Monthly Archives: May 1974

Glissements Progressifs du Plaisir & Don’t Touch the White Woman

I suspect that the easiest money I’ve ever made in my

entire life as a writer was the year I mainly supported

myself, 1974-75, during my fifth and final year of living

in Paris, by writing capsule film reviews for a monthly

magazine in English called Oui — a joint publishing

effort of Hugh Hefner in Chicago and Daniel Fillipachi

(the publisher of Lui and, for a long stretch in the 1960s,

Cahiers du Cinéma) in Paris. At a time when I was struggling

to make ends meet -– my inheritance money having run

out, and my other freelance jobs being few and far

between -– my life was virtually saved by Terry Curtis Fox,

a Chicago-based associate editor of Oui, who engaged

me to write reviews for the magazine on a regular basis.

If memory serves, this paid $50 a review (a fortune

at the time), and I could pretty much select which films

I wrote about as long as the two-page section of the magazine

called “Prevue” could meet its monthly “tits and ass”

quotient with its illustrations, which the magazine gathered

on its own. So I wound up writing about the latest films of

Jacques Rivette, Robert Bresson, Carmelo Bene, Maurice

Pialat, Alain Resnais, and everything else I could find that

interested me, usually averaging two or three reviews per

issue, starting off with the latest films of Alain Robbe-

Grillet and Marco Ferreri in their May 1974 issue.Read more »

Paris Journal (May-June 1974)

From Film Comment (May-June 1974). Apart from my responses here to Malle, Whale, and Fejos, I no longer identify with most of what I wrote here, over 41 years later. Much of this -– especially my reactions to Ferreri and The Great Garrick — was strongly influenced at the time by my friendship with the late Eduardo de Gregorio. –  J.R.

 

 Toucher-pas-la-femme-blanche

The word is out that Marco Ferreri’s TOUCHE PAS LA FEMME BLANCHE (DON’T TOUCH THE WHITE WOMAN) isn’t making it at the box office. The notion of staging a semi-political, semi-nonsensical Western in Les Halles seems to be bewildering French audiences, even when they laugh, and neither the presence of Michel Piccoli, Marcello Mastroianni, Philippe Noiret, and Ugo Tognazzi, nor the singular glace of Catherine Deneuve as the white woman, appears to have turned the trick. Our local Philistine, Thomas Quinn Curtiss in the International Herald Tribune, was distinctly sourced by the experience: “The subject is certainly serviceable for caricature, but Ferreri’s hand is so clumsy that the result is rather a burlesque of the cow operas of his homeland…All is grotesque, but nothing is funny in this wild, tasteless travesty that consistently misses its targets.” When I mentioned liking the film to a French colleague on the phone, I can almost swear I heard an audible shudder creep across the lines.… Read more »