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Andre Bazin & Rudolf Arnheim Essay

1604 words - 7 pages

This critical review will focus on the articles of Andre Bazin [What is cinema?] (1945) and Rudolf Arnheim [From Film as Art: the complete film] (1933). Through a close reading of both articles, I intend to evaluate and compare the different concepts of cinematography based on the two different film critics’ articles from a critical point of view. These two articles highlight the same topic from different perspectives with regards to cinema and art, what they have in common and how each writer keeps the ideology of cinema being a piece of art. Do both critics share common values and principles in relation to what cinema means to them or do they differentiate completely with respect to their insights of `What is cinema` and what is `The complete film`?
Both articles are engaging as they offer a wide outlook at how cinema is critically seen and perceived by Bazin and Arnheim. Looking at Bazin`s ideology of cinema as an individual in `What is cinema?: The ontology of the photographic image` (2004), Bazin accentuates and concentrates throughout his article primarily on art and photography supporting his statements from a historical view based on cinema: `If the plastic arts were put under psychoanalysis, the practice of embalming the dead might turn out to be a fundamental factor in their creation` (p 166, 1945). Here Bazin describes the embalming of the mummies in Ancient Egypt to put emphasis on the significance of his belief that cinema is art and that the artistic values in cinema should be respected religiously in order to provide clear reality to the spectator.
On the other hand Rudolf Arnheim remains one of the essential writers who produced work in defining film art, understanding film less as reproducing the world than as opening up new possibilities for formal play and unexpected imagery. Arnheim's essay based on `The complete film` is not only central to understanding a major historical moment in theoretical debates about what constitutes the 'essence' of film, but also are a must read for anyone seeking a lucid, detailed, and rigorous argument about how works of art emerge from expressive constraint as much as expressive freedom.
Arnheim as Bazin focuses on cinema with the same anticipation of showing the `reality` (p183,2004) in a film. Arnheim's approach is anti-realist: It argues that film is art precisely and only to the extent that it is different from reality. He therefore emphasizes the role of uniquely cinematic effects in the creation of film art. In fact to Bazin being a neo-realist, reality and everything that can support it such as sound, deep focus, and invisible editing, defines what film should be. He claims that the introduction of sound, far from destroying film as an art form, actually enhanced it as an essential element of reality. To Bazin cinema has a vocation that he considers ontological to produce reality; therefore it has to produce devoted representations of the same ambiguity.
Andre Bazin states that colour,...

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