PRINT September 1972

Screen/Surface: The Politics of Illusionism


IN 1952 ANDRÉ BAZIN undertook to chart the course of film’s “New Avant-Garde,” beginning with an endorsement of narrative conventions in cinema that was to produce the orthodoxy of the ’60s and its attendant strategy, la politique des auteurs.

We may use the abandoned concept of the avant-garde if we restore its literal meaning, and, thereby, its relativity. For us avant-garde films are those in the forefront of the cinema. By the cinema we mean of course the product of a particular industry whose fundamental and indisputable law is the winning, by one means or another, of public acceptance. This may seem a paradoxical statement to make, but it carries a corrective provided by the notion of innovation. The avant-garde of 1949 is just as prone to misunderstanding on the part of the mass public as that of 1925. . . . This avant-garde arouses no less hostility. On the contrary, it

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.