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What is Cinema? Andre Bazin – Film Critic & Theorist

  • A. Bazin
    photo via

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

    His personal friendships with many directors he wrote about also furthered his analysis of their work. He became a central figure not only in film critique, but in bringing about certain collaborators, as well. Bazin also preferred long takes to montage editing. He believed that less was more, and that narrative was key to great film.

    Bazin, who was influenced by personalism, believed 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 is known as a proponent of “appreciative criticism”, the notion that only critics who like a film should review it, thus encouraging constructive criticism.

  • François Truffaut dedicated The 400 Blows to Bazin, who died one day after shooting commenced on the film.
    Jean Renoir dedicated the revival of The Rules of the Game to the memory of Bazin.
    David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest references Bazin in regard to film and film criticism.

  • Cahiers 1andCahiersDuCinema91
    Bazin started to write about film in 1943 and was a co-founder of the renowned film magazine Cahiers du cinéma in 1951

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