French Film Theory and Criticism: A History/Anthology, by Richard Abel

By Richard Abel

Those volumes learn an important yet formerly missed second in French cultural historical past: the emergence of French movie idea and feedback ahead of the essays of Andr Bazin. Richard Abel has devised an organizational scheme of six approximately symmetrical sessions that serve to "bite into" the discursive circulation of early French writing at the cinema. all the sessions is mentioned in a separate and large historic creation, with convincing explications of a number of the innovations present on the time. In every one example, Abel is going directly to offer a complementary anthology of chosen texts in translation. Amounting to a transportable archive, those anthologies make to be had a wealthy choice of approximately 100 and fifty vital texts, so much of them by no means earlier than released in English.

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Additional info for French Film Theory and Criticism: A History/Anthology, 1907-1939. Volume 2: 1929-1939 (French Film Theory & Criticism)

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Accordingly, in Pour Vous (3 July 1930), Clai'r offered a short history lesson to counter his antagonist's crude conception of the silent film as no more than an extension of pantomime. 88 In one sense, however, Clair's lesson was beside the point, for Pagnol's position was simply an extreme form of an attitude shared by most French critics and filmmakers. 8 9 Film now was essentially a medium of adaptation. 9┬░ L'Herbier countered the old idea that the author of a play or novel adapted for the cinema was the author of the film version by arguing that the work of film adaptation itself was a creative act and hence the adaptor, too, was a legitimate creative artist.

11 5 While Carne did not rule out the use of adaptationsfor instance, Eugene Dabit's Hotel du Nord(1931), which he himself would later turn into a controversial film-or professional actors, he held true to the longstanding aesthetic tradition: to describe the simple life of a humble people and depict the atmosphere of their milieu. " 11 1 Despite a few prototypical sound films such as Gremillon's La Petite Lise (1930), whose simple, discreet use of dialogue, sound effects, and silence created a quasi-realistic atmosphere of dread and suspense, 118 it was not until 1934 that at least one film seemed to exemplify Carne's position perfectly.

7 The Surrealists's practice of synthetic criticism-that is, distilling the latent "dream content" of popular films-continued to flourish in the early 1930s. In his essay on the Marx Brothers, for instance, Artaud celebrated the hallucinatory twilight finale of Monkey Business (1931) for the way its comedy provoked the eruption of seething anarchy (sexual in nature) and total rebellion against convention. 72 And in his review of King Kong ( 1933), Jean Levy brought this critical praxis to a kind of culmination by recuperating the absurdity of the film's plot, "its violent oneiric power," "its monstrous eroticism," and the unheimlich (uncanny) quality of its sets and special effects.

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