An Invention Without a Future: Essays on Cinema by James Naremore

By James Naremore

In 1895, Louis Lumière supposedly stated that cinema is "an invention and not using a future." James Naremore makes use of this mythical comment as a place to begin for a meditation at the so-called loss of life of cinema within the electronic age, and as a fashion of introducing a wide-ranging sequence of his essays on video clips prior and current. those essays contain discussions of authorship, variation, and performing; commentaries on Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick; and stories of more moderen paintings by way of non-Hollywood administrators Pedro Costa, Abbas Kiarostami, Raúl Ruiz, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. very important topics recur: the family among modernity, modernism, and postmodernism; the altering mediascape and loss of life of older applied sciences; and the necessity for strong serious writing in an period whilst print journalism is waning and the arts are devalued. The ebook concludes with essays on 4 significant American movie critics: James Agee, Manny Farber, Andrew Sarris, and Jonathan Rosenbaum.

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Extra info for An Invention Without a Future: Essays on Cinema

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The French auteurists never treated movies as a “seventh art” or a separate but equal member of the cultural pantheon. Instead, adopting The Reign of Adaptation / 39 Alexandre Astruc’s idea of the camera stylo, they spoke of film as a language and the director as a kind of writer, wielding a lens instead of a pen. They elevated the cinematic mise-en-scène to a greater importance than the scenario, and partly as a result it’s now commonplace for film historians to speak of directorial masterpieces or canonical works of cinema that revise and far surpass their sources.

Their culminating or extreme instance, and in one sense their crisis, was the period immediately before and after World War II, when New Criticism was in the ascendency in American universities and modernist intellectuals, including otherwise quite different theorists Theodor Adorno and Clement Greenberg, enunciated an idea of “authentic” art in defense against the culture industries. Greenberg’s famous essay “Avant-Garde and Kitsch,” for example, describes the essential project of modernism as “Content is to be dissolved so completely into form that the work of art or literature cannot be reduced in whole or in part to anything not itself” (25).

The New Wave was fostered by postmodernity, but it retained residual features of romanticism and critical modernism. However it might be described, the important point is that French success in the art theaters gave the auteurist writings of Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, and Chabrol a special authority. By the early 1960s the movement had spread far beyond France. In England, it influenced the best critics of the period, including Robin Wood, Raymond Durgnat, Victor Perkins, Peter Wollen, David Thomson, and the group of writers associated with Movie.

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