Film scholar David Bordwell dies, 'we all owe him a lot'

    On February 29, local time in the United States, the famous film scholar David Bordwell passed away due to illness at the age of 76.

    On April 4, 2014, David Bordwell attended the press conference of the Hong Kong International Film Festival Newcomer Film Competition Jury. Visual China Map

    Bordwell has written many film studies either independently or with his wife Kristin Thompson, such as "A History of World Cinema", "Film Art: Form and Style", "Hollywood Narrative Techniques: Modern" "Stories and Style in Movies" and "Film Poetics" have long been regarded as classics by generations of movie fans and readers.

    "History of World Cinema"

    "Film Art: Form and Style"

    "Hollywood Storytelling: Story and Style in Modern Film"

    "Film Poetics"

    In his book "The Kingdom of Hong Kong Movies" (the old version was translated as "Secrets of Hong Kong Movies"), he quoted the sentence from the "New York Times" film review article, "It's all excessive, it's all crazy", which has already become a popular way for people to study and evaluate Hong Kong movies. My favorite phrase during the film. In addition, he has also produced featurettes and commentary tracks for The Criterion Collection DVD, which has been talked about by movie fans all year round, and has made great contributions to the popularization of film culture.

    "Hong Kong Movie Kingdom"

    David Bordwell was born on July 23, 1947 in New York State, USA. According to his own introduction, because the farm his family ran was far away from the countryside, he had no chance to go to the city to watch movies when he was a child. He could only watch some on TV. Old Hollywood movies. "But I have read a lot of books about movies since I was 12 years old, and I became very interested in movies. But at that time, there were very few books about movies, and most of them were books about the history of movies. In addition, I also read film reviews, including film review columns in fashion magazines, as well as specialized magazines such as Film Quarterly, Film, and Film Culture. At the age of 16, I got my driver's license and could finally drive to a nearby city to watch new movies. Foreign films were released. So I watched Fellini's "Eight and a Half" and many Orson Welles films. In my spare time, I also tried to make my own 8mm films."

    After that, he enrolled in the English major at the State University of New York at Albany. He originally planned to be a high school Chinese teacher, but he could never let go of his strong interest in movies. Especially during college, he organized campus film screening clubs and was exposed to a large number of Hollywood classics and the latest foreign art films, and finally decided to change his life plan. "In the fall of 1965, I saw Kenji Mizoguchi's "Sansho" at the Bleecker Street Cinema in New York City and was deeply moved. I wanted to know more about this movie and even the movie itself, so I applied to Iowa at the same time. Graduate qualifications in relevant fields from the University and New York University.”

    Eventually, he was admitted to the University of Iowa. After completing his graduate studies, he joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison and served as a faculty member in the Department of Communication Arts until his retirement in 2004.

    Throughout his life, Bordwell wrote, co-authored or edited about 22 books, including special treatises on individual directors, such as "The Films of Dreyer", "Ozu and the Poetics of Film", "The Films of Eisenstein" ", etc., there are also "Secrets of Hong Kong Films" and "The Classical Hollywood Cinema" which focus on different countries' film styles and film production models, and there is also an introductory textbook on film studies "Film Art" co-written with his wife Thompson : Form and Style. The book was first published in 1979 and has been updated and republished many times since then. It has been translated into more than a dozen languages and has a huge influence.

    In addition, the couple also started a pioneering personal blog called "Observations on Film Art" in the Internet era, analyzing film theories and introducing movie-watching experiences. They were very busy. Bordwell's last post on the blog was from February 26, three days before his death. The article introduces the selection of director Hou Hsiao-hsien's works that will be launched on Criterion's online platform in March, emphasizing that these films are rarely seen in the West, "but for those who appreciate his later works, these films are absolutely necessary to watch." ——As early as the 1990s, I made a special trip to Brussels and Taipei to watch the film versions of these films."

    After the news of Bordwell's death came out, a large number of film scholars and critics around the world expressed their condolences in various ways, including many filmmakers including the famous Hollywood screenwriter David Cape and producer James Schamus. , also sincerely thanked Bordwell on social media for his contribution to the popularization of film art.

    Damien Chazelle, the director of "Crackpot" and "La La Land" even said, "I learned more about film from David Bordwell than from anywhere else." To me, he is the American André Bazin... He combines film theory with film criticism in a completely new way. His book "Film Narrative" changed my view of stories; His book "Figures Traced in Light" changed my view on framing; his "Hollywood Narrative Methods" changed my view on Hollywood. He is a giant , generations of filmmakers, film critics, and film theorists (who are, ultimately, the same people) all owe him a great deal.”

    The author previously had two contacts with Bordwell when he was an editor of the weekly "Bund" Illustrated. One time, he wanted to publish an interesting article on his personal blog about the experience of sitting in the front row of a theater to watch a movie. He sent a letter asking if he could authorize it and how to pay for it. He quickly replied, happily agreed, and said he had no intention of charging royalties. The other time was in the planned interview feature with film critics, which also included Bordwell. He revealed in the interview that his favorite director is Ozu Yasujiro, but he has no particular favorite film critic; as for his multiple identities as a film critic, professor, and writer, he still "likes teaching and writing the most," especially after retirement. Writing on the film blog gives me a lot of fun”.


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