephen Heath advocates another practice in which cinema and theatre have learnt from each other. Indeed, describing the Pagnolian trilogy of Marius (France, 1931), Fanny (France, 1932) and César (France, 1936), Heath traces currents that continue to inform French cinema.

André Bazin described Pagnol as "one of the greatest authors of talking films," and talk shapes this uniquely social cinema. After teaching in the 1920s, Pagnol headed for Paris to realize cherished literary ambitions. Success came quickly and his play Marius was a smash, leading to the Alexander Korda film in 1931. Marc Allégret then filmed Pagnol’s sequel Fanny. Inspired by a London screening of the Hollywood musical Broadway Melody of 1929, Pagnol then turned to cinema. Setting up his own production company, he became the producer, writer, director and distributor of his work, more than fulfilling future criteria for the kudos of auteur, (a term Pagnol himself baulked at). Pagnol’s "cinema is about the theatricalisation of film", writes Heath. Concluding his trilogy of life in the Marseille docklands, César seems more reflective and emotionally affecting than the other parts of the series, characteristics which make for a theatrical flavour. In it the Parisian student Césariot returns to Marseille and, following his adoptive father Panisse’s death, resolves to discover his true father, Marius’ identity. Reluctant to marry Césariot’s mother Fanny, whom he has always loved, in case it were thought he was only after Panisse’s money, Marius and Fanny are eventually brought together by his father César. César tells them that Césariot will be happy for his father and mother to marry.

This melodramatic story is steeped in the working class characters of the fish stalls, bars and tenements of Marseille’s Vieux-Port. Assembling a distinctive troupe of actors over several films, Pagnol’s characters exist in and through performance. Raimu (César) came to films from music hall and boulevard theatre. Pierre Fresnay (Marius) was a product of the Conservatoire - he was Renoir’s aristocratic officer de Boieldieu in La Grande Illusion in 1936. Charpin (Panisse) and Orane Demazis (Fanny) seem always to be coming from Pagnol.

The organic relationship between theatre and cinema stems from Pagnol’s ability to make the characters out of, as well as fit, the actors, argues Heath. This overlapping can be seen in the way Pagnol’s people seem to physically inhabit the language of their world. We can see and feel that language in the posturing and gesturality of the performances: "Raimu is César but the character César is the actor Raimu, is made of all the emphatic gestural and vocal weight of Raimu himself, his massive thereness." Heath suggests another Deleuzian category to augment the "image-movement" and the "image-sound", that of "image-speech." "The characters, like us, live in and through their speech and it is the fact of that ’living through’ which is filmed in César and the trilogy, to give a representation - precisely a talking picture - of how speech performs." Such an argument tempers our view of the early talkies, an era remembered now mainly for innovators like Clair, Lang and Hitchcock, who tried to overcome the voice by moving the camera. Significantly, there is next to no examination of camerawork or mise-en-scène here, while stills emphasize dialogue, reactions, community.

César appeared at the height of the Popular Front era in French politics during which a left wing coalition government passed labour reforms and extolled democratic values. César made the vernacular of the Midi into what has come to be seen as a quintessentially popular cinema. It is full of the accents and music hall humours of Marseille, where the trilogy was shot. Pagnol was born near Marseilles and Provençal was the language of his grandparents. Heath fills us in on the "café-concert" tradition of street entertainment. Drawing on the city’s characters, this discourse of sketches and music evokes a sensibility far from the "variétés" of faraway Paris. Like major ports everywhere, Marseille is a medley of colours and sounds. For Walter Benjamin, whom Heath quotes, its denizens were "a bacillus culture, the porters and whores products of decomposition." Like the best Bfi Classics, this one hunts high and low for the environments that feed its subject. There is a discussion of Marseille’s modernist architecture, principally the Pont Transbordeur, an elevated walkway and vehicle platform linking the two sides of the port which, slicing across the Marseillaise sky, features as a backdrop throughout the trilogy.

If Pagnol remains important for managing "theatre filmically and cinema dramatically", his trilogy also responds to currents with deep and lasting purchase on French cinema. This is an area that Heath does not go into, yet the music hall and café-concert routines of Pagnol’s troupe are very much alive in the international arthouse. The peppery vivacity of Pagnol’s working lives predicts Robert Guédiguian’s Marius et Jeannette (France, 1997). Set in the Marseillaise district of L’Éstaque and coloured by the same sense of community as Pagnol, it played well on the arthouse circuit. According to David Thomson, there is even a Berkeley, California restaurant named after Charpin’s master-sailmaker: Chez Panisse!


