Jean Collet was a French writer, film theorist and university professor. He worked as a journalist at Télérama from 1959 to 1971, at the Cahiers du Cinéma from 1961 to 1968 and, from 1965 onwards, as a film critic for the magazine Études. The Nouvelle vague held a central position in his oeuvre and life. For him, Truffaut, Chabrol, Rivette, Rohmer, Godard and Douchet “had revealed the lettres de noblesse [letters patent of nobility]” of a cinema considered as mere entertainment and showed that films were real “mille-feuilles”. Collet was also keen to make film a discipline in its own right in the universities. He created the cinema departments at Paris VII in 1970, at the University of Dijon in 1972 and at the University of Caen in 1974. In 1963, he wrote the first book on Jean-Luc Godard, which was republished several times and translated into many languages. He was the coordinator of the Neuilly-sur-Seine film club for 25 years. His bibliography consists of, among others, Jean-Luc Godard (1963), Le cinéma en question, Rozier, Chabrol, Rivette, Truffaut, Demy, Rohmer (1972), Le cinéma de François Truffaut (1977), François Truffaut (1985), La création selon Fellini (1990), Après le film (1999), John Ford, la violence et la loi (2003), Petite théologie du cinéma (2014) and L’art de voir un film (2015).
“La critique est l’art d'aimer, et le critique doit défendre humblement et courageusement ce qu’il aime.”
Collet’s analysis of The River (Jean Renoir, 1951) (no English subtitles), part of the extras of a French DVD edition: