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.
version was pulled by the studio even before it was given a chance in the United States. While he waited in vain for something truly valuable to appear in three dimensions, Bazin, who had been delighted by Norman McLaren’s stereoscopic animations, must have ruminated on the aesthetic potential of the format. What might it mean, for instance, to someone for whom the cinema was a “window on the world”? Indeed, in 1953 he explicitly returned to this metaphor to praise another new technology,
passages with those of prerecorded material. This also applies to a comparable if less important process, the playback. Undoubtedly, playbacks are employed to reassure vocal artists who are anxious about their deep bass notes or their high C. Playbacks have come into vogue as a tool that seems prepared to control the extent of its use. For example, in my view the excellent “Méli-Mélo” that Tchernia and Chatel brought us went astray only in its découpage, which incurred not the advantages but the
hardly imagine, at least for the pres* The media reported on the misfortune of one of the English speakerines who received menacing letters from a TV viewer. The anonymous correspondent demanded that she give up television under pain of death. Everybody who has enough experience with television will admit along with me that this is far too believable given the typical impulses of compatriots of Jack the Ripper. With the young woman’s physique alone being enough to arouse the desire of the
welcome cinema seems ready to extend when television comes visiting. NOTES Originally published as “A Jean Gabin, le prix Citron de la Télévision,” Radio-Cinéma-Télévision 160 (8 February 1953). 1. Many of France’s and the world’s most important ﬁlms were made at the Boulogne-Billancourt studios, beginning with Gance’s Napoléon and Dreyer’s La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc and including Renoir’s La Grande Illusion and Carné’s Hôtel du Nord. Tati’s Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot 176 / Television and
Rossellini Debut on TV In its programming lineup for the coming winter, RTF is offering us the television debuts of two great ﬁlm directors, Jean Renoir and Roberto Rossellini. On various occasions in these pages, I have often bemoaned the French bias that has kept our ﬁlmmakers at a distance from the small screen, something that doesn’t happen in America. These prejudices have been more or less reciprocal, with television’s policymakers seemingly skeptical about the ability of notable cineastes