29 novembre 2008

Ouvrir Bazin - Day 2

Avez-vous lu Bazin? / Have you read Bazin?

Day 2 (see full program here): My notes from a panel discussion on the availability of his oeuvre, and the project(s) of a complete edition in the future, with :
André-S. Labarthe (Ed. Cahiers), Olivier Faivre (Switzerland), Raymond Bellour (Trafic), Antoine De Baecque (Ramsay editor), Hervé Joubert-Laurencin (U. Paris), Dudley Andrew (U. Yale)

An estimation of over 2600 of Bazin's articles have been archived to date. Of which only 6% are published and accessible to the public today. So we know a tiny fraction of his thought on cinema.

The first anthology was edited by Janine Bazin, but was abandoned by frustration of not being able to publish a complete oeuvre. Were missing 150 texts on television, and the pedagogical dimension of his oral speeches at ciné-clubs.

Tout Bazin : la pensée de Bazin au travail

A new project finally comes together now, with Claudine Paquot (Ed. de l'Etoile), Emmanuel Burdeau (Cahiers), André-S Labarthe and Olivier Faivre (a guy who has been collecting and typing every articles for the past 5 years).
A collection of volumes, year by year, with an introductory presentation for the yearly context, and the television-related texts at the end for each year.
More a few unpublished manuscripts : his first found article "Enseignement primaire national" for Peuple et Culture (1941), his first ciné-club conference (1943), the original manuscript for his book on Welles, which is different from the edited version we know today.

It's interesting to note Bazin admitted when he changed opinion on a film. After dismissing Europa 51 at Venice, he revised his judgement later when it was released in France, in its Director's cut. Same for Les Dames du bois de Boulogne.
Thought is always in motion. Bazin writes on the same film in various venues... 10 lines in a daily, 20 lines in another, 3 pages for Esprit, 10 pages for Cahiers. Cinema is always present because we can always rewatch a film and make it present.

It was also necessary to correct the errors of Bazin when referencing films or names or citation attributions. Or the ones of Truffaut who edited his anthology. Also, errors in recent publications, that altered the original meaning, have been spotted, to be fixed. Like in his review of Malraux' L'Espoir.

In the article "Comment présenter et discuter un film !" (Ciné-club, April 1954), Bazin says the Theatre spectator is the precursor of the metteur-en-scène of cinéma, because with spectacles it is possible to re-frame the whole stage and elect details in the "wide shot". Montage stole this privilege from the movie goer. And Deep-focus/Forbidden Montage restores the power and liberty for the audience.

In the 3 months leading up to this seminar, Jean-François Rauger at La Cinémathèque Française organised a cycled of 160 films reviewed by Bazin, and Hervé Joubert-Laurencin used Bazin quotes to introduce each film in the program. (Check out each title on this list for the quotes)

Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? (1958-1962)
  • tome 1 (1958): Bazin's own edition. He rewrote selected and merged the articles himself. He approved it as is before he died.
  • tome 2 (1959): (7 texts) prepared by Bazin. Truffaut finalized it after Bazin died. Truffaut's own patchwork, he added sentences when needed...
  • tome 3 (1961): edited by Rivette, more respectful, he left all Bazin's text as they were.
But for instance the verb "bander" [to get a hard on] disappears in the review of Kon Tiki [YouTube], and in the essay "En marge de l'érotisme au cinéma", replaced by "excité" [excited]. In this same essay, "démonétisation" is replaced by "démonstration" in the sentence : "la démonétisation des jambes de Marlène Dietrich".

Fifty years later, still no comprehensive anthology of Bazin's complete work is available to the public. And still no deadline given by Labarthe & Faivre... the hopes are slim given the recent crisis of the Cahiers corporation, bought by the British publisher, Phaidon. The greatest film critic has been ignored in France! No wonder we only have a partial, superficial, approximated, vulgarised idea of Bazin's theories and thought in popular culture, or in academic circles...
For instance, Godard made up the citation he attributes to Bazin in the opening of Le Mépris / Contempt, which appears to have been lifted from an article by Michel Mourlet.

Bazin used pseudonymes (André Basselin, Florent Kirsch) mainly to write negative reviews (!) He was also an angry man, with mean disapproval and harsh criticism.

