By James Naremore
In 1895, Louis Lumière supposedly stated that cinema is "an invention with no future." James Naremore makes use of this mythical comment as a place to begin for a meditation at the so-called dying of cinema within the electronic age, and as a manner of introducing a wide-ranging sequence of his essays on video clips prior and current. those essays comprise discussions of authorship, edition, and appearing; commentaries on Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick; and studies of newer paintings by means of non-Hollywood administrators Pedro Costa, Abbas Kiarostami, Raúl Ruiz, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. vital topics recur: the relatives among modernity, modernism, and postmodernism; the altering mediascape and demise of older applied sciences; and the necessity for powerful severe writing in an period while print journalism is waning and the arts are devalued. The booklet concludes with essays on 4 significant American movie critics: James Agee, Manny Farber, Andrew Sarris, and Jonathan Rosenbaum.
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Additional info for An Invention Without a Future: Essays on Cinema
In some respects, Godard in 1959 resembles what we would nowadays call a postmodern critic. ” Even so, it helps to indicate an important fact about the auteurists’ place in film history. The classic cinema’s technology and modes of production had grown out of the period when oil replaced steam and coal as a primary fuel, when “Fordism” became the chief means of industrial organization and when mechanical inventions proliferated at a dizzy rate. ) Auteurism, by contrast, emerged in the declining years of the studio system, at the dawn of the television age.
Godard’s early work is roughly contemporary with Pop and clearly draws inspiration from the American commercial scene. To be sure, there was nothing special about a French intellectual who praised American movies. There was also a quality of old-fashioned enthusiasm in Godard and the auteurists, who were never as coolly detached as Andy Warhol and never so condescending to movies as Leslie Fiedler. Nevertheless, Godard used the language of high art to praise certain “pulpy” Hollywood auteurs, and as a filmmaker he borrowed imagery from such films as Some Came Running (1958), which Vincente Minnelli had designed to resemble what he described as “the inside of a juke box” (I Remember It Well, 325).
Although the auteurists and their earliest followers in Britain and America nourished their cult enthusiasms at revival theaters and museums, they belonged to a generation that would begin to use TV like a cinematheque, viewing films in no historical order and regarding the classic cinema as something distant or dying. Over the next decade, widespread academic study of film was prompted partly by auteurism and partly by the easy accessibility of old movies on TV—a phenomenon that enabled everyone to participate in an investigation of Hollywood’s past.