Michel Ciment, a renowned French movie reviewer and editor of Positif magazine for many years, passed away at the age of 85. The magazine announced his death on their social media platforms, recognizing him as the “mastermind” behind Positif’s success during his six-decade tenure.
Born in Paris in 1938, Ciment fell in love with cinema as a student, and joined Positif in 1968, becoming editorial director in 1973; he said he admired Positif over Cahiers du Cinéma because the magazine was “left wing” and influenced by surrealism. Ciment published a string of books about prominent film directors, including Kazan by Kazan (1973), Conversations with Losey (1979) and Stanley Kubrick (1980).
John Boorman, the filmmaker from Britain known for directing Point Blank and Deliverance, was featured in Ciment’s book Boorman: A Visionary in His Time in 1985. In an interview with the Guardian, Boorman stated, “To say that Michel was passionate about cinema would be an understatement. He lived and breathed cinema in every aspect of his life. I held great affection and admiration for him; he was a unique individual with diverse ideas that he always stood by.”
Boorman, a frequent writer for the magazine Positif, stated: “It wasn’t sufficient to simply enjoy the film he was promoting, you had to adore it. He had a strong passion for cinema and was the final member of the small group that definitively determined whether a film was good or bad. He would hold editorial meetings on Sunday mornings over coffee and croissants to discuss content for the magazine; opinions were passionately held and if you disagreed with Michel, you had to be absolutely certain of your reasoning!”
According to social media, Gilles Jacob, the ex-president of the Cannes film festival, stated that Michel Ciment was not just a renowned critic and historian, but also had a deep interest in cinema and art.