French Cinema of the Occupation and Resistance : The Birth of a Critical Esthetic by Andre Bazin ; Collected and with an introduction by Francois Truffaut ; Translated by Stanley Hochman
New York : Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1981. Hardcover. 166 pages ; photographic illustrations ; 22 cm. $12.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Binding is tight, pages are clean and unmarked.
FRENCH CINEMA OF THE OCCUBTON AND RESISTANCE
BY ANDRE BAZIN
Never previously collected, these reviews and articles by Andre Bazin, covering a rich but misunderstood period of French cinema, are doubly important in that they show the critical development of the man who "single-handedly brought the French film back to life" (Pauline Kael).
In an insightful introduction and notes for this newly available material, director Frangois Truffaut provides an overall historical context that incidentally throws an interesting light on aspects of his own triumphant Le Dernier Metro, a film set in the German occupation of Paris during World War II.
Despite difficulties caused by material shortages, the flight or imprisonment of major cinema artists, and the harassment of censors, these tragic years demonstrated the vitality of French cinema. They saw the emergence of new talent such as that of Robert Bresson, whose Les Anges du Peche Bazin was among the first to hail and the reaffirmation of the cinematic genius of such men as Jean Delannoy and Marcel Carne in works like L 'Eternel Retour and Les Visiteurs du Soir.
But whether he is analyzing a masterpiece or a turkey, Bazin's true topic is cinema itself—its nature, formation, and future. The origins of the auteur-based approach to film criticism in Bazin's classic What Is Cinema? are clear in such incisive articles as "Let's Rediscover Cinema!," "How Not to See Films," and "Cinema and Popular Art."
The collection also includes a number of surprises, among them Andre Malraux's detailed commentary on Bazin's analysis of his still underappreciated film adaptation of L'Espoir, and the critical parallels the French critic draws between Christian-Jaque's Boule de Suif and John Ford's earlier Stagecoach, which unknown to Bazin had been inspired in part by the same source—a Guy de Maupassant short story. Of equal importance is Bazin's early appreciation of Maurice Jaubert, whose film scores for Rene Clair's QuatorzeJulliet and Julien Duvivier's Camet de Bal, are now recognized classics.
All in all, this important study is not only a must for the serious film student but a feast for the average film buff.
ANDRE BAZIN (1918-1958) was one of the co-founders ofCahiers du Cinema, probably the most influential film periodical ever published. He attracted to his banner young critics such as Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, and Chabrol, who went on to create France's brilliant New Wave. He was a rare instance of a film critic who inspired the enthusiasm of filmmakers, and Bunuel said of him: "He disclosed to me aspects of my work that I myself was unaware of."
FRANgoiS TRUFFAUT, originally a Cahiers critic, is the director of such classic films as Les Quatre Cent Coups (1959), Jules et Jim (1961), and La Nuit Americaine (1973). His most recent film is Le Dernier Metro (1980).
Stanley Hochman, the translator, is the editor of American Film Directors (1974). He has also translated Eric Rohmer and Claude Chabrol's Hitchcock: The First Forty-Four Films (1979).
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