What Is Cinema?, Volume 2 by André Bazin

By André Bazin

André Bazin's What Is Cinema? (volumes I and II) were classics of movie reports for so long as they've been to be had and are thought of the highest quality within the box of movie feedback. even supposing Bazin made no motion pictures, his identify has been probably the most very important in French cinema considering that global conflict II. He was once co-founder of the influential Cahiers du Cinéma, which below his management turned one of many world's so much distinctive courses. Championing the movies of Jean Renoir (who contributed a brief foreword to quantity I), Orson Welles, and Roberto Rossellini, he turned the protégé of François Truffaut, who honors him touchingly in his forword to quantity II. This re-creation comprises swish forewords to every quantity via Bazin pupil and biographer Dudley Andrew, who reconsiders Bazin and his position in modern movie learn. The essays themselves are erudite yet regularly obtainable, highbrow, and stimulating. As Renoir places it, the essays of Bazin "will live to tell the tale whether the cinema does not."

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However, if a method so beneficent to the art of the cinema has only been employed here and there, it is because unfortunately it contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. The chemical balance of the amalgam is of necessity unstable, and nothing can prevent it evolving to the point at which it reintroduces the aesthetic dilemma it originally solvedthat between the enslavement of the star and the documentary without actors. This disintegration can be observed most dearly and quickly in children's films or films using native peoples.

It is significant that the peasant in Espoir was a theater comedian, Anna Magnani a singer of popular songs, and Fabrizzi a musichall clown. That someone is an actor does not mean he must not be used. Quite the opposite. But his professionalism should be called into service only insofar as it allows him to be more flexible in his response to the requirements of the mise en scene, and to have a better grasp of the character. The nonprofessionals are naturally chosen for their suitability for the part, either because they fit it physically or because there is some paraliel between the role and their lives.

The personal adventures of the two individuals blend into the mass of other adventures, just as one attempts to elbow one~s way into a crowd to recover something one has lost. In the course of making one's way one sees in the eyes of those who stand aside the reflections of other concerns~ other passions, other dangers alongside which one~s own may well be merely laughable. Ultimately and by chance) the woman learns, from a wounded partisan, that the man she is looking for is dead. But the statement from which she learned the news was not aimed straight at her-but hit her like a stray bullet.

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