Cinema has become a means of expression, just like all other art forms before it but it has an accessibility like none other. Astruc, foresaw the capability of film to be a medium which everyone get become their own author of. We have seen this evolve through the accessibility of technology. Now anybody in their bedroom with a webcam, or a phone can create films that they can share with the world. Through services like YouTube and Vimeo there is an audience for all genres and directors for film like never before.
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The writer and film director Alexandre Astruc, who has died aged 92, personified the gap between theory and practice. He called for an end to institutional cinema and for a new style that would be both personal and malleable.
Because of his influential articles on the future of cinema, expectations were high when he attempted to make two short 16mm films, in and , but they were amateurish efforts. Instead it pushed the voiceover experiments of Robert Bresson in his Diary of a Country Priest, of the year before, to an extreme.
However, the Nouvelle Chic might have been a more appropriate way of categorising it, with its white sports cars, cocktail parties, a recording studio, modern skyscrapers, jazz and Bach on the soundtrack and quick, slick cross-cutting.
The theme, a feminist one, concerned a wife Annie Girardot , who tires of merely being a social asset to her husband and finds an outlet by running an art gallery and taking a lover. In the end, she sacrifices both men for her independence. In fact, from the mids, he retreated into television, emerging rarely into feature film territory.
Unfortunately, with his own films, Astruc struggled to practise what he preached. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Film. France Europe obituaries.
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Alexandre Astruc obituary
Influenced by the introduction of the revolutionary 16mm film technology; French Filmmaker and critic Alexandre Astruc predicted a breakthrough in patterns of production and distribution in the moving picture. He envisaged the birth of new cinema aesthetics drawing on experiences of the avant-garde. His ideas were published in an essay where he discussed the cinema aesthetics used by Orson Welles and Jean Renoir and compared them to recent 16mm technology and television. He predicted that everybody would have a projector in their house, hire films of any topic from the bookstore and that there would be many more cinemas. He believed that cinema is just like literature; not just a particular art but a language which can express any thought. He successfully predicted that television would pose a threat to the cinema. The evolution of technology has allowed amateur filmmakers to purchase and use high-quality equipment and distribute their content to wide audiences.
Introduction to “The Future of Cinema” by Alexandre Astruc
One cannot help noticing that something is happening in the cinema at the moment. Our sensibilities have been in danger of getting blunted by those everyday films which, year in year out, show their tired and conventional faces to the world. The cinema of today is getting a new face. How can one tell?
But it takes on fresh importance when placed in dialogue with recent developments in film and media theory, from the film-philosophy movement of the past decade to the work on technics by Bernard Stiegler and others. It is exactly this contact, according to Astruc, that allows us to discuss cinema not simply in terms of art but also philosophy: cinema as an instrument or vehicle for thought. Bringing Astruc and Stiegler together can help foreground the importance of understanding the fundamental co-dependency of technology, artistry and industry in the evolution of the cinematic medium. Astruc begins his essay by suggesting that something qualitatively new is happening in the cinema. The latter to be understood in a number of ways: novelist, essayist, philosopher.
THE BIRTH OF A NEW AVANT-GRADE: LA CAMERA-STYLO
On the one hand, in , it was an anticipation. One day soon, filmmaking equipment would become smaller, cheaper, more flexible although Astruc was not yet able to imagine the advent of electronic videotape. He created a new persona for himself as a rather cranky cultural commentator. On one level, this exactly mirrors his propositions about cinema as a medium that freely mixes the most concrete, physical detail of the material world with the most abstract, metaphysical ideas. On another level, it was part of his particular, post-war culture and sensibility: he was a man of high culture, as his abundant literary references here prove, but he was also something of a dandy who liked to provoke his readers. But, in at least one important matter, I have respected the historical specificity of the text in order to address a common misunderstanding.