Essays By Andre Bazin

The Journal of Aesthetic Education

Description: The Journal of Aesthetic Education is a highly respected interdisciplinary journal that focuses on clarifying the issues of aesthetic education understood in its most extensive meaning. The journal thus welcomes articles on philosophical aesthetics and education, to problem areas in education critical to arts and humanities at all institutional levels; to an understanding of the aesthetic import of the new communications media and environmental aesthetics; and to an understanding of the aesthetic character of humanistic disciplines. The journal is a valuable resource not only to educators, but also to philosophers, art critics and art historians.

Coverage: 1966-2018 (Vol. 1, No. 1 - Vol. 52, No. 1)

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ISSN: 00218510

EISSN: 15437809

Subjects: Education, Social Sciences

Collections: Arts & Sciences IV Collection, JSTOR Essential Collection

The first scanning of Bazin as a thinker with a full view of the cinema came in the months after his death and was provided by his successor as editor at Cahiers du cinéma, Éric Rohmer (Rohmer 1989), and by the British critic Richard Roud (Roud 1959). It would be well over a decade before Bazin received sustained treatment in English, and then it was thanks to the translation of his key essays. This came at the moment of the arrival of academic film studies, where Bazin naturally was taken up in the first textbooks that laid out film theory as a field of study. Tudor 1974 and Andrew 1976 both aim to put Bazin into a small lineup of “classical theorists,” with the former finding fault with the realist tradition and the latter believing it to have been liberating. Much later, in Andrew 1997 and Andrew 1998, the author composed several entries to summarize Bazin, the first of these attending to the debates his theory has occasioned and the second serving as a description of the logic of the work and its putative unity. The question of unity has been in dispute, with Henderson 1980 and later Carroll 1988 insisting on a division in Bazin between his theory and his critical-historical practice, while Perkins 1972 upholds his continuity of thought, the author taking his cue from Éric Rohmer’s initial pronouncement. Elsaesser 2011 looks beyond Bazin’s period to see how the problems he addressed and his usual approach line up with the work of film scholars in later decades, extending to the present.

  • Andrew, Dudley. “André Bazin.” In The Major Film Theories: An Introduction. By J. Dudley Andrew, 134–178. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.

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    In this early textbook laying out film theory as a field, the chapter on Bazin positions him on the side of “realist theories” and in opposition to the “formative tradition.” He is differentiated from Kracauer through his views of cinema’s raw material (tracings of reality), its way of manipulating that material, and its purposes.

  • Andrew, Dudley. “Bazin’s Evolution.” In Defining Cinema. Edited by Peter Lehman. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1997.

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    The first half of this eighteen-page article lays out the logic underlying Bazin’s scattered writings. The second half examines the fate of those ideas in the debates that are part of film studies. Bazin’s refusal to “essentialize” cinema keeps his theory open to new developments and has enabled him to outlast local debates.

  • Andrew, Dudley. “André Bazin.” In Encyclopedia of Aesthetics. Vol. 1. Edited by Michael Kelly, 228–232. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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    A succinct summary of the core of Bazin’s ideas and attitude toward cinema. Historical concerns are minimized while the logic and connectedness of the various directions of Bazin’s thought are emphasized.

  • Carroll, Noël. Philosophical Problems of Classical Film Theory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988.

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    A substantial, carefully formulated accusation that Bazin’s so-called “theory of cinema” in fact applies only to a certain strain of films that he promoted. He may have been a fine critic, but criticism cannot dress up as theory. Moreover, Bazin’s realism rests on a crumbling foundation.

  • Elsaesser, Thomas. “A Bazinian Half-Century.” In Opening Bazin: Postwar Film Theory & its Afterlife. Edited by Dudley Andrew, 3–12. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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    An encyclopedic film scholar assesses Bazin’s place, not just during the time his ideas were in force but in debates about early cinema and post-cinema. The former comes under the rubric “Bazin as media-archeologist”; the latter debates are grouped under “indexicality” and “philosophy.”

  • Henderson, Brian. “The Structure of Bazin’s Thought.” In A Critique of Film Theory. By Brian Henderson, 32–47. New York: Dutton, 1980.

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    Originally appeared in Film Quarterly (Summer 1972). Opposed to Rohmer 1989 and Perkins 1972 and anticipating Carroll’s later critique (Carroll 1988), Henderson breaks down Bazin into a “theoretical” and “critical-historical” thinker. These irreconcilable dimensions Bazin strives but fails to unite via the concept of “evolution.” A fair, cogent examination of extant materials that would need revision today, given Bazin’s greatly expanded corpus.

  • Perkins, Victor F. “Minority Reports.” In Film as Film: Understanding and Judging Movies. By Victor F. Perkins, 28–39. London: Penguin, 1972.

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    One of the earliest and best considerations of Bazin, whose theory Perkins believes rescued cinema from those who value it insofar as it behaves like the other arts. But cinema’s recording function is something to be exploited, not overcome. Bazin honored a range of films that gain by being records.

  • Rohmer, Éric. “André Bazin’s ‘Summa.’” In The Taste for Beauty. By Éric Rohmer. Translated by Carol Volk, 93–104. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

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    Part eulogy, part review of the first two volumes of Qu’est-ce que le cinéma? Rohmer pleads for the coherence of work that until then had been seen only piecemeal. Unapologetic in his allegiance, Rohmer stresses the “objectivity axiom” that orients all Bazin’s writing and guides his appreciation of diverse genres and of impure cinema. Originally published in Cahiers du cinéma 91 (January 1959).

  • Roud, Richard. “Face to Face: André Bazin.” Sight and Sound 28.3–4 (1959): 176–179.

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    The first English summary of Bazin. Strikingly accurate, Bazin’s source is located in Roger Leenhardt and his effect in François Truffaut, the men to whom Qu’est-ce que le cinéma? is dedicated. Bazin linked silent realist masters to postwar cinema via Jean Renoir and insisted that adaptations paradoxically provide cinema its best route by which to evolve.

  • Tudor, Andrew. “Aesthetics of Realism: Bazin and Kracauer.” In Theories of Film. By Andrew Tudor, 98–115. London: Secker & Warburg, 1974.

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    This early textbook summary links Bazin to Kracauer, rejecting both for fantasizing “an aesthetic from which human interference is absent.” Although a source of many crude “bazinisms,” Tudor usefully distinguishes “pure realism” from “spatial realism,” while asking Bazin to go beyond both and include montage.

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