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Discuss Bazin's Idea That 'realism In Art Can Only Be Achieved Through Artifice'. What Are The Implications For Film Of His Approach? Make Reference To Films In Your Answers.

1570 words - 6 pages

When the influential French film theorist Andre Bazin is mentioned, an image of an asymptote, a curve which gradually approaches a straight line but which meets it only at infinity will automatically conjures up in my mind. By that asymptote Bazin actually means a images for the relation between film and reality. (pp 339.As one of the most sincere and substantial defender of realism in the cinema, Bazin believes that films should represent the reality of ordinary people's life and social change, and the primary function of showing the spectator the real world. By elaborating the objectivity of photography as the rescuer of painting from the obsession of realism, he argued that cinema shared that objectivity in time. (Bazin, 1967:10) Realizing there can only be a representation of reality, and the functions of films as making of 'an ideal world in the likeness of the real world', believing that the essential aim of filmmaking is the representation of the real world, he argues that the film, in order to fulfill its destiny of remaking the real world, will inevitably have to apply certain styles and techniques. He claimed that the need to apply artifice to give the illusion of transparency generated a creative tension that was crucial to the work of art. (pp 339. The cinema book) He argued that that films can only be understood through an understanding of their styles. (Bazin, 1980:35) and therefore the techniques and styles are quite crucial.Characteristic of Bazin's theory is the complication of his argument, as he realized realism has different forms. When we come to the crucial question of: Through which artifice can film fulfill its destiny of remaking the real world? (As there are different applications to different artifices) We have to consider it in a larger context of different representing form of realism provided by him. Bazin established a line beginning in the silent period, represented by Renoir in the 1930s, and culminating in the 1940s with a coalition of the Italian neo-realists and certain American filmmakers whose use of specific techniques made them pre-eminently realist. (Bazin, cited in Williams35) The Italians whose aims are to show the world and to do it as directly as possible, the realistic material permits the artist to discover realistic 'means of expression'. (Bazin, cited in Williams, 1980: 35) The Americans are realistic because they use deep-focus cinematography, a technical device that enables filmmakers to show foreground, middle ground and background simultaneously in one shot with equal clarity. (Bazin)In the following essay, I will explore the usage of artifice in terms of camera skills, characters and editing in different forms of realism as he proposed, and reference to several films, which echo with his theory.Italian neo-realism was the product of the Second World War and the defeat of Italian and German Fascism. Featured by the demand to break with the cultural heritage of Fascism and the rhetorical...

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