Honorary Award. Cahiers du Cinéma

The value of film critique relies on its ability to provide guidance for the interpretation and analysis of films and, in this way, to afford well-grounded criteria for judgement. It is an exercise combining intelligence, sensitivity and imagination. Ultimately, film critique should be understood as an important tool furnished to society, not only so that it can establish a common ground about cinema as an art, but also to understand films as spaces of dialogue open to the play of giving and demanding reasons. In that sense, film critique is the opposite of mere promotion or the expression of personal preference. We could well state that the exclusive commitment of a good film review should always be with artistic truth.

It is also an uncontested fact that art critique has played a major role in the history of cinema. It is something we see, for instance, in the controversies surrounding certain films, or in the need to explore new ways of film creation, perhaps because inherited ones did not manage to capture the zeitgeist or deal with its real issues. A controversy of that kind was precisely behind the founding of Cahiers du Cinéma, possibly the most influential and internationally renowned film journal, which, from its very inception, upheld a staunch, militant defence of cinema’s artistic dimension.

Cahiers du Cinéma was created in 1951 by some of the most significant figures in film theory: André Bazin, Eric Rohmer and Jacques Doniol-Valcroze. It has featured contributions by François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Luc Godard, among many others. Throughout more than seventy years, Cahiers has provided testimony of the history of audiovisual language. Ruptures, pressing issues, shifts, in other words, its evolution from the initial backing of film d’auteur, to the acknowledgement of the 1970s political struggles or, at present, the integration of cinema in a future in which Internet seems to be the guiding force of the audiovisual industry. Cinematically and culturally speaking, talking of Cahiers du Cinéma is to talk about one of the most far-reaching editorial projects of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

These were the reasons why the 12th Muestra de Cine de Lanzarote decided to grant Cahiers du Cinéma its Honorary Award. In consonance with the rationale it has defended for many years, with this award the Muestra wishes to pay tribute to individuals, projects and institutions which, while not occupying the cover page of what we could call “the world of cinema”, are absolutely essential for any proper understanding of its history and development. Without Cahiers du Cinéma, the history of cinema would have been very different and probably much less interesting and committed.