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André Bazin

Related: Cahiers du Cinéma - French cinema - film criticism - film theory - French New Wave

Bazin argued for films that depicted 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" (long takes) 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 through film editing. [Jul 2006]


André Bazin (April 18, 1918 - November 11, 1958) was a famous critic of the French New Wave (circa 1958-62) who worked closely with Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut.

He was born in Angers, Maine-et-Loire, France.

Two of his translated collections of criticism are mainstays of college film courses; What is Cinema, volumes 1 & 2. Bazin 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.

André Bazin died at Nogent-sur-Marne, Île-de-France. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%E9_Bazin [Apr 2004]


André Bazin is commonly regarded as the most important or influential writer on cinema since the end of World War II. An almost mythical figure in the history of film criticism, Bazin was an early advocate or defender of Orson Welles, Jean Renoir, Italian Neo-Realism and Charlie Chaplin's post-Tramp films. He was a co-founder of the major French film review Cahiers du cinéma, one of the most influential and long-lasting publications in the history of film-writing.

Bazin and his wife Janine were a major influence on the life and career of critic and future film-maker François Truffaut. Truffaut’s first full-length feature, Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows) was dedicated to André Bazin and was one of the films that launched what became known as the French "Nouvelle Vague" or "New Wave." Bazin was also a significant influence on many film critics, including Eric Rohmer and Jean Luc Godard, each of whom wrote for Cahiers du cinéma and went on to make films known and appreciated around the entire world.

This unofficial site is written in homage to André Bazin, his life, his work, and his positive effects. Although the site is dedicated to André Bazin, other writers, such as, but not limited to, Louis Delluc, Germaine Dulac, Roger Leenhardt, Georges Sadoul, Alexandre Astruc, Eric Rohmer, François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, Henri Agel, Gilbert Cohen-Séat, Etienne Souriau, Jean Mitry, Christian Metz, and Serge Daney will be discussed or receive mention on the site itself, as well as Bazin influences such as Henri Bergson, André Malraux, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Emmanuel Mounier. The pages already refer to Bazin writings on directors such as Robert Bresson, Jean Cocteau, Jacques Tati, Carl Th. Dreyer, Luis Buñuel, Erich von Stroheim, Alfred Hitchcock, Roberto Rossellini, William Wyler, Vittorio de Sica, Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Jacques Becker, Nicholas Ray, Federico Fellini, and Jean Vigo. I hope you will find the content helpful, of interest, and not intimidatingly technical, and that it will help stimulate all of us to learn more about the cinema and ways of experiencing and discussing it. --http://www.alumni.caltech.edu/~ejohnson/critics/cahiers.html

What Is Cinema / Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? (1958-1963) - Andre Bazin

  • What Is Cinema / Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? (1958-1963) - Andre Bazin [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    André Bazin is a great film critic and essayist, arguably the best France ever produced. His impact on the international cinema was monumental and continues to be felt today. He popularized the auteur theory, the idea that directors were the authors of their films. He was one of the first to take American "B"" movie genres, such as Westerns and films noir, seriously. He waxed eloquently on the Italian neorealist movement of the late '40s and '50s and inspired the "New Wave" of French directors, many of whom wrote for the journal he founded and edited, the legendary Cahiers du Cinema. François Truffaut dedicated The 400 Blows to him.

    Bazin had a keen eye for cinematic detail and technique, but was also one of the cinema's great sociologists, psychologists, and historians. Volume two of What Is Cinema? collects some of his most characteristic writings. It contains essays on the aesthetic of neorealism; individual neorealist films by Vittorio De Sica, Roberto Rossellini, and Federico Fellini; the brilliance of Charlie Chaplin; and the mythmaking qualities of the Western. The volume ends with an appreciation of the great Jean Gabin and three essays on sex in the movies, including the delightful "Entomology of the Pin-Up Girl." Bazin's essays are short, smoothly written, revelatory, and filled with remarkable insights and a profound love for his subject. --via amazon.com

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