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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Decades Never Start on Time

A Richard Roud Anthology

ISBN 9781844576265
Publication Date August 2014
Formats Hardcover Paperback Ebook 
Publisher British Film Institute

Richard Roud, film writer and co-founder and director of the New York Film Festival, was one of the most influential film critics of the twentieth century. Renowned for his close relationships with French New Wave directors such as Godard and Truffaut, he played a key role in bringing European art cinema to the attention of American and British audiences.

This anthology brings together selected writings from his published works with previously unpublished archival material – from an unfinished study of Truffaut, to extracts from his books on film-makers such as Straub-Huillet and Ophüls, and articles for The Guardian and Sight & Sound. Charting Roud's journey through the world of film festivals and film criticism from the 1950s to the 1980s, Decades Never Start on Time provides a fascinating insight into the flourishing film culture of the era.

With a preface by David Thomson.

Michael Temple is Reader in Film and Media at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. He is author of Jean Vigo (2005) and co-editor of The French Cinema Book (2004) and Jean-Luc Godard: Documents (2006), among other titles.
Karen Smolens is the niece of Richard Roud. She attended her first New York Film Festival at age 13, where she saw her uncle moderate a press conference with Roberto Rossellini following a screening of The Rise of Louis XIV (1966). She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, USA.

Preface; David Thomson
Introduction; Michael Temple
Chronology; Karen Smolens
PART 1: 1956-1962
1.1 'Britain in America' 1.2 Max Ophüls: An Index (extract) 1.3 'Face to face: James Agee' 1.4 'Face to face: André Bazin' 1.5 'How to see a movie (in the USA)' 1.6 'Novel novel; fable fable?' 1.7 'National Film Theatre: the first ten years' 1.8 'The Left Bank: Marker, Varda, Resnais'
PART 2: 1963-1969 2.1 'Festival at the Lincoln Center' 2.2 'End of Bardolotry' 2.3 'Muriel observed' 2.4 'Cannes ho!' 2.5 'Rondo Galant: the world of Jacques Demy' 2.6 'The Red Desert' 2.7 'Object lesson' 2.8 'Anguish: Alphaville' 2.9 'New films' 2.10 'Film criticism in Britain' 2.11 'Masculin féminin' 2.12 'Far from Vietnam' 2.13 'A Langlois unto himself' 2.14 'Weekend in Paris' 2.15 'The end of the Cannes party' 2.16 'Minimal cinema: Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach' 2.17 'The Cossacks go in at Pesaro' 2.18 'If with no buts' 2.19 'Le Gai Savoir'
PART 3: 1970-1976 3.1 'The varieties of tyranny' 3.2 'Films to change the world?' 3.3 'Fathers and sons' 3.4 'Look back in shame' 3.5 'Going between' 3.6 'The international gravy train' 3.7 'Visconti misses the gondola' 3.8 Jean-Marie Straub (extracts) 3.9 'Daddy of 'em all' 3.10 'The dragon…'3.11 'It takes two to tango' 3.12 'How can we know the dancer from the dance?' 3.13 'Hollywood embers' 3.14 'Apple pie bedlam' 3.15 'The Rules of the Game' 3.16 'Hold the front page' 3.17 'The Passenger' 3.18 'Film of the century' 3.19 'Memorandum on processes of prospection and selection' 3.20 'Movies versus motion pictures'
PART 4: 1977-1983 4.1 'Henri Langlois' 4.2 'The Left Bank revisited' 4.3 'The baggy-trousered philanthropist' 4.4 'Robert Bresson' 4.5 'Feuillade and the serial' 4.6 'Jean Renoir to 1939' 4.7 'London and New York' 4.8 'Gross can be beautiful' 4.9 'Biter bit' 4.10 A Passion for Films (extracts) 4.11 'The first foreign-language film I ever saw…' 4.12 'Melville'
PART 5: 1984-1989 5.1 'Decades Never Start On Time' (extracts) 5.2 'The moral taste of Lotte Eisner' 5.3 'Remembering Losey' 5.4 'An Untitled Biography of Truffaut' (extract)


Topical in the best sense, these bulletins from the front are the first draft of film history.' - Film Comment
'Even before Andrew Sarris and Susan Sontag, Richard Roud was a key translator/programmer of continental cinema for the Anglo-American public, and it's extremely gratifying to finally have a collection of his film writing.' Jonathan Rosenbaum, Film Critic and Writer
'This new anthology put together by Michael Temple and Richard's neice Karen Smolens gives a vivid picture of the sort of writer he was and, behind the writer, of the man himself.' - Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, Sight & Sound
'A very enjoyable book for cinephiles to dip into... [Roud's writings] still seem fresh and urgent 40 years or more after most were filed.' - Geoffrey McNab, The Independent
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