André Bazin's New Media
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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.
sciences, and natural sciences. Its activities are supported by the UC Press Foundation and by philanthropic contributions from individuals and institutions. For more information, visit www.ucpress.edu. University of California Press Oakland, California � 2014 by The Regents of the University of California Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bazin, André, 1918–1958. [Essays. Selections. English] André Bazin’s new media / André Bazin ; edited and translated by Dudley Andrew.
scientific curiosity, as it will likely do, directing the garden hose to spray the audience will not be enough to astonish us. The distant future of 3D cinema will see a leap as great as the one from L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat to the train engine sequence in La Bête humaine. . . . Let us nimbly take this new and decisive step toward total cinema.”14 From the beginning, though, one could not write about this new format without focusing on its chances of succeeding, for from the
with rubrics that are variants of the rubrics Bazin laid out for his collected film writings, Qu’est-ce que le cinéma?, with only the fourth part proving recalcitrant. As for the first three parts, just like cinema, TV has its “ontology and language”; it also needs to find its place “among the other arts,” and it exhibits identifiable “sociological” characteristics and responsibilities. And just as Bazin had planned to reserve the fourth and final volume of Qu’est-ce que le cinéma? for
obliged to reject a host of minor screenplays that would naturally find their expression in a shorter and less costly style. It’s this virtually nonexistent part of traditional film production that, in a way, television has been recently developing. We shouldn’t expect only marvels from it. In fact, the amount of rubbish will have to be proportionally greater than in commercial cinema, but the sheer quantity of production ought to allow for a good number of successes. What would be really
the cinema is in danger of losing both its individuality (due to the demands of co-productions) and its market. BAZIN: So the answer, as you see it, is that films should be able to recover their costs in the home market, and should in consequence be made more cheaply? RENOIR: Exactly. For instance, I hawked the script of La Grande Illusion around all the film companies for three years and no one would touch it, all the studios insisting that the film wouldn’t make any money. But at that time