Andre Bazin was a French film critic of the 50’s. One of his books (two volumes) is described as quintessential for film students, What is Cinema?, which made for the perfect bragabook (book you read to brag about). Your French accent and quirky moustache could only get him so far, it was his writing which established him as THE film critic to read. It has endured for 50 or 60 years, and will continue to endure, an extraordinary feat considering that cinema was only beginning to get credibility as an art, which makes him a pioneer.
Bazin was an admirer of Jean Renoir and Orson Welles. He wrote a book about each of them, but my library had only the latest – which was actually surprising considered its dimensions and the general lack of demand for fifties French film criticism on a director with only one recognizable work in my country.
I devoured the book in one day. It’s short and a particularly boring passage of Karamazov Brotherscombined with a particularly boring afternoon at the beach, made reading it in one sitting the most sensible course of action. It had pictures, too.
I learned quite a few things I didn’t know about the man and his upbringing, his difficulties to get a movie done and his personality. He said something worth quoting, that I couldn’t find on the web:
“Only the optimists are incapable of understanding what it means to love an ideal.”
(Unprecedented words from an interview in the Ritz, 27th of July of 1958)
He broke my heart, by confirming he lifted the story of the Cuckoo Clock from a Hungarian play and Continue reading “Orson Welles Never really liked Movies”