Daily Archives: January 11, 2023


This was published in the September-October 1995 issue of Film Comment, as a sidebar to a much longer piece about Edgardo Cozarinsky. — J.R.


by Jonathan Rosenbaum

As a member of the FIPRESCI jury at Berlin that gave this year’s Forum prize to Edgardo Cozarinsky’s 68-minute Citizen Langlois, I’d like to quote our citation: “For a brilliant essay revealing a multifaceted grasp of a major pioneer for whom cinema was the ultimate nationality.”

Indeed, at a time when much of what passes for film history is being regulated nationalistically, by state bureaucrats — a process observable in such projects as the British Film Institute’s “A Century of Cinema” series (which stepped off in Berlin with Edgar Reitz’s Night of the Directors), and in the blatantly pro-industry PBS miniseries calling itself American Cinema -– Cozarinsky’s film carries a distinct polemical charge. For Henri Langlois, the unruly and passionate founder/gatekeeper of the Cinémathèque Française spent his life railing against state bureaucracies, and most of his legacy would be unthinkable without this sustained resistance. His eclectic partisanship is more than adequately matched in a personal essay that is as much about exile as Cozarisnky’s One Man’s War and Sunset Boulevards. Read more


Jia Zhang-ke’s second feature (2000) may well be his best work to date and one of the greatest of all Chinese films. Its subject is the great theme of Chinese cinema, the discovery of history, which links such otherwise disparate masterpieces as The Blue Kite, Blush, Actress, The Puppet Master, and A Brighter Summer Day. The story charts the course of the Cultural Revolution’s aftermath for about a decade, noting shifts in values and lifestyles, culture and economy, as China moves inexorably from Maoism to capitalism, as witnessed by five actors in a provincial traveling theater troupe. Many episodes unfold in single long takes, with offscreen sound playing an important role, and the beautifully choreographed mise en scene recalls the fluid Hungarian pageants of Miklos Jancso in the 60s and 70s. Originally 192 minutes long, the film was recut by Jia to its current 155 minutes and improved in the process. In Mandarin with subtitles. (JR)


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