André Bazin's New Media

André Bazin's New Media

André Bazin

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 2:00272532

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

André Bazin’s writings on cinema are among the most influential reflections on the medium ever written. Even so, his critical interests ranged widely and encompassed the “new media” of the 1950s, including television, 3D film, Cinerama, and CinemaScope. Fifty-seven of his reviews and essays addressing these new technologies—their artistic potential, social influence, and relationship to existing art forms—have been translated here for the first time in English with notes and an introduction by leading Bazin authority Dudley Andrew. These essays show Bazin’s astute approach to a range of visual media and the relevance of his critical thought to our own era of new media. An exciting companion to the essential What Is Cinema? volumes, André Bazin’s New Media is excellent for classroom use and vital for anyone interested in the history of media.

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So we turn with interest to his new venture, Caméra en Afrique, which pleasantly, instructively, and in tune with the summer season, will fill up some of your vacation, a quarter hour at a time. Those responsible for the programs, M. A. Denis and his wife, already have a number of hunting films to their credit, the best known of which is François le Rhinocéros. I can’t tell the extent to which that little film was shot for TV or if it is only a montage assembled for the small screen. The large

CinemaScope in its current state, and personally I would even say that perhaps it has brought me more nuisance than pleasure, but that’s not for me to decide. If CinemaScope survives its early experimental stage, it’s because it deserves to survive, and if it does survive, then this is due to the cinema and not to my critical imagination. CinemaScope seems interesting not so much for landscapes as for the way it renews the value of the close-up. As for montage, apart from the fact that it has not

stated, the widescreen isn’t always obligated to subjects that feature “grand mise-en-scène.” It can accommodate psychological dramas just as well, if not better, than it does Westerns (look at East of Eden).8 However, it would be without question regrettable to see CinemaScope universally supplant films made in the smaller format. The plurality resulting from the current competition of processes is ultimately our guarantee of variety and liberty, at least while we await the highly problematic

resolution, supported by massive advertising; it will overcome the reservations of theater owners through short-term financial perks that encourage the conversion of their movie screens, and so on—in short, it will play all the trump cards that a powerful, conscious, and organized capitalism possesses. This is not to say that all the obstacles—and they are numerous, as we shall see—must be eliminated. But they will at least be tackled with the utmost efficiency, in Europe as well as in America;

way or another and toss onto the market under the general advertising label of “3D.” In fact, only stereoscopic projection with glasses restores the third dimension. And its failure has been so quick that films shot by this process are being projected in “flat” versions. That leaves CinemaScope and its variants. Even if the hopes that it first engendered have turned to disappointment, its continued aesthetic interest seems certain. Two years out, one can reasonably think that CinemaScope will

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