A.S. Hamrah reviews Charles Drazin’s French Cinema, “less a history of filmmaking in France than an investigation of the American response to it as seen through British eyes.” He starts with a personal anecdote:
The American reaction against French cinema can be pretty extreme, and I bet every cinephile has experienced it. Once I took a date to a screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s splintery 1964 movie Une femme mariée. Hectoring questions began as soon as we left the theater. “Why would you take me to that?” my date demanded to know. “Why? What possible reason?” “You didn’t like the movie?” I asked in a lighthearted, nonchalant way. “I did not!” she replied, tomahawking her palm, and no amount of post-screening discussion with wine (not French) could make up for whatever it was Godard and I had inflicted on her. The only worse movie date I ever had was in college when I took a girl to see Eraserhead. She cried.
I like French movies, but I’ve always been much more of a Truffaut fan than a Godard fan. That statement probably pisses off both snooty cinephiles who don’t agree with the preference and American populists who sneer at even having a preference.
Read Hamrah’s entire review here.