André Bazin facts for kids
André Bazin (French: [bazɛ̃]; 18 April 1918 – 11 November 1958) was a renowned and influential French film critic and film theorist.
Bazin started to write about film in 1943 and was a co-founder of the renowned film magazine Cahiers du cinéma in 1951, with Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Joseph-Marie Lo Duca.
He is notable for arguing that realism is the most important function of cinema. His call for objective reality, deep focus, and lack of montage are linked to his belief that the interpretation of a film or scene should be left to the spectator. This placed him in opposition to film theory of the 1920s and 1930s, which emphasized how the cinema could manipulate reality.
Bazin was born in Angers, France in 1918. He met future film and television producer Janine Kirsch while working at Labour and Culture, a militant organization associated with the French Communist party during World War II and eventually they married in 1949 and had a son named Florent. He died in 1958, age 40, of leukemia.
Bazin started to write about film in 1943 and was a co-founder of the renowned film magazine Cahiers du cinéma in 1951, along with Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Joseph-Marie Lo Duca. Bazin was a major force in post-World War II film studies and criticism. He edited Cahiers until his death, and a four-volume collection of his writings was published posthumously, covering the years 1958 to 1962 and titled Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? (What is cinema?).
A selection from What Is Cinema? was translated into English and published in two volumes in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They became mainstays of film courses in the English-speaking world, but never were updated or revised. In 2009, the Canadian publisher Caboose, taking advantage of more favourable Canadian copyright laws, compiled fresh translations of some of the key essays from the collection in a single-volume edition. With annotations by translator Timothy Barnard, this became the only corrected and annotated edition of these writings in any language. In 2018, this volume was replaced by a more extensive collection of Bazin's texts translated by Barnard, André Bazin: Selected Writings 1943-1958. A new collection of Bazin's essays were released in 2022 under the title André Bazin on Adaptation: Cinema's Literary Imagination.
The long-held view of Bazin's critical system is that he argued for films that depicted "objective reality" (such as documentaries and films of the Italian neorealism school or as he called it "the Italian school of the Liberation"). He advocated the use of deep focus (Orson Welles, William Wyler), 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. For example, he extensively analyzes a scene in Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives (with cinematography by Gregg Toland) to illuminate the function of deep-focus composition:
The action in the foreground is secondary, although interesting and peculiar enough to require our keen attention since it occupies a privileged place and surface on the screen. Paradoxically, the true action, the one that constitutes at this precise moment a turning point in the story, develops almost clandestinely in a tiny rectangle at the back of the room—in the left corner of the screen.... Thus the viewer is induced actively to participate in the drama planned by the director.
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. This placed him in opposition to film theory of the 1920s and 1930s, which emphasized how the cinema could manipulate reality.
According to Dudley Andrew, Roman Catholicism and Personalism are two strong influences on Bazin's outlook of cinema. Victor Bruno pins that these influences—especially Roman Catholicism—are the wellspring from which flows the essence of Bazin's understanding of "realism," which, according to him, is more closely linked with metaphysical realism than with corporeality (also called realism by certain scholars).
Another academic, Tom Gunning, identifies yet a third influence on André Bazin: Hegelianism. According to Gunning, Bazin's preference for the long take is akin to Hegel's understanding of the unfolding of history in time. This idea has been dismissed by certain authors, since Bazin privileged the long take as a means of liberty and Hegel understood that the unfolding of history would conclude in a perfectly systematized paradigm.
At any rate, Bazin's personalism led him to believe that a film should represent a director's personal vision. This idea had a pivotal importance in the development of the auteur theory, the manifesto for which François Truffaut's article "A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema" was published by his mentor Bazin in Cahiers in 1954. Bazin also championed directors like Howard Hawks, William Wyler and John Ford.
In Spanish: André Bazin para niños
- Invisible auditor
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