André Bazin

André Bazin (April 18, 1918 – November 11, 1958) was a renowned and influential French film critic and film theorist.

Biography

Bazin was born in Angers, France, in 1918. He started to write about film in 1943 and was a co-founder of the film magazine "Cahiers du cinéma" in 1951, along with Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Lo Duca.

Film criticism

Bazin was a major force in post-World War II film studies and criticism. In addition to editing "Cahiers" until his death, a four-volume collection of his writings was published posthumously from 1958 to 1962 and titled "Qu'est-ce que le cinéma?" ("What is Cinema?"). Two of these volumes were translated into English in the late 1960s and 1970s and became mainstays of film courses in the US and England.

Bazin argued for films that depicted what he saw as "objective reality" (such as documentaries and films of the Italian neorealism school) and directors who made themselves "invisible" (such as Howard Hawks). He advocated the use of deep focus (Orson Welles), wide shots (Jean Renoir) and the "shot-in-depth", and preferred what he referred to as "true continuity" through "mise en scène" over experiments in editing and visual effects. This placed him in opposition to film theory of the 1920s and 1930s which emphasized how the cinema can manipulate reality. The concentration on objective reality, deep focus, and lack of montage are linked to Bazin's belief that the interpretation of a film or scene should be left to the spectator.

Bazin believed that a film should represent a director's personal vision, rooted in the spiritual beliefs known as personalism. These ideas would have a pivotal importance on the development of the Auteur theory, which originated with Alexandre Astruc's 1948 article "The Birth of a New Avant-Garde: The Camera-Stylo," in the publication "L'Ecran francais." This was later expanded upon by Francois Truffaut in his 1954 article "A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema," published in "Arts: Cahiers." Bazin also is known as a proponent of "appreciative criticism," wherein only critics who like a film can write a review of it, thus encouraging constructive criticism.

Bazin in pop culture

*Truffaut dedicated "The 400 Blows" to Bazin, who died one day after shooting commenced on the film.
*Richard Linklater's film "Waking Life" features a discussion between Filmmaker Caveh Zahedi and poet David Jewell regarding some of Bazin's film theories. There is an emphasis on Bazin's Christianity and the belief that every shot is a representation of God manifesting creation.
*Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt" ("Le Mépris") (1963) opens with a quotation wrongly attributed to Bazin (in fact the author of the quotation is French film critic and playwright Michel Mourlet from his article "Sur un art ignoré" in "Cahiers du cinéma", no. 98).
*David Foster Wallace's novel "Infinite Jest" references Bazin in regards to film and film criticism.

Bibliography

In English:

* Bazin, André. (1967-71). "What is cinema? Vol. 1 & 2" (Hugh Gray, Trans., Ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0520020340
* Bazin, André. (1973). "Jean Renoir" (Francois Truffaut, Ed.; W.W. Halsey II & William H. Simon, Trans.). New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0671214640
* Bazin, André. (1978). "Orson Welles: a critical view". New York: Harper and Row. ISBN 0060102748
* Bazin, André. (1981). "French cinema of the occupation and resistance: The birth of a critical esthetic" (Francois Truffaut, Ed., Stanley Hochman, Trans.). New York: F. Ungar Pub. Co. ISBN 080442022X
* Bazin, André. (1982). "The cinema of cruelty: From Buñuel to Hitchcock" (Francois Truffaut, Ed.; Sabine d'Estrée, Trans.). New York: Seaver Books. ISBN 039451808X
* Bazin, André. (1985). "Essays on Chaplin" (Jean Bodon, Trans., Ed.). New Haven, Conn.: University of New Haven Press. LCCN 84-52687
* Bazin, André. (1996). "Bazin at work: Major essays & reviews from the forties and fifties" (Bert Cardullo, Ed., Trans.; Alain Piette, Trans.). New York: Routledge. (HB) ISBN 0415900174 (PB) ISBN 0415900182
* Bazin, André. (Forthcoming). "French cinema from the liberation to the New Wave, 1945-1958" (Bert Cardullo, Ed.)

In French:

*"La politique des auteurs", edited by André Bazin. Interviews with Robert Bresson, Jean Renoir, Luis Buñuel, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Michelangelo Antonioni, Carl Theodor Dreyer and Roberto Rossellini
*"Qu'est-ce que le cinéma?", by André Bazin, originally published 1958-1962. New edition: Les Éditions du CERF, 2003.

External links

* [http://www.unofficialbaziniantrib.com/ André Bazin : An Unofficial Tribute to The World-Renowned Film Critic and Film Theorist]
* [http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/feature/176 André Bazin - Divining the real (page on BFI)]
* [http://www.horschamp.qc.ca/new_offscreen/bazin_intro.html André Bazin: Part 1, Film Style Theory in its Historical Context]
* [http://horschamp.qc.ca/new_offscreen/bazin_intro2.html André Bazin: Part 2, Style as a Philosophical Idea]
*imdb name|id=0063336|name=André Bazin

Online essays

* [http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol6-2002/n1bazin "The Life and Death of Superimposition" (1946)]
* [http://www.film-philosophy.com/vol6-2002/n2bazin "Will CinemaScope Save the Film Industry?" (1953)]
* [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3768/is_200201/ai_n9057894 Andre Bazin on Rene Clement and literary adaptation: Two original reviews]
* [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3768/is_200201/ai_n9022115 Andre Bazin on Claude Autant-Lara and literary adaptation: Four original reviews]

ee also

*The André Bazin Special Issue, "Film International", No. 30 (November 2007), Jeffrey Crouse, guest editor. Essays include those by Charles Warren ("What is Criticism?"), Richard Armstrong ("The Best Years of Our Lives": Planes of Innocence and Experience"), William Rothman ("Bazin as a Cavellian Realist"), Mats Rohdin ("Cinema as an Art of Potential Metaphors: The Rehabilitation of Metaphor in André Bazin's Realist Film Theory"), Karla Oeler ("André Bazin and the Preservation of Loss"), Tom Paulus ("The View across the Courtyard: Bazin and the Evolution of Depth Style"), and Diane Stevenson ("Godard and Bazin"). Introductory essay, "Because We Need Him Now: Re-enchanting Film Studies Through Bazin," written by Jeffrey Crouse.


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  • BAZIN (A.) — BAZIN ANDRÉ (1918 1958) Critique de cinéma français, né à Angers. Élève à l’école normale d’instituteurs, reçu brillamment à l’École normale supérieure de Saint Cloud, mais refusé par l’Éducation nationale «pour cause de bégaiement», il anime… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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