Festival Des 3 Continents

At the end of the 1970s, the cinema was emerging from years troubled by politics. The period of « everything is politics» was over and we could at last again say « cinema is an ART » and, above all, that there were artists to make it. Moreover, the third-world vision of the world allowed us to look at countries ignored by most, but reduced this opening to ideological and economic concepts. Thus, films favoured content over form, leaving aside the specific creation of a cinematographic language.

In Nantes, as in the rest of France, after the dark years following 1968, cinematographic activity started up again around 1972, leaving aside Marxist dialect and image semiology and focusing on creation and the notion of auteurs.

In accordance with its well-established auterist habit, France, until then, had showcased a few well-known creators from the 3 continents, while ignoring many others. Mizoguchi, Kurosawa (Japan), Satyajit Ray (India), Torre Nilsson (Argentina), Nelson Pereira dos Santos (Brazil), Emilio Fernandez (Mexico) were discovered thanks to a few, often the same films, which were shown in film societies before going out of fashion. Others took their place in the 1960s and 1970s, Nagisa Oshima from Japan, Lino Brocka from the Philippines, Glauber Rocha from Brazil, thanks to the (justified) lobbying of certain enthusiasts (eg. PierreRissient in the case of Brocka). Glauber Rocha, who was linked to Godard, formed part of the « Cinema Novo » cinematographic movement in Brazil, and was the only one, I believe, to have been able to promote himself in Europe. It should be said, for its misfortune, that the coup d’état chased many filmmakers from Brazil.

We were able to meet the Brazilian filmmakers present at the Venice Festival in 1969 and the Berlin Forum in 1972.

In general, filmmakers present at the 3 Continents had until 1979 only a partial, limited and fragmented presence in the rest of Europe, in conditions which gave them only much reduced visibility. Their films were eclipsed in international festivals by European and U.S. films, without mentioning their almost non-existent distribution.

Thus, the Cannes Festival in 1978 had programmed Bye Bye Brazil by Carlos Diegues on the same day as Apocalypse Now by Coppola which monopolized everybody’s attention. It was also at this time that we saw in Cannes the very beautiful film The Chess Players lost in a cinema in the rue d’Antibes in front of 10 people. Ray had been forgotten for a long time by the Cannes Film Festival, his masterpiece Charulata (The Lonely Wife) had been refused and Satyajit Ray hurt. He vowed never to return to Cannes, whereas the presentation of his first film, Pather Panchali had propelled him to the foreground. At the time, Embassies played a larger role than “auteurs” at the Festival.


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