Available only from caboose. $20 off with the purchase of Reading with Jean-Luc Godard. Details here. Take $10 off the new lower price of Montage, Découpage, Mise en scène: Essays on Film Form ($25 USD) and/or Introduction to a True History of Cinema ($30 USD individuals) with purchase of The Bazin Reader. Libraries receive Montage, Découpage, Mise en scène free with purchase of The Bazin Reader. Order here.

Beautiful 670-page sewn hardcover edition, with 45 texts by Bazin and an expanded glossary. With essays by the translator on the terms découpage, montage, mise en scène, technique and fait.

Read nearly 200 pages of samples from the book below, including Jacques Aumont’s introductory essay and the translator’s complete glossary of Bazin’s terms.

Praise for the previous caboose edition of Bazin’s writings:

This unique translation is a must-have for every film scholar working in English. It represents a massive and vital undertaking that, for the first time, brings together key essays by Bazin, many of which were previously unavailable in English — and it does so by going back to the original French versions rather than the edited and revised ones that circulated after Bazin’s death! This collection is simply the best access to Bazin’s work that currently exists in English. It also includes a very useful glossary of terms that in itself stands as an important contribution to film studies, with detailed discussions of key terms in Bazin’s writings. Attention to details — the documenting of sources, the identification of films in their original titles alongside the standard English titles and release date — as well as an introductory essay by major French film scholar Jacques Aumont add to the excellent translations to make this volume an essential document for every serious film studies library.
—Martin Lefebvre, Concordia University Research Chair in Film Studies

Read comments on and PDFs of print reviews of the 2009 caboose edition of selections from André Bazin’s What is Cinema?

Coming soon: André Bazin, Rhetorician: Epigrams 1942–1958

sewn hardcover
$90 CAD individuals
$200 CAD libraries


Recommend to a librarian

The André Bazin Reader

with an essay by Jacques Aumont
Translated with annotations by Timothy Barnard

The André Bazin Reader is the most comprehensive edition of French film critic André Bazin's work in English, with the most extensive commentary, the culmination of 13 years by the translator-publisher translating, annotating and commenting on his writings. Some 670 pages in length with 45 texts by Bazin totalling 200,000 words, this volume covers every period of his brief career, including his neglected later years, and all of his major interests. No other English-language edition has brought together all the major texts, found here in an acclaimed translation which has transformed our view of Bazin’s work. The 45 texts included here are all offered in their original version, in most cases for the first time, as they were written, published and discussed in Bazin’s day in post-war France – before Bazin and in some cases his posthumous editors revised and abridged them for republication.

In fact several of the essays in the volume have never before been translated into English. The volume includes brilliant essays on major filmmakers of the classical film period, including Renoir, Welles, Chaplin, Hitchcock, Bresson, Malraux, Pagnol and Wyler; essays on film and the other arts—literature, painting, theatre; the famous essay on Italian neo-realism; essays on documentary and science film; comedy; children’s films and animal films; film language and mise en scène; the western; television and new film technologies; exhibition and dubbing; Japanese cinema; film history; and the ‘politique des auteurs’ and the role of the critic. The volume’s new translations of these texts re-assert Bazin’s status as the pre-eminent film critic and theorist of all time. Each essay is extensively annotated by the translator, situating the man and his work in the cultural and social climate of post-war France.

Bazin sparkles in these new and revised translations, accompanied by 75,000 words of commentary. Jacques Aumont, France’s pre-eminent living film theorist, offers a portrait of Bazin and his work in an introductory essay that places him in his time and highlights his work as a cultural activist. This essay, written especially for this volume, is not only a rare opportunity for English readers to enjoy Aumont’s marvellous writing style and keen insights, some of which go against the grain of the myth around Bazin, but is also the first time in an extraordinary career that the author has trained his sights on his illustrious predecessor.

Aumont’s essay is complemented by a glossary of terms by the translator, who presents a lively and accessible discussion of some of Bazin’s key terms and situates this terminology in a history of film theory. Readers will discover the term and concept découpage, with the first-ever translation of the key Bazin essay with this title, which languished unread for nearly 60 years before the translator unearthed it. Bazin's essay is accompanied by a glossary essay on the term, along with glossary essays on montage, mise en scène, technique and fait.

Timothy Barnard brings a long career as a professional translator and his solid background in film history and theory to bear on this stunning new translation. Reviews of Barnard’s translation of What is Cinema? lauded its “elegant” and “graceful” style and the accuracy of his translations. In a published review, the film historian Paolo Cherchi Usai remarked that the book was “the most accurate, thoughtful and inspired translation of Bazin (or, for that matter, of any French film theorist) into English we have seen in a very long time”, while the film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum described it as “vastly superior” to previous translations of Bazin’s work.

The André Bazin Reader is published in a beautiful sewn hardcover cloth-bound edition on premium Swedish book paper, using the best materials and finest workmanship available.

For copyright reasons, this volume is not available for purchase in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe or Australia. Libraries, please purchase the book from Indiana University Press. Individuals may order the volume directly from the publisher. For orders in Canada, Japan, China, India, New Zealand, Taiwan and Korea, see ordering information above. Contact caboose for information about the availability of the book in countries not mentioned.

