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What Cinema Is!

ISBN: 978-1-4443-5741-7
184 pages
September 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
What Cinema Is! (1444357417) cover image
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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Prologue: The Target of Film Theory.

1 The Camera Searching in the World.

Is a Camera Essential?

The Cahiers Axiom.

Tracing Bazin's Trace.

Images Contested Today.

2 The Editor's Discovery of Form.

Bazin’s Forerunners.

Documentaries in the Cauldron of History.

The Cahiers Line.

Pursuing Cinema in the Twenty-First Century.

3 The Projector as Spectator's Searchlight.

The Power of Projection.

Opening the Screen's Dimensions.

Frame as Threshold.

Writing out of the Frame.

4 The Evolution of the Subjects of Cinema.

Modern Film: Between Classic and Avant-Garde.

The Ontogeny of Cinema.

Credits and Auteurs: An Ecology of Adaptation.

Fidelity: The Economy of Adaptation.


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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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