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Bazin and speculative realism…

The Object's Gaze

Any attempt to think through the implications of Speculative Realism for film and film theory would have to come to terms, at some point, with the work of the great French critic André Bazin, since cinematic realism is most typically evoked in conjunction with his writings on cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. This conjunction (Bazin + realism) is also typically the means by which the contemporary theorist qualifies, or more likely disqualifies, a consideration of this term. Bazin is construed as positing a naïve realism that ignores the larger – social, cultural – contexts in which cinema is embedded and made to signify. As structuralism, post-structuralism and post-modernism gained ascendancy in the discipline of Film Studies, Bazinian realism came increasingly to seem merely a quaint relic of a bygone era.

It is telling that one of the few attempts to elaborate a defense of Bazin in recent years –…

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