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Alexandre Astruc


“After having been successively a fairground attraction, an amusement analogous to boulevard theatre, or a means of preserving the images of an era, [cinema] it is gradually becoming a language. By language, I mean a form in which and by which an artist can express his thoughts, however abstract they may be, or translate his obsessions exactly as he does in the contemporaryessay or novel. That is why I would like to call this new age of cinema the age of caméra-stylo (camera-pen).”



The son of journalists, Alexandre Astruc (b. July 13th 1923) grew up on the ideas of Jean-Paul Sartre, was one of the youthful literati surrounding the philosopher in the St Germaine-des-Près cafes, espousing a new French culture that demanded new representations in fiction and film. After publishing his first novel Les vacances in 1945 and beginning his career as a journalist and film critic, he carved out his niche in the small library of worthwhile film theory. His short article “The Birth of a New Avant-Garde: La Camera-Stylo” in L’Ecrain Français argued that film should “write” in its own language as opposed to that of the theatre or literature. Astruc got his first taste of filmmaking, assisting directors Marc Allegret and Marcel Acherd in the late 40s, but his own highly anticipated films were slow in coming. Aside from a couple routine 16mm shorts, it was 1952 before he directed the 45-minute long, critically-acclaimed Le Rideau cramoisy (The Crimson Curtain), a 19th century… read more


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