Jean-Philippe Re: " Cesar " de Stephen Heath (2004)
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Escaouprès Re: " Cesar " de Stephen Heath (2004)

Traduction maison (rapide) pour Cigalon.


César (1936) qui a été écrit directement pour l’écran, est venu couronner une « trilogie marseillaise » qui devait connaître un succès impressionnant. [... ]

Dense et instructif, le livre [Cesar]de Stephen Heath est extrêmement détaillé sur la vie de Pagnol dans les années 30, laquelle occupe près du quart de cette étude du BFI, la plus récente publiée sur sa doctrine et ses activités cinématographiques.

Heath indéniablement possède son sujet de fond en comble – dans son premier chapitre il fournit une gamme de références et de sources secondaires qui témoignent de la créativité de Pagnol, et présentent avec précision le metteur en scène et dépeignent la trajectoire de sa carrière dans le contexte des profonds changements institutionnels qui s’opèrent dans l’industrie française de film de cette époque.

Après une brève section consacrée au synopsis de la trilogie, Heath consacre la majeure partie de son livre à une analyse fouillée de « César », illustrée de photographies soigneusement choisies. Il étudie les questions de la parole et de l’accent, du cinéma et de la théâtralité, des stéréotypes et des effets culturels du film. Les chapitres sont habilement divisés en sous-sections, chacun traitant d’une composante du film. Il y discute des « valeurs », des « sujets de famille », des « femmes » et du « mensonge », mais les meilleurs sont les chapitres sur la comédie et la tragédie, dans lesquels Heath étudie l’habile juxtaposition des deux par Pagnol – « si ils se marient c’est une comédie, si ils ne se marient pas c’est une tragédie » étaient le mot d’ordre du directeur.

Heath est également partisan de placer Pagnol dans le Panthéon de grands directeurs français. Comme il le fait remarquer, puisque Welles et Renoir avaient une si haute opinion de lui, il n’y a aucune raison de ne pas l’élever. Car Pagnol est un directeur plutôt oublié aujourd’hui – au point que peu font le rapport entre Pagnol et Jean de Florette - et Heath doit être félicité pour inciter à réévaluation Pagnol par une inspection plus minutieuse. Heath est particulièrement fort dans la section finale de l’étude dans laquelle il examine la relation de César avec la réalité artistique et culturel-historique contemporaine de Marseille. Trop souvent, le cinéma français des années 30 est vu à travers le prisme déformant du centralisme parisien, mais ici Heath restitue "l’importance de la ville dans l’histoire du cinéma." Marseille est la pierre angulaire de la trilogie, ainsi que l’auteur.

Mais il y a des lacunes - il y a peu de choses sur l’accueil de la critique au film, ni sur l’évaluation de la réédition de 1951 de la trilogie, et on aurait voulu en avoir plus au sujet de Raimu, qui tient le premier rôle de la trilogie. Plus crucial encore, César est un film difficile à voir - il est long, mélodramatique et entravé par des jeux scéniques - et est également difficile à suivre, et il en est de même du livre de Heath qui risque de ne pas captiver le lecteur distrait.

Mais ce qui est indéniable, et c’est qui fait le plus la valeur du livre, c’est qu’il a le mérite de donner une vue d’ensemble complète et concise du cinéma de Français des années 30. L’arrivée du son vers la fin des années 20 devait provoquer un clivage sismique dans le cinéma français - les réalisateurs allaient-ils adopter ou rejeter la nouvelle technologie ? C’est grâce au soutien inlassable de Pagnol aux « films parlants » que son rendement, trop bavard pour certains, a placé la voix au centre des nouvelles traditions de la réalisation de films. À cet égard, Heath reconnaît son esprit de pionnier, pavant la voie au réalisme humaniste de Renoir, Gréville et Guédiguian.


Que Saint Pagnol, traducteur émérite Anglais de son vivant, be indulgent for the poor exiled amateur.




Cigalon Re: " Cesar " de Stephen Heath (2004)


Merci beaucoup pour cette rapide traduction.

C’est toujours un plaisir de lire tes inter -


PS. Je suis toujours preneur d’oeuvres de Pagnol dans toute les langues.A ce propos ,je vais envoyer un courier aux éditions De Fallois pour

s’avoir quelles éditions étrangéres des oeuvres

de M.Pagnol ont été éditées.

Je vous tiendrais au courant du résultat.

Bien Cordialement. Cigalon.


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