Regards Sur: Le Mouvement Ouvrier; Le Cinéma; La Chanson

Collection Peuple et Culture aux Éditions du Seuil


Paris: Regards sur: Le Mouvement Ouvrier, 1951; Regards Neufs Sur Le Cinéma, 1953; Regards Neufs Sur La Chanson, 1954. All first editions. 16mo (15,5x12cm). Illustrated paper wrappers. 256pp/510pp/288pp. Text in French. Regards Neufs Sur La Chanson with the original advertisement from Éditions du Seuil’s Petite Planète laid in. Minor to moderate rubbing and creasing to spine, with moderate edge wear. Overall mild toning to pages. Contents clean and unmarked. Very good.

Peuple et Culture is a national movement of popular culture founded in 1944 by Benigno Cacérès and Joffre Dumazedier in Grenoble. Their idea was to carry forward the cultural class solidarity that they believed had been forged in the Résistance. One of Peuple et Culture’s main concern was to, “give culture back to the people and give the people back to culture”.

Others, such as the political journal Esprit or the publishing house Éditions du Seuil, pursued the same ideals of popular education and the distribution of culture. Aiming to stimulate discussion and engagement in the popular education movement, Peuple et Culture collaborated with Éditions du Seuil to create the series Regards Neufs, which was intended as a pedagogical tool for educators.

Chris Marker was directly involved in three issues, or so called manuals of the Regards Neufs series, published between 1952 and 1954, documenting Marker‘s versatility as a writer, designer, and editor.

Marker co-edited Regards sur le mouvement ouvrier with Benigno Cacérès and contributed several important essays to Regards neufs sur le cinéma, and Regards neufs sur la chanson, the latter of which he also designed and edited.

Regards sur Le Mouvement Ouvrier is more than just an anthology of the worker movement. It is a collection of documents on every day life; a letter, a speech, a corporate regulation, a list of fines, a report, a song, a poem of circumstances, a newspaper article, a court report, a simple cry. These documents were assembled and presented by Benigno Cacérès and Chris Marker.

Regards Neufs Sur Le Cinéma was intended to spread the knowledge about the art of cinema. The introduction is written by André Bazin and includes texts by Georges Méliès, Charles Chaplin, Jean Vigo, S. M. Eisenstein, Jean Cocteau, Robert Bresson, Gaston Bounoure, and many more. Chris Marker contributed two essays to this volume, one of which is his important essay of Carl Dreyer’s film The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), in which he argues that the function of close-ups in the film is to locate the film in the present.

[“The way in which Dreyer searches faces, the absence of make-up, are consequences of this necessity to place the story of Jeanne in the present, that is to say, in eternity, in order to make it tangible to the spectator even while diverting him from the reassuring framework of the past.”]

Chris Marker was deeply influenced by this film and its close-up from Joan of Arc, which is reflected throughout his work from La Jetée to the cover design of the Petite Planète series. The other text by Marker is a review of Jean Cocteau’s short film Le sang d’un poète [The Blood of a Poet].

Regards Neufs Sur La Chanson was directed and designed by Chris Marker and offers an overview of French folk songs. Marker also contributed the long essay Demi-dieux et doubles croches [Demi-gods and sixteenth notes], and is part of a conversation between a critic, Pierre Barlatier; an author, Francis Lemarque; a teacher, Solange Demolière; a folklorist, Maurice Delarue; and a listener, Chris Marker. This very playful publication also contains writings by Pierre Barlatier, Paul Delarue, Alfred Simon, and a Tour de Chant with Yves Montand, Édith Piaf, Catherine Sauvage, Charles Trenet, and others.

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