David Hare’s Cinema Reborn Favourite – Jacques Becker’s LE TROU (France, 1960)

Trou Hare 4Accompanying this piece are three screens from Jacques Becker’s superb Le Trou (1960). His last film, and a testament to a stunning and barely acknowledged Pantheon career in French cinema. And perhaps my most personally important movie to screen at this year’s Cinema Reborn.

Trou HareI first saw Le Trou and two other Becker’s from the 50s, Casque d’ Or and the sublime marital comedy, Edouard et Caroline at the old Sydney Uni Film Group way, way back in 1968 during my first year at that formerly hallowed establishment, and in the prime of my own youthful cinephilia. It was thanks then to the ongoing cinephilic force of brothers Bruce and Barrett Hodsdon that kept engaging my generation with the then ready availability of pristine 35mm prints from several old time “arthouse” distributors in Australia. 

Trou Hare2In the intervening half a century, it has taken the seemingly lone voice of Bertrand Tavernier in his momumental TV and cinema discursions into French cinema, Voyage a Travers le Cinéma Françaisto revive Becker’s reputation from the dead. Becker, like so many other figures had become almost invisible to several decades of cinephiles through sheer lack of presence

So for this title, indeed the whole repertoire at the 2019 edition of Cinema Reborn I commend Le Trou as a potentially astounding rediscovery for newcomers and old hands alike. It is almost hellishly frightening, if also exhilarating to consider that in the intervening 50 years, this title, and Becker’s work, as well as so many of this year’s Reborn films, including Alea’s extraordinary masterpiece, Memories of Underdevelopment are only now coming back into circulation I can only add the program this year is a critically necessary jolt in the arm for Sydney cinephilia, or lack of it. Long may CR live on. 

Trou Hare 3The new restoration for Studio Canal from CNC is stupendous and comes as part of the totality of Becker’s work, which CNC has systematically worked over through several years for rights-holders, StudioCanal and Gaumont.

The restoration of eight + Becker titles and their recent release on Blu-ray is in itself emerging from something which appears to a newly-endangered situation.  2019 has seen a round of savage French government budget cuts to the arts including a reduction of CNC’s average 9 million Euros a year for digital and physical restorations of movies down to 2.2 million.

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Author: Cinema Reborn

A site devoted to news and information about Cinema Reborn's festivals of classic film restorations

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