July 29, 2020

Years & Movies: 1966

According to FilmGourmand, Claude Lelouch's film "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)" was recognized as the best film of the world cinema of 1966.

The premiere of the film "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)" took place on May 10, 1966 at the Cannes International Film Festival. At this film festival, Claude Lelouch's film was awarded the Palme d'Or (tied with Italian comedy "Signore & signori (The Birds, the Bees and the Italians)" by Pietro Germi).

At the beginning of the next, 1967, year the film "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)" was awarded the American Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. At the same time, Lelouch's film bypassed the already mentioned film "Signore & signori (The Birds, the Bees and the Italians)", as well as the Soviet film "Hamlet" by Grigory Kozintsev and the Czechoslovak film "Lásky jedné plavovlásky (Loves of a Blonde)" by Milos Forman. Claude Lelouch was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director, but the award went to Fred Zinnemann for directing "A Man for All Seasons". But Anouk Aimée was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Actress.

Later, in the same 1967, Lelouch's film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. And Claude Lelouch himself, as in the case of the Golden Globe, lost the Oscar in the nomination for Best Director to Fred Zinnemann.

A year later, the film "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)" was nominated for the British BAFTA award, but again lost to the film "A Man for All Seasons". The company of relative "losers" to Lelouch's film were the films "Bonnie and Clyde" by Arthur Penn and "In the Heat of the Night" by Norman Jewison. And Anouk Aimée again won the Best Actress award.

In terms of professional film critics' reviews, Claude Lelouch's film is an example in which the opinions of critics diverged greatly from those of the cinematographic community and audiences. The eternal grouch and viper Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called the film just a successful combination of beautiful music and beautiful pictures. But the main problem of the film is the banality of its plot.

In a review of the famous Russian film critic Sergei Kudryavtsev, the following phrase attracted my attention: "The audience success of "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)" is clearly exaggerated - this picture did not make it to the list of the 200 highest grossing films in the history of French distribution". This phrase attracted attention because even today, more than half a century later, I distinctly remember how my parents and their friends then, in 1968, when the film was released on the screens of Soviet cinemas, went to watch it several times. And then, sharing their impressions, they groaned and sighed: "Ah, Trintignant, ah, Anouk Aimée!" For me, then a fourth-grader, of course, more interesting were "Old Surehand" by Alfred Vohrer or "La grande vadrouille" by Gérard Oury, which came out around the same time. But I whistled the melody from "A Man and A Woman", like most of my peers.

In fact, the film "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)" in the Soviet Union attracted nearly 28 million moviegoers. And this despite the fact that the film went under the certification "Children under 16 are not allowed." For comparison: in the same 1968, Stanislav Rostotsky's film masterpiece "We'll Live Till Monday" was released without any restrictions. So, Rostotsky's film was watched by 31 million Soviet moviegoers. Not much more, and that's in the absence of restrictions. And in France itself, the film was watched by 4.2 million moviegoers, which amounted to approximately 9% of the population, including the elderly and babies. And in terms of the number of viewers, the film "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)" among the French films in the French film distribution in 1966 took the third place, yielding only to the already mentioned "La grande vadrouille" and the film "Paris brûle-t-il? (Is Paris Burning?)" by René Clement. So, it is not clear what exactly Sergei Kudryavtsev understands by "audience success".

Therefore, the assessment of another Russian film critic, Evgeny Nefyodov, is probably more relevant to reality, who writes: "Prestigious awards that fell on "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)", and, most importantly, an unconditional commercial triumph that awaited the film as in its native country (4.27 million viewers), and almost everywhere abroad, became the test that a non-talented creator did not pass ... "

Modern moviegoers rated Claude Lelouch's film no less highly than audiences of the 60s. IMDB and Kinopoisk users all over the world gave the film ratings from 8 to 10, and every fifth user rated "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)" with the highest score - "ten".

Considering the above, FilmGourmand's rating for "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)" was 10.262, making it 30th in the Golden Thousand.

