Anthology Film Archives


May 29 – June 5

Iconoclastic French filmmaker Marcel Hanoun (1929-2012) debuted his first feature film, UNE SIMPLE HISTOIRE (1959), to relatively widespread acclaim – the film was featured at the New York Film Festival, and garnered praise not only from the likes of Jonas Mekas and Noël Burch, but even from such typically conservative sources as Variety and Time Magazine. The rest of his long and productive career, however, was marked by incomprehension and grievous neglect, especially abroad. Despite the sustained advocacy of a handful of admirers (including Mekas, who continued to promote his films throughout the 1960s and 70s, and helped induct three of them – UNE SIMPLE HISTOIRE, L’HIVER, and LE PRINTEMPS – into Anthology’s Essential Cinema repertory collection), Hanoun easily qualifies as one of the most unfairly overlooked and under-screened filmmakers of the past half-century.

Hanoun did live long enough to enjoy the honor of a comprehensive retrospective in 2010 at the Cinémathèque Française, the culmination of a major project undertaken by the Cinémathèque to collect and preserve many of his films. And his death in 2012 inspired further programs at several film festivals. Anthology is deeply gratified to extend these tributes to North America, with the first major U.S. retrospective of Hanoun’s work since the 1970s, featuring preserved prints imported from the Cinémathèque Française and newly-translated subtitles for virtually every film. An artist who deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Robert Bresson, Jean-Luc Godard, Philippe Garrel, and Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, Hanoun made films with an uncompromising independence, formal rigor, and unceasing creativity, and his work is long overdue for recognition in the U.S.

“I have not a drop of doubt that Marcel Hanoun is the most important and the most interesting French filmmaker since Bresson. […] [T]o the qualities which we are used to associate with Bresson – such as the total control of image, the economy of action and image, the precision, exactness, and almost puritan seriousness – Hanoun has added sensuousness, lyricism of image, structural concern, and the eye and hand of the cameraman.” –Jonas Mekas

“Hanoun’s first and evident merit lies in tying explicitly and completely the reading of the film to its writing style, of making the spectator the narrator, just as the narrator is also a spectator. [A] modern contract if ever there was one, which Hanoun fulfills, by the way, better than Robbe-Grillet.” –Jean-Louis Comolli, CAHIERS DU CINÉMA

The retrospective is supported in part by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States. Special thanks to Florence Almozini, Muriel Guidoni, and Myriam Laville (French Embassy); Emilie Cauquy & Monique Faulhaber (Cinémathèque Française); Pip Chodorov & Diana Vidrascu (Re:Voir); Victor Gresard (Collectif Jeune Cinema); Françoise Levie (Memento Production); and Ted Fendt.

All films are in French with projected English subtitles, unless otherwise noted.

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