Born in 1938, Michel Ciment is a film critic, writer and Honorary President of the international critics’ association FIPRESCI. But, above all, this editor of the French film periodical ‘Positif’ is an institution.
The Berlin International Film Festival owes a lot to Ciment: in 1976 he was a member of the International Jury and, as the festival’s foreign delegate for the Official Programme, he has for many years advised the Festival Director and the Berlinale’s Selection Committee. It’s highly unusual for a film critic to be the subject of a film; however, in Michel Ciment’s case it is entirely logical. Writer Peter Stephan Jungk recently met Ciment in Paris and portrayed him for his series of publications, “Im Kino mit …”: “If there were a king of film reviewing, then his name would be Michel Ciment. He is virtually unknown in Germany, yet in France and in Anglo-Saxon countries he is revered as practically no other living practitioner of his craft. He has published books of his wonderful conversations with Joseph Losey, Elia Kazan and Stanley Kubrick; he has made documentaries with numerous film directors and is the driving force behind the monthly film magazine ‘Positif’. Every Saturday afternoon he presents a radio programme on film for France Culture. He recently published a 740-page compendium entitled ‘Petite planète cinématographique’ which contains interviews he has conducted with film directors from thirty countries during the past fifty years.” (Quoted from: Die Welt Online, www.welt.de, published 13 June, 2009)