Andre Bazin was a renowned and influential French film critic. He was born in France in 1918. He died in 1958 aged 40 of Leukemia. He was the co-founder of the Magazine ‘Cashier du Cinema’ which under his leadership became one of the most distinguished publication in 1951 and was a major force in the post – World War 2 film studies and criticism.
Bazin believed in films that depicted ‘objective Reality’ and directors who made themselves ‘invisible’ He advocated the use of deep focus( Orson Wells) , wide shots( Jean Renoir) and the shot in depth and preferred what he referred to as ‘true continuity ‘ He believed that a film should represent a directors creative personal vision. These ideas were of pivotal importance on the development of the auteurs theory. Bazin is also known as an appreciative critic, only critics who like a film can write a review of it thus encouraging constructive criticism.
Photography according to Bazin , ‘evaporates the human touch’. It removes the artists fingerprint evident in the medium of painting and sculpture. Bazin explains that ‘Photography is successful in the reproduction of reality’. It is our very essence that is satisfied with our obsession with realism. No matter how skilful the painter, his work was always in fee to an in escapable subjectivity’. Photography and film replicate the physically real without the barrier that one encounters when admiring a painting or sculpture.
His books are a necessity for any student who is studying Films. I enjoy watching all types of films, so it was interesting reading about Andre Bazin and his opinions about films like Citizen Kane which to me is an all time classic.