Opening Bazin and Japan

Opening-BazinIt just so happened that the Yale faculty vote to give me tenure was on the same day as a reception for the publication of the anthology Opening Bazin: Postwar Film Theory and Its Afterlife, edited by my former teacher and current colleague Dudley Andrew. I actually heard the results of the vote just before the reception started. The coincidence was quite appropriate because it was in fact a paper using Andre Bazin to analyze Richard Lester's Superman III, written for John Belton during a summer course at Columbia back in 1983, which probably got me started on this career in film studies. Everything somehow comes back to Bazin.

The anthology is a marvelous revisiting of Bazin's work, one spurred by Dudley's herculean effort to gather all of Bazin's writings, not just the ones canonized in a few books. These writings, and the dozens of essays in the book, provide a much more complex and fascinating vision of Bazin's thought.

I mention this here in part because there are two essays in the book that talk about Bazin in relation to Japan. First, Nozaki Kan, in "Japanese Readings: The Textual Thread" (pp. 324-329) discusses how Japanese thinkers read and digested Bazin. And second, my student Ryan Cook writes about Bazin's discussions of Japanese film in "Japanese Lessons: Bazin's Cinematic Cosmopolitanism" (pp. 330-334). 

I encourage everyone to check out this important book.

Dudley Andrew and Herve Joubert-Laurencin, eds. Opening Bazin: Postwar Film Theory and Its Afterlife. Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-19-973389-7

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