When Eadweard Muybridge and Étienne-Jules Marey made the first science films, they not only invented film technology, they created at the same time cinema’s purest aesthetic. This is the miracle of the science film and its inexhaustible paradox. Here, at the furthest reaches of interested and practical research, where the most absolute proscription of aesthetic intention as such reigns, cinematic beauty unfolds like a supernatural grace. Could any cinema of the imagination have conceived and depicted the bronchoscope’s fabulous descent into the underworld of bronchial tumours, where all the laws of the dramatisation of colour are naturally present in the sinister bluish hue of a visibly fatal cancer? Could any trick effect have created the fairy ballet of the freshwater animalcules which, under the microscope, miraculously arrange themselves like a kaleidoscope? Is there a brilliant choreographer, a delirious painter, a poet who could imagine these patterns, these shapes, these images? The camera alone holds the key to this world, whose supreme beauty is that of nature and chance—in other words, everything that a certain aesthetic tradition views as the opposite of art. Only the Surrealists had a presentiment of its existence; in the almost impersonal automatism of their imagination, they sought the secret of an image factory. But Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel would remain at a remove from the surrealist drama in which the late Dr de Martel, in order to carry out a complicated trepanning, began by sketching and hollowing out a face on the nape of a neck that had been shaved as bare as an egg. Whoever has not seen this does not know how far cinema can go.
—André Bazin, “The Science Film: Chance Beauty”, 1947

April 2023, 6” x 9”, 670 pp., index. Hardcover, full cloth boards. ISBN 978-1-927852-39-2. Libraries, $200 CAD. Individuals, $90 CAD. Printed and bound in the U.K. on premium Swedish book paper with sewn binding.

Praise for the previous caboose edition of writings by André Bazin:

This is the most accurate, thoughtful and inspired translation of Bazin (or, for that matter, of any French film theorist) into English we have seen in a very long time. Barnard has taken up the challenge of cleaning up the apparent mess created by previous English versions of Bazin’s work, commenting upon a number of key passages and concepts and making Bazin’s prose more accessible and enjoyable than ever before. Any serious film scholar should make the extra effort necessary to obtain a copy of this book. — Paolo Cherchi Usai, Journal of Film Preservation

One of the many merits of Timothy Barnard's new translation is that it puts Bazin back into history. The translation restores some of the urgency of the writing, while the copious footnotes supply much-needed context. It is far more scholarly than the existing edition, both in its annotations and in the quality of the translation, which is both elegant and accurate. — Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, Film Quarterly

For the first time, Timothy Barnard has given us the meticulous and scholarly edition of What is Cinema? that every lover of Bazin has dreamt of. The translator’s notes alone, with their enthralling discussions of important theoretical problems, make this edition worth consulting without delay. — Jacques Aumont, Université Paris 3

Each [text] is accompanied by an impressive philological labour, consisting either in finding the original of a quotation that Bazin had distorted or in setting out hypotheses, backed up by evidence, as to the meaning Bazin accorded to one word or another. The most imposing (and conclusive) research concerns the meaning of a term essential to Bazin, découpage. Barnard devotes to this word and to the difficulty of translating it a twenty-page note that is a veritable exercise in historical semantics. Most of all, Barnard’s entire enterprise consists in reintroducing history into a body of work from which it had largely disappeared. Through his editorial choices, Barnard has in a sense turned What is Cinema? inside out like a glove, revealing part of its hidden historical dimension. Anchored by his apposite notes, Bazin’s texts recover their historical weight.— Laurent Le Forestier, 1895

Girish Shambu informed me of a bookshop on Toronto’s College St. that carries a new translation of Andre Bazin’s What is Cinema? Because of copyright conflicts with the publisher of the previous translation, this edition, published by caboose, is unavailable [in the United States]. When I arrived and began perusing the film section, the clerk called out to me, “Are you looking for What is Cinema?” Rather astonished, I replied, “How did you know that?” “Oh, everyone with a TIFF badge who comes in here is looking for that book,” he replied. It seems that bringing home this translation is, hyperbole aside, almost reminiscent of the Americans who had to smuggle Ulysses out of France in their suitcases during the 1920s. Girish told me that, when he bought the book a few days earlier, the clerk quipped, “Some good, old-fashioned contraband, eh?” — Richard Porton

Vastly superior to the two volumes published by the University of California Press. I'm especially taken with the graceful flow of the translation. — Jonathan Rosenbaum

One of the boldest moves ever seen in Anglophone cinema studies. This new translation challenges us to jettison received wisdom and take a fresh look at what Bazin actually wrote, linking him tellingly to Malraux and Kracauer (an astounding and ingenious intuition). Barnard’s mission is to strip the questions in each essay bare for others to address. This tender and chivalrous sentiment is reinforced by painstaking translator’s notes, certain of which will undoubtedly become famous in their own right. — Dudley Andrew and Prakash Younger, CiNéMAS

Read Paolo Cherchi Usai’s review in the Journal of Film Preservation (Brussels) (no. 81, Fall 2009). Download PDF

Read Geoffrey Nowell-Smith's review in Film Quarterly (vol. 64, no. 3, Spring 2011). Download PDF

Read Jacques Aumont’s review (in French) in CiNéMAS (Montreal) (vol. 20, no. 1, Fall 2009). Download PDF

Read Dudley Andrew and Prakash Younger’s review in CiNéMAS (Montreal) (vol. 20, no. 1, Fall 2009). Download PDF

Read Donato Totaro’s review in the on-line film journal Offscreen.