Analysis of Myth of Total Cinema: Bazin

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The Myth of Total Cinema

Andre Bazin in his article, The Myth of Total Cinema, asserts that motivation behind cinema is realism. He explains his theory by examining the technology of cinema. He argues that cinema was not born from the technology advancement but rather from innate desire to reproduce the realism of our world. “The basic technical discoveries [are] fortunate accidents… essentially second in importance to the preconceived ideas of the inventors” (Bazin, 200). What Bazin means is that the invention of technology was not to gain profit rather to replicate and reproduce our real world on screen. Though he does argue that some were in it for the profit of the technology. Inventors of photography and cinema thought about what they will show and reproduce primarily to how they will achieve the reality of the world. In another words, the essential drive to reproduce the real led to the production of technology. The desire for realism did not come from the production of technology. Bazin goes on to explain that our understanding of cinema should not derive from the technology but from the reality that is perceived through the reproduction. Bazin goes on to state that: “The guiding myth, then, inspiring the invention of cinema, is the accomplishment of that which dominated in a more or less vague fashion all the techniques of the mechanical reproduction of reality in the nineteenth century, from photography to phonograph, namely an integral realism, a recreation of the world in its own image, an image unburdened by the freedom of interpretation of the artist or the irreversibility of time” (Bazin, 202).

What he is trying to elucidate is that the guiding myth of realism and cinema should be the production of cinema unburdened by an artist’s interpretation or subjectivity. It also means that the time is not restricted. In addition Bazin continues, “The real primitives of the cinema, existing only in the imaginations of a few men of the nineteenth...
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