Archive for publications, January 2019

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[Commlist] New Book: Eric Rohmer’s Film Theory (1948-1953)

Fri Jan 04 13:43:55 GMT 2019

New Book: Eric Rohmer’s Film Theory (1948-1953)

Marco Grosoli, /Eric Rohmer’s Film Theory (1948-1953): from ‘Ecole Schérer’ to ‘Politique des auteurs’/(Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018).

In the 1950s, a group of critics writing for /Cahiers du Cinéma/ launched one of the most successful and influential trends in the history of film criticism: auteur theory. Though these days it is usually viewed as limited and a bit old-fashioned, a closer inspection of the hundreds of little-read articles by these critics reveals that the movement rested upon a much more layered and intriguing aesthetics of cinema. This book is a first step toward a serious reassessment of the mostly unspoken theoretical and aesthetic premises underlying auteur theory, built around a reconstruction of Eric Rohmer's early but decisive leadership of the group, whereby he laid down the foundations for the eventual emergence of their full-fledged auteurism.

/Eric Rohmer’s Film Theory/sets out to show that the initial spark that ignited the 'politique des auteurs' was Rohmer's rejection of Sartre's philosophy and aesthetics in favor of Kant's and other "traditional" (as in: pre-20th century) philosophical perspectives. Essentially, the book describes and elaborates upon the brewing of 'politique des auteurs''s philosophical premises (as a result of Rohmer's aforementioned shift away from Sartre) between 1948-1953, i.e. before the actual 'politique des auteurs' emerged as such.

A second volume will then cover the actual ‘politique des auteurs’ years, between 1954 and 1959. This follow-up is currently being drafted, and will attempt to outline what the “young Turks”’ auteur theory was really about.



1. A Novelistic Art of Space

1.1. Sartre’s ontology

1.2. A novelistic ontology?

1.3. Cinema: Novelistic consciousness qua actual nothingness

1.4. An art of space

1.5. An art of appearance for appearance’s sake

1.6. Space vs. language

1.7. An art more novelistic than the novel itself

2. Alexandre Astruc: An Early but Decisive Influence

2.1. Kant’s transcendental aesthetics – and Heidegger’s reinterpretation

2.2. ‘Dialectique et cinéma’

2.3. From and beyond Sartre’s Heideggerian perspective

2.4. The ‘Camera-Stylo’

3. Under and On the Volcano: Rohmer’s Conversion

3.1. The Other

3.2. The triumph of exteriority over interiority

3.3. Pulling phenomenology back to its Kantian roots

3.4. Ethics

3.5. God?

3.6. Echoes of the conversion

4. The Art of Nature

4.1. To show and not to tell

4.2. Natural beauty

4.3. Immediate mediation

4.4. Movement and narrative

4.5. Mechanism as the background for freedom

5. Ethics at the Heart of Aesthetics

5.1. On abjection: The Wages of Fear

5.2. Films with a soul

5.3. Tragedy

5.4. Solitude morale

5.5. The vertiginous moment: The reversal between inside and outside

6. After Modernity: Rohmer’s Classicism and Universalism

6.1. Beyond modern art

6.2. Classic = Modern

6.3. An anti-evolutionist approach

6.4. Universalism

6.5. Authorship and mise en scène


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