In 1958, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo caused a stir on La Croisette with its hypnotic credits... Alexandre Tylski is writer and director of the series "Blow Up" on Franco-German TV channel Arte. Cinema fanatic and film credit enthusiast, he talks about the evolution of this art, which represents the visual and musical identity of a film. So, what do the credits in the 2015 Selection have in store for us?
Who were the trailblazers?
They include Marcel L’Herbier with his spoken credits in the early 1930s, followed by Sacha Guitry and Orson Welles. Then came the super-graphic and metaphorical credits of Saul and Elaine Bass in the 50s - for Otto Preminger in particular - and Maurice Binder's colourful sequences for Stanley Donen and the James Bond films. The typographical and challenging credits of Jean-Luc Godard were next, not forgetting Alfred Hitchcock, and more recently, the work of Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton and Gaspar Noé.
Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo was honoured by the choreographer Benjamin Millepied at the opening of the 68th festival.
How credits have evolved over time
At first, films didn't have credits, but gradually they needed to be protected legally using titles or inserts. In 1910, actors were credited, then directors, and finally screenwriters were mentioned on screen. Over the decades, credits have evolved from an administrative requirement into a dream sequence, especially in the 30s, then in the 50/60s when the trend was for colour. Film credits were a sort of laboratory for experimenting with cinema and audiovisual techniques. Today, film credits serve as inspiration for the world of fashion, television, advertising, and more. They can even inspire the films themselves. For example, The Pink Panther had its theme tune before it was even a cartoon series!
The role of film credits in cinema today
The credits are a sequence with a narrative strategy, a means of signing and taking "credit" for a film, and each filmmaker uses them in their own way. Even Woody Allen, who tends to prefer very understated credits: in black and white, with the famous "Windsor font", makes his films identifiable. Sometimes, the credits may be a metaphor, a metonymy. They are the complex outskirts of cinema and the driving force behind films, a mosaic, a place for confidences and confessions…
Midnight in Paris opened the Festival de Cannes in 2011
Interview by Hannah Benayoun