How to Not Make a Canadian Film (Canada, 1967)
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N A T I O N A L A N D T R A N S N A T I O N A L C I N E M A S • 161 HOW TO NOT MAKE A CANADIAN FILM (Canada, 1967) Claude Jutra 1) Choose an uncommercial subject, so intimate as to be indecent, uninteresting, futile, immoral, sordid, etc. . . . 2) Make yourself a big star, and crowd around with old pals. 3) Don’t write a line of script, but improvise day by day, not too seriously, but convincing yourself the result will be coherent and significant. 4) Shoot everything in 16mm black and white, with makeshift equipment. 5) Have your best friends participate, call them to meetings with only a few minutes’ notice at any hour of the day or night; make them understand they’re working for the sake of Art, and not at all for vile pecuniary considerations. 6) For the inevitable expenditures, borrow money from the bank and have your loan endorsed by members of your family and their friends; get what you need as credit, and if that isn’t enough, find a friend who’s rich enough and idiotic enough to invest a few thousand dollars of his own in the doubtful enterprise. 7) Most of all, don’t worry about getting distribution guarantees. If you take good care not to commit any of these horrible mistakes, you’ll avoid the following vexations: a) wasting many precious years of your life; b) being in debt for many years to come; c) looking desperately for someone to whom to “sell” your film; d) suffering shame from the critics, or what’s worse, humiliation from an indifferent public; Nevertheless . . . a) if these drawbacks are overcome by your passion for cinema; b) if creative freedom gives you an inexpressible joy; 162 • N A T I O N A L A N D T R A N S N A T I O N A L C I N E M A S c) . . . and if succeeding in an enterprise that common sense has already condemned gives you an exquisite enjoyment; d) if you are willing to put your friendships to the test in the hope of making them closer at the end; e) if modesty is not one of your handicaps; f) or if you simply want to make a Canadian film . . . here is my advice: 1) Choose an uncommercial subject, so intimate as to be indecent, etc., etc., etc. . . . FROM “THE ESTATES GENERAL OF THE FRENCH CINEMA, MAY 1968” (France, 1968) Thierry Derocles, Michel Demoule, Claude Chabrol, and Marin Karmitz [First published in French as “Etats généraux du cinéma français,” Cahiers du cinéma 203 (1968): 42–60. First published in English in Screen 13, no. 4 (1972–1973): 58–89.] In the aftermath of May ’68, French film directors (whose actions in many ways precipitated the events of May with the uprisings around l’Affaire Langlois in February 1968) came together to radically reimagine the French cinema in light of the recent student and workers strikes. Below is perhaps the most utopian and anticapitalist report in the series issued by the Estates General in its call for a new, egalitarian, politically engaged cinema. PROJECT 4 Proposed by Thierry Derocles and drawn up by Michel Demoule, Claude Chabrol, Marin Karmitz. This was considered to be totally utopian by some and by others (a growing number, it’s true) as the only truly revolutionary project presented. It was to this uniqueness that it owed its extremely positive role of stimulus, agitation, and provocation of bad faith. But its role was also in some senses a negative one. Its defenders opposed the final project so violently that they prevented any serious debate, and this hinged on a confusion which was never brought out: should the new structures in question at Suresnes be concerned with a militant, politicised and revolutionary cinema, or should they rather simply organise and improve the conditions of that same consumers’ cinema—albeit coloured by political consciousness—which we have to deal with in France. (Cahiers du Cinéma) ...