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July 21 , 2008

Impure Cinema

Intermedial and Intercultural Approaches to Film


André Bazin’s famous article, ‘Pour un cinéma impur: défense de l’adaptation’, was first translated into English simply as ‘In Defence of Mixed Cinema’, probably to avoid any uncomfortable sexual or racial resonances the word ‘impure’ might have. Impure Cinema goes back to Bazin’s original title precisely for its defence of impurity, applying it on the one hand to cinema’s interbreeding with other arts and on the other to its ability to convey and promote cultural diversity. In contemporary progressive film criticism, ideas of purity, essence and origin have been superseded by favourable approaches to ‘hybridization’, ‘transnationalism’, ‘multiculturalism’ and cross-fertilizations of all sorts. Impure Cinema builds on this idea in novel and exciting ways, as it draws on cinema’s combination of intermedial and intercultural aspects as a means to bridge the divide between studies of aesthetics and culture. Film is revealed here as the location par excellence of media encounters, mutual questioning and self-dissolution into post-medium experiments. Most importantly, the book argues, film’s intermedial relations can only be properly understood if their cultural determinants are taken into account. Scholars and students of film, cinéfiles and students of the arts will discover here unexpected connections across many artistic practices.
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