Theory and criticism
in Eric Rohmer
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To establish the intertexts and artistic principles his films put into play, this chapter reviews the abundant critical writings Rohmer published in France from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. The film's mechanical, objective character, which Bazin first proposed in a landmark essay of 1945 on the 'ontology' of the photographic image, heralded in Rohmer's view a Copernican revolution, for it set cinema firmly apart from the other arts. The chapter aims to present and contextualise Rohmer's primary theoretical and critical insights. Yet Rohmer's writings warrant attention not simply as a pillar of high criticism within the local history of postwar French film comment. Despite the enthusiasm for Hollywood he shared with the Young Turks, Rohmer remains at base a Bazinian, for whom the cinema is inseparable from the belief in the camera's capacity for revealing the world in a manner unique among the arts.

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