caboose announces a new edition of texts by André Bazin
caboose announces a new edition of texts by André Bazin:
André Bazin: Selected Writings 1943–1958
  • A new edition of Bazin in English to mark the 100th anniversary of Bazin’s birth
  • Twenty-six texts totalling some 130,000 words, all in their original versions
  • A broad range of texts from throughout the entirety of Bazin’s career
  • A major introductory essay by French film theorist Jacques Aumont
  • An extensive critical glossary by translator Timothy Barnard
  • Extensive samples available on the publisher’s site – links below
  • 503-page hardcover edition with sewn binding and cloth cover
  • Launching at the SCMS conference in Toronto 14–18 March 2018
  • 75% off for conference participants at the Rutgers University Press table
  • Distributed by Rutgers in Japan, China, India, Korea, Taiwan, New Zealand
  • Distributed in Canada by caboose
  • For copyright reasons, unavailable in the U.S.A., U.K., EU or Australia
  • Proposals invited for an anthology of writings on Bazin

Montreal, 17 February 2018—caboose, the independent scholarly publisher of books about film, is pleased to announce the publication of the largest and most comprehensive collection in English of writings by French film critic and theorist André Bazin to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth. This edition follows caboose’s previous acclaimed edition of selections from Bazin’s What is Cinema?, doubling the number of texts from throughout Bazin’s 15-year career. The volume includes a lengthy essay by renowned French film theorist Jacques Aumont, training his sights on his illustrious predecessor for the first time, and a major critical glossary of Bazin’s terms by translator Timothy Barnard.

The 26 texts included here are all offered in their original version—as they were written, published and discussed in Bazin’s day in post-war France, before Bazin and in some cases his posthumous editors revised and abridged them for republication. In most cases this is the first time these articles have been republished in their original form in any language, including French. Readers will discover the essay “Découpage”, the basis of Bazin’s most famous text and the most widely-read article in cinema studies, “The Evolution of Film Language”. “Découpage” languished unread for nearly 60 years before the translator unearthed it. This new translation re-introduces to English-language cinema studies Bazin’s theory of découpage, which is central to his aesthetic system but was obscured for a half-century by a poor translation. New translations of other texts reveal Bazin, contrary to all conventional wisdom, to have developed a refined theory of—montage! Or rather, as the French word montage is translated in this volume, of assembly.

Several of the essays in the volume have never before been translated into English, and a half-dozen have never been reprinted in French. The volume includes brilliant essays on major filmmakers of the classical film period, including Renoir, Welles, Chaplin, Bresson, Malraux and Wyler; essays on film and the other arts—literature, painting, theatre; the famous essay on Italian neo-realism; essays on documentary and science film; comedy; film language; film history; and the ‘politique des auteurs’ and the role of the critic. The volume’s new translations of these texts re-assert Bazin’s status as the pre-eminent film critic and theorist of all time. Each essay is extensively annotated by the translator, situating the man and his work in the cultural and social climate of post-war France.

Bazin sparkles in these new and revised translations, accompanied by 40,000 words of commentary. Jacques Aumont, France’s pre-eminent living film theorist, offers a portrait of Bazin and his work in an introductory essay that places him in his time and highlights his work as a cultural activist. This essay, written especially for this volume, is not only a rare opportunity for English readers to enjoy Aumont’s marvellous writing style and keen insights, some of which go against the grain of the myth around Bazin, but is also the first time in an extraordinary career that the author has trained his sights on his illustrious predecessor.

Aumont’s essay is complemented by a glossary of terms by translator Timothy Barnard, who presents a lively and accessible discussion of some of Bazin’s key terms, including découpage, montage and fait, and situates this terminology in a history of film theory. These two texts can be read free on-line at the links above, along with brief samples of the texts by Bazin in the book and the translator’s Note on the Texts.

Timothy Barnard brings a long career as a professional translator and his solid background in film history and theory to bear on this stunning new translation. Reviews of Barnard’s translation of selections from What is Cinema? lauded its “elegant” and “graceful” style and the accuracy of his translations. In a published review, the film historian Paolo Cherchi Usai remarked that the book was “the most accurate, thoughtful and inspired translation of Bazin (or, for that matter, of any French film theorist) into English we have seen in a very long time”, while the film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum described it as “vastly superior” to previous translations of Bazin’s work.

The publisher invites proposals for contributions to a planned anthology of texts on Bazin. In recognition of and to spur on the new-found interest in Bazin today, the organising principle of the volume is that it will include texts only by authors not known for working on Bazin. Please contact the publisher to discuss your proposal.

André Bazin: Selected Writings 1943–1958 is published in a beautiful hardcover edition totalling 503 pages, with a sewn binding and cloth cover, using the best materials and finest workmanship available.

April 2018, lvi + 447 pp., 6” x 9”, index, sewn binding, cloth boards, ISBN 978-1-927852-05-7, $125 USD

For copyright reasons, this volume is not available for purchase in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe or Australia. Canadian orders may be placed directly with the publisher. For orders in Japan, China, India (shipping January 2019), New Zealand, Taiwan and Korea, please contact your local Rutgers University Press sales representative. Contact the publisher for information about the availability of the book in countries not mentioned above.

When Eadweard Muybridge and Étienne-Jules Marey made the first science films, they not only invented film technology, they created at the same time cinema’s purest aesthetic. This is the miracle of the science film and its inexhaustible paradox. Here, at the furthest reaches of interested and practical research, where the most absolute proscription of aesthetic intention as such reigns, cinematic beauty unfolds like a supernatural grace. Could any cinema of the imagination have conceived and depicted the bronchoscope’s fabulous descent into the underworld of bronchial tumours, where all the laws of the dramatisation of colour are naturally present in the sinister bluish hue of a visibly fatal cancer? Could any trick effect have created the fairy ballet of the freshwater animalcules which, under the microscope, miraculously arrange themselves like a kaleidoscope? Is there a brilliant choreographer, a delirious painter, a poet who could imagine these patterns, these shapes, these images? The camera alone holds the key to this world, whose supreme beauty is that of nature and chance—in other words, everything that a certain aesthetic tradition views as the opposite of art. Only the Surrealists had a presentiment of its existence; in the almost impersonal automatism of their imagination, they sought the secret of an image factory. But Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel would remain at a remove from the surrealist drama in which the late Dr de Martel, in order to carry out a complicated trepanning, began by sketching and hollowing out a face on the nape of a neck that had been shaved as bare as an egg. Whoever has not seen this does not know how far cinema can go.

—André Bazin, “The Science Film: Chance Beauty”, 1947