Bazin is attempting to give credit to film and cinema, but as a result, does so by putting down other forms of telling stories, especially that of the theater. In comparison to the novel, “the theater by contrast is a false friend; its illusory likeness to the cinema set the latter en route to a dead end, luring it onto the slippery slope of the merely facile” (55). This comparison is rather harsh, as Bazin seems to be arguing that while many people believe the novel and theater to be “higher” forms of art, theater is actually responsible for the downfall of cinema (or more specially, the act of film-theater). Because theater and cinema seems to similar, they are more often than not compared to one another, thus inevitable comparisons are made, and thus cinema never seems to measure up to the theater (never mind Bazin’s other feelings towards theater—he seems to really be drilling into the readers head that cinema is superior to theater).

I wonder, based on Bazin’s feelings towards the relationship between theater and cinema, would the new developments in both theater in film changed his feelings, or would they have just been exasperated? Bazin himself expects there to be a change in the technical aspects of film; “while we wait until color or stereoscopy … create a new cycle of aesthetic erosion“ (74). It is entirely possible that Bazin’s argument never changes. Cinema might have new ways to present its story, but the very core of cinema remains the same—“on the surface cinema has no longer anything to conquer” (74). As an art, it does not need to be justified anymore. He expects there to be changes. Today, with CGI and 3D and other 4K technologies, it is entirely possible that he might believe that cinema is even more powerful than theater than ever before. Having these technical tools available cinematographers gives them more creativity than before, and separates them from theater. No longer does cinema need to rely on film-theater.

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One Response to Film-Theater

  1. I’m glad you picked up on those details–I was thinking of them last week when we were talking about whether or not new special fx and CGI stuff would actually change what cinema “does,” or whether they were just additional ways to express older ideas. It seems like you’re leaning towards the latter?

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