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What is Cinema?

10 February 2012 | Cinema Masterpieces | by David Zou

chacun son cinema(to each his cinema)

Cinema,movie,film,whatever you call it,this young art form made us all crazy about it.Have you ever thought of the question:What is Cinema?  Well,you might have heard of the name of a book by the great Andre Bazin,but have you really given a deep thought about the essence of the art you almost appreciate everyday? This might be the biggest and toughest question for any film buffs to answer,a thousand people might have a thousand answers since everyone’s film experience is quite different.

In 2007,to celebrate the 60th birthday of Cannes Festival,the organizing committee invited 35 director who had won certain award here before to each shoot a 3-minute short,the subject is exactly “What is Cinema“.It is easily to find familiar names here in the director list but the real value of this short is how every filmmaker view cinema in their own perspective and express it in their personal way,and it is really interesting to watch how those masters manage to tell a story in such limited time.

 This film is called Chacun son cinéma(To Each His Own Cinema) ,I will present some screen shots from the film in the form of slideshow and try to give you guys a general sense of how this film looks like.This is my favorite shorts collage film,hope you guys will enjoy it too!!

Here is a whole list of the names of the shorts and directors:

Theodoros Angelopoulos (segment “Trois Minutes”) (as Théo Angelopoulos)
Olivier Assayas (segment “Recrudescence”)
Bille August (segment “The Last Dating Show”)
Jane Campion (segment “The Lady Bug”)
Youssef Chahine (segment “47 Ans Après”)
Kaige Chen (segment “Zhanxiou Village”)
Michael Cimino (segment “No Translation Needed”)
Ethan Coen (segment “World Cinema”)
Joel Coen (segment “World Cinema”)
David Cronenberg (segment “At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World in the Last Cinema in the World”)
Jean-Pierre Dardenne (segment “Dans l’Obscurité”)
Luc Dardenne (segment “Dans l’Obscurité”)
Manoel de Oliveira (segment “Rencontre Unique”)
Raymond Depardon (segment “Cinéma d’Eté”)
Atom Egoyan (segment “Artaud Double Bill”)
Amos Gitai (segment “Le Dibbouk de Haifa”)
Alejandro González Iñárritu (segment “Anna”)
Hsiao-hsien Hou (segment “The Electric Princess House”)
Aki Kaurismäki (segment “La Fonderie”)
Abbas Kiarostami (segment “Where is my Romeo?”)
Takeshi Kitano (segment “One Fine Day”)
Andrey Konchalovskiy (segment “Dans le Noir”) (as Andrei Konchalovsky)
Claude Lelouch (segment “Cinéma de Boulevard”)
Ken Loach (segment “Happy Ending”)
David Lynch (segment “Absurda”) (special edition)
Nanni Moretti (segment “Diaro di uno Spettatore”)
Roman Polanski (segment “Cinéma Erotique”)
Raoul Ruiz (segment “Le Don”)
Walter Salles (segment “A 8 944 km de Cannes”)
Elia Suleiman (segment “Irtebak”)
Ming-liang Tsai (segment “It’s a Dream”)
Gus Van Sant (segment “First Kiss”)
Lars von Trier (segment “Occupations”)
Wim Wenders (segment “War in Peace”)
Kar Wai Wong (segment “I Travelled 9000 km To Give It To You”)
Yimou Zhang (segment “En Regardant le Film”)

You can find it here on youtube if you are interested.

OK,so WHAT IS CINEMA in your sense?





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  • “Occupations” was my favorite short of that film. My least favorite is Michel Cimino’s. His first project in more than a decade and it’s that.

    • Oh,the Las Von Trier one,yes,that’s typical him,and I also enjoyed it a lot.Is Micheal Cimino overrated?I can only remember his DEER HUNTER.

      • Well, Cimino had a great start in the early 70s as a screenwriter and his first film as a director in Thunderbolt & Lightfoot was a critical success that starred Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges. Then came The Deer Hunter which was his biggest success as it won Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. Just after he had won the Oscar, he got to make his dream project and he fucked himself up big time with 1980’s Heaven’s Gate. This $44 million revisionist western about the Johnson County Wars in Montana was this very bloated and mess of a film (though it’s not the total disaster people says it is due to some amazing art direction, David Mansfield’s lush score, and Vilmos Zsigmond’s cinematography) that really put a nail in the coffin of Auteur-driven American cinema. His career never recovered as he did make two more films in the 1980s in 1985’s Year of the Dragon and 1987’s The Sicilian (both of which had some good reviews, notably the latter in its director’s cut) while he would make 2 more in the 1990s in a remake of Desperate Hours in 1990 with Mickey Rourke and Anthony Hopkins and his last feature film with 1996’s The Sunchaser with Woody Harrelson. Neither of those films were well-received. He is someone who had burned so many bridges due to his ego. He’s an interesting filmmaker I would love to do a subject on but I still need to see all of his work.

        • He indeed looks like an interesting director,he might be the only few which won an oscar and then went downhills after that.I have heard the Heaven’s Gate story,one of the greatest box-office lose in Hollywood history,but still worth a watch,just like Cleopatra.I’d like to read some article about him on your blog.