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André Bazin

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  • born: 18/Apr/1918
  • died: 11/Nov/1958


André Bazin was a renowned and influential French film critic and film theorist.

Bazin started to write about film in 1943 and was a co-founder of the film magazine Cahiers du cinéma in 1951, along with Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and Lo Duca. Bazin was a major force in post-World War II film studies and criticism. In addition to editing Cahiers until his death, a four-volume collection of his writings was published posthumously from 1958 to 1962 and titled Qu'est-ce que le cinéma? (What is Cinema?). A selection from this collection was translated into English and published in two volumes in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They became mainstays of film courses in the English-speaking world, but were never updated or revised.

Bazin believed that a film should represent a director's personal vision, rooted in the spiritual beliefs known as personalism. These ideas would have a pivotal importance on the development of the auteur theory, the manifesto for which was François Truffaut's 1954 Cahiers article "A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema". Bazin also is known as a proponent of "appreciative criticism," wherein only critics who like a film can write a review of it, thus encouraging constructive criticism.

La politique des auteurs, edited by Bazin, included interviews with Robert Bresson, Jean Renoir, Luis Buñuel, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles, Michelangelo Antonioni, Carl Theodor Dreyer and Roberto Rossellini.

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