Hervé Joubert-Laurencin and Dudley Andrew present the searchable database of all Bazin articles on the website of Yale University. A cooperative project between Yale and INHA. Currently a work in progress, hopefully soon made available to the public.
  • 1962 : Positif publishes a ferocious critique of Bazin and La Nouvelle Vague: "Les Délices de l'ambiguïté - Éloge d'André Bazin" #46/#47, June-July 1962
  • 1983: "Le plus funeste des critiques : 'Bazaine'" by Claude Autant-Lara
  • 1991 : Cahiers article on Bazin by Rivette, Comolli, Daney and Narboni.
In Fernand Deligny, à propos d'un film à faire (1989/Renaud Victor), Fernand Deligny reads the letter Malraux wrote to Bazin (to thank him for his insightful review of L'Espoir), and feels like-minded with Bazin's theory. "La Sémiologie c'est de la crotte!"

Tentative Bibliography
(please correct/amend when needed)
  • Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? Tome 1 : Ontologie et langage, Ed. Cerf, 1958 -OUT OF PRINT
  • Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? Tome 2 : Le cinéma et les autres arts, Ed. Cerf, 1959 -OUT OF PRINT-
  • Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? Tome 3 : cinéma et sociologie, Ed. Cerf, 1961 -OUT OF PRINT-
  • Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? Tome 4 : Une esthétique de la réalité : le néo-réalisme, Ed. Cerf, 1962 -OUT OF PRINT-
  • Orson Welles, Ed. Cerf, 1972, Ed. Ramsay, 1986, Ed. Cahiers, 1998
  • Charlie Chaplin, Ed. Cerf, 1973, Ed. Ramsay, 1985, Ed. Cahiers, 2000
  • Cinéma de la Cruauté, Ed. Flammarion, 1975, 1987 -OUT OF PRINT-
  • Le cinéma de l'occupation à la Résistance, Ed. 10/18, 1975 -OUT OF PRINT-
  • Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? Ed. Cerf, 1975 (abridged edition, 4 volumes into 1)
  • Jean Renoir, Ed. G. Lebovici, 1989
  • Le cinéma français de la Libération à la Nouvelle Vague, Ed. de l'Etoile, 1983, Ed. Cahiers, 1998
  • What is cinema? Vol.1, Trad. Hugh Gray, Ed. 1967
  • What is cinema? Vol.2, Trad. Hugh Gray, Ed. 1971
  • Jean Renoir, 1973
  • Orson Welles: A critical view, Transl. Rosenbaum, Ed. Harper&Row, 1978
  • The Cinema of Cruelty, 1982
  • French Cinema of the Occupation and Resistance: Birth of a Critical Esthetic, Trad. Ed. HarperCollins, 1984
  • Bazin at Work : major essays and reviews from the forties and fifties, Trans. Alain Piette & Bert Cardullo, Ed. Routledge, 1997.
  • Charlie Chaplin, Ed. S.A., 2002
  • Buñuel, Dreyer, Welles, Ed. Fundamentos, 1991
  • Vittorio De Sica, Ed. Ganda, 1953
  • Was ist film?, Ed. Alexander Verlag Berlin, 2004
Selected bibliography here

2 commentaires:

HarryTuttle a dit…

Apparently Les Editions de l'Etoile (Cahiers Publisher, and rights holder for all Bazin's oeuvre) had money to spend to give to the world this safe, reactionary, consensual top100 canon, probably marketed for a perfect Xmas present. 30€ to get 100 films titles (that could already be found here since last year) and 200 pictures! The urgency to put this out before anything written by Bazin is "obvious"...
So the "official excuse" why they can't tell us when anything new on Bazin will be published, is because Cahiers is in a financial crisis (the publication of this top100 list is clearly a proof... not) and that they want to publish "All or nothing".
Personally I would prefer a small book with Bazin's articles, some content, than nothing at all. Or instead being given a list of films that is hardly updated since the 60ies !

Thanks God there are capable people leading this publishing corporation who make the smartest choices... and these are the people who pretend they would do a good job becoming Film distributors...

HarryTuttle a dit…

What did I say?
5 priceless items the world needed urgently before 2009:
- a top100 list cryogenized in 1970!
- Hitchcock presents... his recipe book!
- a NEW book on Hollywood to finally understand this criminally underexposed area of the industry...

And Bazin is not gonna get this 5% discount. Thank you M. le Père Noël

:) oh the irony!