André Cayatte,

According to Bertrand Tavernier




Actuzen Noussomestousdes AssassinsWe Are All Murderers by André Cayatte


"In seeing the films of André Cayatte again, I realized that his qualities are exactly the opposite of the faults he is accused of. He has a great interest in the world around him, he finds a personal way of talking about all the topics that others always claimed French cinema ignored. And he never gives up. The way he takes on the death penalty in We Are All Murderers (1952), probably his greatest film, and his way of filming death row inmates, in my view, has no equivalent in the cinema of his time. It will take several years to see Britain's Yield to the Night by Jack Lee Thompson, or the American picture, I Want to Live! by Robert Wise. Cayatte chronicled the daily life of those awaiting either grace or the guillotine, without ever nudging us toward a point of view. There are no special effects; everything is filmed in wide shot. He shows the guards who arrive in the early morning to come get the man about to be executed; they take off their shoes to make as little noise as possible to delay the fateful announcement. But there is no close-up of an untied shoelace. And this film features a variety of places, locations, set decor, often filmed in two shots: a cabin in the area, a street of a sort of slum, a deserted café. The cinema is also about installing a setting, efficiently, without overselling it. A brief scene strikes me in We Are All Murderers: the lawyer takes Mouloudji, the convict, to look for his military file. The officer who receives him is obstinate, there is nothing of use to them in the file. Impeccable set décor and attitude of the characters- it's wonderful!”


Interview by Aurélien Ferenczi

Categories: Lecture Zen