Dudley Andrew, “The Godfather: Critic and Cahiers du Cinéma Founder André Bazin, Still With Us After Fifty Years,” Film Comment Nov-Dec 2009, 38-41.
This is a short tribute kind of an essay, one written briefly to outline Bazin’s continued influence on film studies and his continual influence, though rarely acknowledged, throughout cultural theory since his death. Andrew makes the bold, but supportable, claim that in Bazin you can find the seeds to Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, and others. He says that, scanning the titles of Bazin’s works (which total in the thousands and only a fraction of which have been published in French, let alone translated into English), you can see that a concern with the auteur peaks in around 1948, after which Bazin shifts into issues related to culture and media. Bazin himself published an essay critiquing the politique des auteurs, which he saw as getting a little out of hand with his Cahiers du Cinéma cronies. Andrew believes that no classical critic would have been more prepared to address the current status of the moving image, perhaps most often consumed within a YouTube window (within a window) than Bazin. Andrew writes that Bazin’s famous essay, “The Myth of Total Cinema,” “shows him to have been more of a ‘media archaeologist’ than a cinema essentialist” (42). Andrew further notes that Bazin’s influence wasn’t just on critics (cultural, theoretical, or popular) but on filmmakers themselves. This was the case with Renoir, Rossellini, and Bresson, and it’s the case with younger generations of directors, too.