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This classic in the literature of cinema represents the convergence of the three leading figures of French film: Jean Renoir, universally considered the greatest French director; Andre Bazin, the outstanding French film critic and theorist; and Francois Truffaut, the pioneer of la nouvelle vague. Bazin left this examination of Renoir's films unfinished when he died in 1958; Truffaut collected and edited the essays, and added a comprehensive filmography in which Bazin, Truffaut, Jacques Rivette, Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, and other Cahiers du Cinema regulars comment on the films. Here are brilliant insights into the whole of Renoir's oeuvre, from the avant-garde fantasy of La Petite Marchande d'Allumettes, through the epic humanism of Grand Illusion and The Rules of the Game, to the quiet grace of The River and the profound theatricality of The Golden Coach. Bazin shows why Renoir is the critical figure in the development of cinema since the silent era, and how he went beyond montage to give the art new expressive potential. Renoir's work constitutes one of the most fully and beautifully elaborated visions in contemporary art, and nowhere is this humanistic vision better illuminated than in this book.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780306804656
ISBN-10: 0306804654
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 19mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 1-Mar-1992
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » When Andre Bazin's life was tragically cut short by death at the age of 40 in 1958, he had already established himself as one of the best and most influential film critic-aestheticians in the world. He was, perhaps, the cinema's first scholar-critic and the cherished mentor of that group of French film directors who came to be called the "New Wave" and inspired the auteur theory - many of them contributors to this book. Among them are Francois Truffaut (who relying on Bazin's unfinished manuscripts and notes is responsible for the editing as well as the introduction and several essays in this book), Jean-Luc Godard, and Eric Rohmer. The veneration felt for Bazin by many Europeans parallels the feelings many Americans harbor for James Agee; and if the former was more disciplined in his approach to film, his writing certainly lacked the artistry of the latter. In Truffaut's introduction which admittedly eschews disinterestedness, he calls Jean Renoir "the best book on cinema, written by the best critic, about the best director." That one is inclined to demur from this compound hyperbole is less significant than the fact that this book is unquestionably one of the best books on cinema, written by one of its most respected critics, about one of its best directors. Bazin's book is certainly indispensable for anyone who is serious about film. Even if we occasionally disagree with his particular valuations, we cannot but be sensitized to flesh insights, exposed to new details, and, in general, come away from the experience more knowledgeable about the art of film. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Andre Bazin

Andre Bazin (1918-1958) was a film critic for Le Parisien Libere, the founder and editor of Cahiers du Cinema, and director of cultural services at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematiques. Considered a father figure by the filmmakers of the "new wave" of French cinema, he wrote dozens of important theoretical and critical essays on film, which are collected in the two volumes of What Is Cinema?

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