In addition to Claude Lelouch's film "Un homme et une femme (A Man and A Woman)", the following films were included in the "ten" best movies of world cinema of 1966:

- La battaglia di Algeri (The Battle of Algiers). Director Gillo Pontecorvo, Algeria. Movie's Rating - 9,059; 152nd Rank in the Golden Thousand.

- Il Buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly). Director Sergio Leone, Italy. Movie's Rating - 8,724; 236th Rank in the Golden Thousand.
- Blowup. Director Michelangelo Antonioni, Italy. Movie's Rating - 8,688; 247th Rank in the Golden Thousand.
- Ostře sledované vlaky (Closely Watched Trains). Director Jirí Menzel, Czechoslovakia. Movie's Rating - 8,677; 255th Rank in the Golden Thousand.
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Director Mike Nichols, USA. Movie's Rating - 8,576; 286th Rank in the Golden Thousand.

- Persona. Director Ingmar Bergman. Sweden. Movie's Rating - 8,193; 477th Rank in the Golden Thousand.
- Sult (Hunger). Director Henning Carlsen, Sweden. Movie's Rating - 8,188; 482nd Rank in the Golden Thousand.
- Республика ШКИД (The Republic SHKID). Director Gennadi Poloka, USSR. Movie's Rating - 8,173; 496th Rank in the Golden Thousand.
- Берегись автомобиля (Watch Out for the Automobile). Director Eldar Ryazanov, USSR. Movie's Rating - 8,166; 503rd Rank in the Golden Thousand.

10 most "cinegenic"*, in our opinion, events of 1966:

- Cultural Revolution. The "great proletarian cultural revolution" began in China. The true goal of the so-called "cultural revolution" was the removal from power of the ailing Mao Zedong's competitors, first of all, the President of the People's Republic of China Liu Shaoqi.
- Plane crash over Palomares. A US Air Force B-52 bomber with a thermonuclear weapon on board collided with a tanker aircraft over Spain. As a result of the disaster, 7 people were killed and four thermonuclear bombs were lost. Three of them fell on land and were found immediately. The fourth, which fell into the sea, was found only 2 months later.
- "The Argentine Revolution." In Argentina, Generals Ongania, Levingston, and Lanusse organized a military coup that overthrew the democratically elected President, Arturo Illia, and established a military dictatorship for many years.
- Ransom of political prisoners. West Germany "bought" 2,600 political prisoners from East Germany, paying for their release with consumer goods in the amount of $ 24.25 million.
- Trial on Sinyavsky and Daniel. In the USSR, the court sentenced Sinyavsky and Daniel on charges of "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda" to 7 and 5 years of the colony, respectively. 63 prominent Soviet writers declared support of Sinyavsky and Daniel.
- The first-ever landing on the Moon. The Soviet automatic interplanetary station "Luna-9" for the first time in history made a landing on the Moon and transmitted to the Earth panoramas of the lunar landscape.
- "Texas sniper". Former US Army Marine Charles Whitman, after killing his wife and mother in their homes, barricaded himself at the top of the 28-story tower of the University of Texas and for an hour and a half shot at people on the street. In total, Whitman killed 16 and injured 32 people before police shot him dead.
- Tashkent earthquake. The earthquake in Tashkent (Uzbekistan, USSR) left 300,000 people homeless. At the same time, the death toll turned out to be relatively small, compared to similar disasters in other regions of the Earth - 8 people.
- Inter-Korean clashes. In order to distract the population from economic problems DPRK leadership organized a series of armed provocations on the border with South Korea, as a result of which not less than 30 soldiers and 10 civilians of South Korea were killed.
- The escape of George Blake. British intelligence agent George Blake, who was sentenced to 42 years in prison for spying for the Soviet Union, escaped from Wormwood Scrubs prison in London. Other prisoners in the prison, including IRA fighters, helped the Soviet spy escape. The escape was funded by the acclaimed British Academy Award-winning director Tony Richardson.

In addition Helen Bonham Carter, Irene Jacob were born.

* -With "cinematic" in the present context, we mean events that either have already found their reflection in world cinema, or deserve to become the basis of the plot of a future film.