Michel Ciment, the renowned film critic and historian, passed away at the age of 85. Known for his distinctive voice on the popular French radio show “Masque et la Plume” on France Inter, Ciment had been a prominent figure in the world of cinema for over half a century.
Starting his career as a cinema writer during his studies, Ciment went on to contribute to the magazine Positif in 1963, initially as a critic and later as its director.
His passion for radio led him to become a regular critic on “Masque et la Plume” since 1970, making it the oldest broadcast on France Inter. He also served as the producer of “Private Projection” on France Culture from 1990 to 2016.
Jérôme Garcin, the producer of “Masque et la Plume,” expressed his condolences, stating, “The entire Masque et la Plume family has lost one of its closest members.”
He further described Ciment as “perhaps the freest, most encyclopedic spirit that film criticism has ever produced.” Garcin, who has hosted the show for 34 years, highlighted the immense contribution Ciment made to the world of cinema.
Throughout his career, Ciment not only wrote several collective works but also penned books, collections of interviews, and biographies. Notably, he explored the works of Stanley Kubrick and delved into American cinema with “The Conquerors of a New World.”
His knowledge and expertise were not limited to writing; Michel Ciment also shared his insights with younger generations by teaching courses on American civilization at Diderot-Paris VII University.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Ciment was awarded the first Maurice Bessy prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994. This prestigious award honored individuals who made significant contributions to cinematographic writing.
Gilles Jacob, former president of the Cannes Film Festival, paid tribute to Ciment, stating that he had fought for cinema throughout his life.
Adèle van Reeth, the director of France Inter, also acknowledged Ciment’s impact, referring to him as a reference in film criticism. She expressed her heartfelt thoughts for his loved ones, Jérôme Garcin, and the entire “Masque” team.
Michel Ciment’s legacy as a film critic and historian will continue to inspire and guide future generations in their appreciation and understanding of the art of cinema. His immense knowledge, passion, and dedication have left an indelible mark on the world of film criticism.