Daney, Serge (1944–1992) By Anderson, Joel Neville
Serge Daney was regarded as one of the greatest film critics in French intellectual culture. For Jean-Luc Godard, his untimely demise signalled the end of criticism as Godard knew it (Godard and Ishaghpour 2005: 9). Popularly hailed as heir to André Bazin, Daney began writing for the influential film magazine Cahiers du cinéma in 1964, observing a transition from auteurism to a structuralist examination of the ideological functions of cinema, semiotics, and psychoanalysis. Daney served as editor-in-chief of Cahiers with Serge Toubiana from 1974, ushering in a return to cinephilia, before moving to the leftist daily newspaper Libération in 1981. Daney’s popularity in North America grew as he wrote about televised feature films, commercials, and news coverage of the Gulf War. In regular intellectual exchanges with Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, and Roland Barthes, Daney wrote about cinema autobiographically, gay life, and his world travels, while lyrically analyzing a transition from modern cinema to postmodern media. Daney’s ethic of the image described a mode of seeing that was resistant to a dominant visuality, which encouraged reading procedures of technological, political, or military power close to Guy Debord’s society of the spectacle. He founded the interdisciplinary quarterly Trafic in 1991, and died of AIDS-related causes the following year.