Camera Historica: The Century in Cinema

Camera Historica: The Century in Cinema

by Antoine de de Baecque
     
 

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Antoine de Baecque proposes a new historiography of cinema, investigating how cinematic representation changes the very nature of history and our understanding of it. Whether portraying events that occurred in the past or stories that were unfolding before their eyes, certain twentieth-century filmmakers have used a particular mise-en-scène to give form to

Overview

Antoine de Baecque proposes a new historiography of cinema, investigating how cinematic representation changes the very nature of history and our understanding of it. Whether portraying events that occurred in the past or stories that were unfolding before their eyes, certain twentieth-century filmmakers have used a particular mise-en-scène to give form to history. This phenomenon, which de Baecque terms the "cinematographic form of history," disrupts the very material of film, much like historical events themselves disturb the progress of human narrative.

De Baecque defines, locates, and interprets cinematographic forms in seven distinct bodies of cinema: 1950s modern cinema and its conjuring of the morbid trauma of war; French New Wave and its style, which became the negative imprint of the malaise felt by young contemporaries of the Algerian War; post-Communist Russian films, or the "de-modern" works of catastroika; contemporary Hollywood films that attach themselves to the master fiction of 9/11; the characteristic mise en forme of filmmaker Sacha Guitry, who, in Si Versailles m'était conté (1954), filmed French history from inside its chateau; the work of Jean-Luc Godard, who evoked history through his own museum memory of the twentieth century; and the achievements of Peter Watkins, the British filmmaker who reported on history like a war correspondent. De Baecque's introduction clearly lays out his theoretical framework, a profoundly brilliant conceptualization of the many ways cinema and history relate.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

Cinema and history are in lively dialogue here, which creates much more exciting reading...highly recommended.

Film Comment
Those in search of superb academic writing need look no further. De Baecque renders a beguiling mix of auteurism, rigorous methodology, and historical analysis in an evenhanded, engaging tone.

— Jonathan Robbins

Tim Burton

Thanks to this book I now understand precisely why and how I am gothic.

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Antoine de Baecque is one of our most meticulous and enterprising film historians, and in Camera Historica he finds a new way of looking at the two sides of his interest, film and history, making each a clarifying reflection of the other. As a particular bonus, he's especially good on important filmmakers who emerged during the 60s, such as the Nouvelle Vague and Peter Watkins.

Alain Badiou

Camera Historica marks a new stage in thinking about the relationship between cinema (as art) and history (as both real and narrative). Going beyond the classic 'histories of cinema,' this book reveals what cinema makes of history, its way of making history visible, and of allowing us to judge it.

Midwest Book Review

Politics, social insights and film art blend in a scholarly international probe perfect for film analysts studying the art and culture of cinema.

Cineaste - David Sterritt

presents an intelligent, opinionated, emotionally engaging, intermittently flawed meditation on cinema's ongoing negotiations with history...

American Historical Review - Paula Amad

Camera Historica is a refreshing and stimulating read, ultimately offering a vital contribution to the ongoing need for serious discussions of the intersections between film and history.

Film Comment - Jonathan Robbins

Those in search of superb academic writing need look no further. De Baecque renders a beguiling mix of auteurism, rigorous methodology, and historical analysis in an evenhanded, engaging tone.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231156509
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
03/06/2012
Series:
European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Vanessa Schwartz

Antoine de Baecque is one of the most interesting and original historians writing today, as fluent in historical method as he is in semiotics and film history. This book is breathtaking in its scope, remarkable in its command of multiple cinematic traditions, and complex and thought-provoking in its arguments. The book ranges widely, treating everything from Chaplin films to middle-brow historical epics, from the politics of the French New Wave to the newest wave of Russian films made after the fall of Communism. The field of cinema and history is just opening up. No book has taken on as many different aspects of the relationship with such aplomb, verve, and insight. A landmark in the field.

Alain Badiou
Camera Historica marks a new stage in thinking about the relationship between cinema (as art) and history (as both real and narrative). Going beyond the classic 'histories of cinema,' this book reveals what cinema makes of history, its way of making history visible, and of allowing us to judge it.

Meet the Author

Antoine de Baecque is a literary historian and film critic. His books in English include Truffaut: A Biography, The Body Politics: Corporeal Metaphor in Revolutionary France, 1770-1800, Glory and Terror, and A History of Democracy in Europe. He has served as editor in chief of culture at the newspaper Liberation and as publisher of the publishing house, Les Editions Complexes.

Ninon Vinsonneau teaches American civilization and culture at École Centrale Paris.

Jonathan Magidoff is professor of English at Sciences Po, Paris.

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