Isidore Isou

Isidore Isou

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THE POST-PHOTOGRAPHIC IN 1951: A SECRET HISTORY

By Adrian Martin

In this text by Isou, the term ‘post-photographic’ appears often – and prophetically. And let us take in the shock of this context: Isou wrote this smack in-between the publication of André Bazin’s endlessly anthologised “Ontology of the Photographic Image” essay in 1945 and the birth of Cahiers du cinéma magazine in 1951. Bazin, even though we take him today to be the absolute defining point of mid-century European film theory, does not even rate a mention from Isou, even as an enemy to be vanquished. Yet there is no doubt that Isou sought to wipe away most of what preceded him, as well as much that would follow him. Indeed, his proposal is still a radical manifesto waiting to be fully actualised. At the very least, we should do Isou the favour of reading “Aesthetic of Cinema”, since its untimely time may well have finally come in the 21st century.

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