Sunday, May 15, 2016

Project: Reading Andre Bazin's What is Cinema?

I am resuming this blog after almost four years. Then, I largely wanted to become a professional filmmaker while (forcefully) pursuing academics to sustain myself till establishing the said professionalism. I had cursory ideas about major strains in film theory and criticism (not unlike now) and had opened this very blog as a site for exploring my parallel interest in musing upon cinephilia. Four years up, it appears to me that my situation has almost reversed. Now I am quite certain about pursuing a career in academia (as a consequence I am much more aware of academic prose now) while pursuing a self-sustainable model of film-making parallelly.

However, in these years, I have continually felt a serious lack of scholarly understanding pertaining to film theory. And while I am vaguely literate in major theoretical models from Continental philosophy, with which, I believe, most of film theory shares a contiguity and even models itself after, I am largely illiterate in the latter. Therefrom, I have decided to proceed with this project, where I read and write about classical film theory texts in a sketchy, meandering manner (an ideal image of what I am attempting are perhaps the infamously dense seminars of Jacques Lacan) solely through a frame of reference that is rooted in my readings and understanding of philosophy. I think it would be interesting, in a bizarre, often anachronistic manner, to arrive at critiques and problematiques that have been raised vis-a-vis these texts within film theory, independently. But, also, to arrive at critiques that are unexpected and hopefully very different from what has been hitherto theorized within the ambit of film theory and scholarship.

The first text in this exercise is, naturally, the most classical text of film theory, Andre Bazin's What is Cinema? which is, perhaps, most often cited as an introduction to film theory and criticism to each emerging generation of cinephiles and writers 'of' film. I would largely proceed in a chronological manner, mostly analyzing a short portion (like, really short) from the book, each week, elaborating through the text from beginning to end in a manner which might seem rather absurd, boring, and even stupid to trained film theorists. I surely do not hope this to be an obviously redundant "reader's guide" to Bazin's text, but, hopefully share a "new" reading of this old text.

For the introductory analysis in this project, I would be sharing my notes from the first part of Jean Renoir's Foreword to Bazin's book (i.e. roughly a page from his two page Foreword). I hope this project becomes enriching for some fellow readers! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment