28 novembre 2008

Ouvrir Bazin - Day 1

I'm back in college! It feels like it. The bilateral, Franco-American Bazin Seminar has started on November 25. See program in my previous post for detailed program.

The anniversary of his death was November 11, but they opened this event on the day that coincides with when the famous "Qu'est-ce que le cinéma?" (the original one, in 4 volumes, out of print now) was first printed, 2 weeks after he passed away. His first book, posthumous also.

A few notes on Dudley Andrew's introducing lecture (in French! ironically retranslated back into broken English by me) : "Vie et seconde vie d'André Bazin. Diffusion et réception d'un critique de cinéma" [Life and second life of André Bazin. Circulation and reception of a cinema critic]
  • He suggests "What will be cinema?" as a new subtitle to the anthology to better characterise Bazin's prospective definition of the medium, the chromophotographique action of cinema.
  • Regarding the iconic essay "Ontologie de l'image photographique", he reminds us that Martin Heidegger opposes ontologic (meaningful structure of existence) to ontic (plain facts of everyday life).
  • Bazin is both philosopher and Art historian.
  • To Bazin, Cinema is a vast ecological system (distinct from the circumscribed world of auteurism)
  • Serge Daney (1984) : "Bad filmmakers don't have any idea. Good filmmakers have too many. And great filmmakers only have one. One fixed idea, one obsession. For the critics it's the same, only that there is no great critic... except for Bazin"
  • To Henri Bergson, the "idea" is a stream, an "intermittent presence".
  • There are 2 Bazins :
    1) Ontology - Realism (Rosselini, Welles). In the 40ies : Realism and Nature.
    2) Impure cinema (Bresson, Cocteau, Nouvelle Vague). In the 50ies : Adaptation and Culture.
  • Note the ambiguous position of Mizoguchi on the map of world cinema in the 60ies, when New Waves spawned everywhere (Japan, Czech, Quebec, Latina America...). In France, La Nouvelle Vague opposed the old establishment (La Qualité Française), but embraced the academic establishment rejected by the Japanese New Wave, in the person of Mizoguchi.
  • 1948 : Bazin has a radio show "Profile Perdu"
  • 1963 : big controversy in the USA over the Auteur theory, between Sarris and Kael. (Pauline Kael audio : 1 - 2 - 3)
  • 1966-67 : Andrew Sarris publishes the English version of Cahiers du cinéma, for about a year. Bazin's articles among others. [AntiQbook]
  • 1967 : Hugh Gray's translation of "What is cinema?"
  • 1968 : Bazin falls in disgrace for 15 years in France, perceived as reactionary by the new culture. While he becomes a good figure in the USA.
  • 1968 : Annette Michaelson's article on "Qu'est-ce que le cinéma?" (in Artforum, 6, 10) criticism of Bazin's theory from the point of view of Semiology, Structuralism and Constructivism.
  • 1976 : era of Realism & Formalism
  • 1978 : Dudley Andrew publishes in the USA the first biography of André Bazin (book praised by Serge Daney when it was published in French).
  • Christian Metz : militant theory of cinema
  • 1988 : "Philosophical problems of classical film theory", Noël Carroll, Ed. Princeton University Press, 1988. Criticism of Bazin's theory.
  • 1995 : Sylvia Harvey's article "What is cinema? The Sensuous, the Abstract, and the Political"
  • 1997 : David Bordwell : "On the History of Film Style"
Elsewhere :
  • China was isolated until the 1978 cultural revolution, then discovers the New Wave spirit.
  • 1984 : "River without buoys" chinese film influenced by Renoir and Bazin
  • Shanghai 2008 : Seminar Bazin (June 13-14 2008) with Xie Fei, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Jia Zhang-ke, Ann Hui
  • André Bazin makes the cover of the Chinese journal "Contemporary cinema", August 2008 issue, dedicated to the seminar and Bazin's writing.

Then mademoiselle Jeanne Moreau read a couple texts of Bazin and Truffaut:
  • André Bazin, "Psychologie de la plage", Esprit, 1947
    on the desillusionned fantasy of the poor critic on the luxurious beach in Cannes full of glamorous beauties.
  • André Bazin, "Les deux Jean Renoir", Esprit, march 1952
  • André Bazin, "J'ai vu Bonjour Tristesse", L'Education Nationale, 20 March 1954
    on his reversal of opinion on second viewing, after a prior dismissal in Cannes of Otto Preminger's adaptation of Françoise Sagan's novel.
  • François Truffaut's homage to André Bazin, Venice 1959.

5 commentaires:

Edwin Mak a dit…
Ce commentaire a été supprimé par l'auteur.
HarryTuttle a dit…

They didn't unfortunately. That would have been a good idea. I never heard of it before.
They only projected 3 short films. But there was this series of 160 films reviewed by Bazin, at La cinémathèque, in the 3 months leading to this seminar.

HarryTuttle a dit…

"André Bazin The founding father of modern film criticism continues to make waves" by Dudley Andrew in Film Comment (Nov-Dec 2008)

HarryTuttle a dit…

"With the full range of his voluminous writings finally viewable, Andre Bazin seems more deserving than ever to be considered the most influential of all writers on film. His brief career, 1943-58, helped bring about the leap from classical cinema to the modern art of Renoir, Welles, and neorealism. Founder of Cahiers du Cinema , he encouraged the future New Wave directors to confront his telltale question, What is Cinema ? This collection considers another vital question, Who is Bazin ? In it, thirty three renowned film scholars--including de Baecque, Elsaesser, Gunning, and MacCabe--tackle Bazin's meaning for the 2st century. They have found in his writings unmistakable traces of Flaubert, Bergson, Breton, and Benjamin and they have pursued this vein to the gold mine of Deleuze and Derrida. They have probed and assessed his ideas on film history, style, and technique, measuring him against today's media regime, while measuring that regime against him. They have located the precious ore of his thought couched within striations of French postwar politics and culture, and they have revealed the unexpected effects of that thought on filmmakers and film culture on four continents. Open Bazin; you will find a treasure."

Opening Bazin. Postwar Film Theory and Its Afterlife, 2011, Edited by Dudley Andrew, with Herve Joubert-Laurencin

HarryTuttle a dit…

Dudley Andrew, « Malraux, Bazin and the Gesture of Picasso » (in opus cited above) read by Dudley Andrew at IHTP-INHA, 17 mars 2011 (audio here), PDF