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André Bazin

(1918—1958)


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(1918–58)

Frenchfilm critic, co-founder and editor of the highly influential journal Cahiers du cinéma, the key organ of auteur theory. His essays, published posthumously in a four-volume set entitled Qu'est-ce que le cinema? (1958–62), translated as What is Cinema? (1967–71) were a major influence on the young nouvelle vague directors. Bazin was one of the first critics to write about cinema as a specific kind of artform and though some of his ideas have dated, he nonetheless deserves credit as one of the founders of the field of film studies. Bazin constantly sought to determine what is possible in cinema. He was one of the first to appreciate the possibilities of montage. He was also a great classifier of films and was always ready to invent a new genre to accommodate a new kind of film. Cinema, Bazin famously said, is an art of the real. Not because of its subject matter, however, but rather because the aesthetic space it creates is one that commands our credulity. We believe in what we see on the screen, even if we don't believe what we see is factual or truthful, because we believe in the objectivity of the mechanical recording device used to create it.

Further Reading:

D. Andrew The Major Film Theories (1976).

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art — Literature.


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