|First issue||April 1951|
Cahiers du Cinéma (French pronunciation: [kaje dy sinema], Notebooks on Cinema) is a French film magazine founded in 1951 by André Bazin, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, and Joseph-Marie Lo Duca. It developed from the earlier magazine Revue du Cinéma (Review of the Cinema established in 1928) involving members of two Paris film clubs--Objectif 49 (Objective 49) (Robert Bresson, Jean Cocteau, and Alexandre Astruc, among others) and Ciné-Club du Quartier Latin (Cinema Club of the Latin Quarter).
Initially edited by Doniol-Valcroze and, after 1957, by Éric Rohmer (Maurice Scherer), it included amongst its writers Jacques Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and François Truffaut. It is the oldest French-language film magazine in publication.
The first issue of Cahiers appeared in April 1951. A 1954 article by Truffaut attacked La qualité française ("the French Quality") (usually translated as "The Tradition of Quality") and was the manifesto for 'la politique des Auteurs' which Andrew Sarris later termed the auteur theory — resulting in the re-evaluation of Hollywood films and directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, Jerry Lewis, Robert Aldrich, Nicholas Ray, and Fritz Lang.
Cahiers du Cinema authors also championed the work of directors Jean Renoir, Roberto Rossellini, Kenji Mizoguchi, Max Ophüls, and Jean Cocteau, by centering their critical evaluations on a film's mise en scène. In turn, auteurs were compared and contrasted, and a true film dialogue was established. The magazine also was essential to the creation of the Nouvelle Vague, or New Wave, of French cinema, which centered on films directed by Cahiers authors such as Godard and Truffaut. Movement by movement, style by style, the cahiers sought to advance and analyze the growth of world cinema.
Jacques Rivette replaced Rohmer as editor in 1963, shifted political and social concerns and paid more attention to the non-Hollywood cinema. The style moved through literary modernism in the early 1960s to radicalism and dialectical materialism by 1970. Moreover, during the mid-1970s the magazine was run by a Maoist editorial collective. In the mid-1970s, a review of the American film Jaws marked the magazine's return to more commercial perspectives, and an editorial turnover: (Serge Daney, Serge Toubiana, Thierry Jousse, Antoine de Baecque, and Charles Tesson). It led to the rehabilitation of some of the old Cahiers favourites, as well as some new film makers like Manoel de Oliveira, Raoul Ruiz, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Youssef Chahine, and Maurice Pialat. Recent writers have included Serge Daney, Serge Toubiana, Thierry Jousse, Antoine de Baecque, Vincent Ostria, Charles Tesson and André Téchiné, Léos Carax, Olivier Assayas, Danièle Dubroux, and Serge Le Péron.
In 1998, the Editions de l'Etoile (the company publishing Cahiers) was acquired by the press group Le Monde. Traditionally losing money, the magazine attempted a make-over in 1999 to gain new readers, leading to a first split among writers and resulting in a magazine addressing all visual arts in a post-modernist approach. This version of the magazine printed ill-received opinion pieces on reality TV or video games that confused the traditional readership of the magazine.
Le Monde took full editorial control of the magazine in 2003, appointing Jean-Michel Frodon as editor-in-chief.
In February 2009, Cahiers was acquired from Le Monde by Richard Schlagman, also owner of Phaidon Press, a worldwide publishing group which specialises in books on the visual arts. In July 2009, Stéphane Delorme and Jean-Philippe Tessé have been promoted respectively as editor-in-chief and deputy chief editor.
The magazine has compiled a list of the top 10 films of each year for much of its existence.