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What Cinema Is!: Bazin's Quest and its Charge

ISBN: 978-1-4051-0760-0
180 pages
April 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
What Cinema Is!: Bazin


What Cinema Is! offers an engaging answer to Andre Bazin's famous question, exploring his 'idea of cinema' with a sweeping look back at the near century of Cinema's phenomenal ascendancy.
  • Written by one of the foremost film scholars of our time
  • Establishes cinema's distinction from the current enthusiasm over audio-visual entertainment, without relegating cinema to a single, older mode
  • Examines cinema's institutions and its social force through the qualities of key films
  • Traces the history of an idea that has made cinema supremely alive to (and in) our times
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue: The Target of Film Theory xiii

1 The Camera Searching in the World 1

Is a Camera Essential? 1

The Cahiers Axiom 4

Tracing Bazin’s Trace 11

Images Contested Today 17

2 The Editor’s Discovery of Form 29

Bazin’s Forerunners 31

Documentaries in the Cauldron of History 37

The Cahiers Line 42

Pursuing Cinema in the Twenty-First Century 48

3 The Projector as Spectator’s Searchlight 66

The Power of Projection 69

Opening the Screen’s Dimensions 74

Frame as Threshold 79

Writing out of the Frame 90

4 The Evolution of the Subjects of Cinema 98

Modern Film: Between Classic and Avant-Garde 99

The Ontogeny of Cinema 110

Credits and Auteurs: An Ecology of Adaptation 123

Fidelity: The Economy of Adaptation 129

Index 147

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Author Information

Dudley Andrew is the R. Selden Rose Professor of Film and Comparative Literature at Yale University. The author of many books, including Mists of Regret (1995) and Popular Front Paris (2005), he is an Officier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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"With this elegant volume, Dudley Andrew brilliantly continues his extended project of producing a historiography of film theory and of French cinema.  He has given us a book worthy of André Bazin’s  intelligence, originality, curiosity, and spirit." Eric Smoodin, University of California at Davis

"A new slant on Bazin with fresh disclosures for our era of digital media is always welcome, especially from Dudley Andrew, Bazin's foremost expositor.  Andrew's graceful and analytic prose is peppered with timely provocations of his own, starting with the Preface.  Made manifest throughout is the continuing relevance of Bazin's devotion to cinema and compassion for humanity." Edward Branigan, University of California at Santa Barbara

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