(Reader) Bazin’s challenge

Andre Bazin discusses Georges Sadoul’s book on the origins of cinema, emphasizing a reversal in the conventional understanding of the relationship between economic, technical evolution, and imagination in the invention of cinema. The author argues that preconceived ideas and imagination were more critical than technical discoveries, portraying cinema as an idealistic phenomenon. The essay goes into the historical and technological aspects, pointing out that cinema’s true essence was the pursuit of a “total cinema” replicating reality: sound, color, and movement. It suggests that the birth of cinema was driven by a convergence of various obsessions and a myth of recreating the world in its image. 

The author challenges the traditional historical order of causality, which usually suggests that economic and technical advancements precede and drive creative and imaginative endeavors. Instead, the author argues for a reversal, proposing that imagination and preconceived ideas were primary in the invention of cinema.

The passage critiques traditional perspectives that focus primarily on technical advancements, emphasizing that these views do not adequately capture the essence of cinema. It advocates for a deeper understanding of cinema’s origins that incorporates imagination, vision, and obsession.

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