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 kick off point 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 earlier and current. those essays comprise discussions of authorship, edition, and performing; commentaries on Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick; and studies of more moderen paintings by way of non-Hollywood administrators Pedro Costa, Abbas Kiarostami, Raúl Ruiz, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. vital subject matters recur: the relatives among modernity, modernism, and postmodernism; the altering mediascape and dying of older applied sciences; and the necessity for powerful serious writing in an period whilst print journalism is waning and the arts are devalued. The publication 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
Like Narboni and Comolli, Screen was suspicious of Hollywood entertainment and tended to subsume individual practices under generalized formal categories, to which it attributed ideological effects; it closely examined the ways a hypostasized “subject” was positioned by narrative conventions and the technical apparatus, and it repeatedly argued on behalf of a modernist or avant-garde cinema that was both politically activist and critically selfreflexive. Theory in this period was Marxist (via Louis Althusser), but just as disdainful of social realism as the auteurists had been.
Huyssen doesn’t mention Godard or Truffaut, but the New Wave belongs on his list of postmodern developments. 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.
Godard is the implicit source of these allusions and is therefore identified with both the man of action and the would-be artist, with both the rebel and the conformist—although it may be significant that he makes a cameo appearance (imitating Hitchcock) as a man on the street who points out Michel to the cops. The New Wave was fostered by postmodernity, but it retained residual features of romanticism and critical modernism. However it might be described, the important point is that French success in the art theaters gave the auteurist writings of Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, and Chabrol a special authority.