Colloque international "La magie des effets spéciaux. Cinéma - Technologie - Réception" / "The Magic of Special Effects: Cinema - Technology - Reception" international conference (5 -10 NOV 2013)

Dudley Andrew (Yale University)
Keynote Speaker

Fake Blood for a Real Poet: Jean Cocteau and Special Effects


At the very moment he was proselytizing for neo-realism and his notorious « hands off » aesthetic, André Bazin’s closest collaborator on the cultural front was Jean Cocteau. Together they animated the Objectif 48/49 film club; together they put on the Festival du film maudit in Biarritz in mid-summer 1949. Together they are listed as authors of perhaps the first monograph devoted to a film director, « Orson Welles » (Chavane). How did Bazin reconcile his realist aesthetic with Cocteau’s penchant for pranks if not magical tricks? I plan to examine Cocteau’s idea of “myth” in relation to Bazin’s sense of “stylistic and technological evolution”. This dialogue between myth and history has consequences for the media and for art. Cocteau may be the best example of a tension endemic to cinema, at least in its crucial post-war moment.


Dudley Andrew is the R. Selden Rose Professor of Film and Comparative Literature at Yale. Biographer of André Bazin (new edition 2013), he extends Bazin’s thought in What Cinema Is! (2011) and in the edited volume Opening Bazin (2012). Committed to aesthetics, hermeneutics and history, he published Film in the Aura of Art in 1984, then focused on French film and culture in Mists of Regret (1995) and Popular Front Paris (2005). He also co-edited The Companion to Francois Truffaut (2013). For these publications, he was named Officier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

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