Noël Burch

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Noël Burch (22 January 1932) is an American film theorist.

Born in the United States (San Francisco) in 1932, Noël Burch has been living in France since 1951. He graduated from the Institut Des Hautes Etudes Cinèmatographiques in 1954. While primarily known for his theoretical writings, he has always positioned himself as a filmmaker and has directed over twenty titles, mostly documentaries.

Burch has been publishing since the 1960s. Among his numerous publications are his first and best known book Theory of Film Practice (New York: Praeger, 1973) and To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in Japanese Cinema (Berkeley, 1979), which remains the most robust history of Japanese cinema written by a Westerner.

From 1967 to 1972, he collaborated with Janine Bazin and Andrè S. Labarthe for the celebrated series, Cinèastes de Notre Temps, and directed seven programs which are considered to have renewed the “film-maker portrait” in the heroic years of French public television. It was during that same period that Burch was co-founder and director of the Institut de Formation Cinèmatographique, an alternative film school associating theory and practice. (Source)


Praxis du cinéma, 1969
  • Praxis du cinéma, Paris: Gallimard, 1969; 1986; 2006. [1] (French)
    • Theory of Film Practice, trans. Helen R. Lane, intro Annette Michelson, Praeger Publishers, 1973; Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981, PDF, PDF, IA, ARG.
    • Práxis do cinema, trans. Nuno Júdice and Cabral Martins, Lisboa: Estampa, 1973, PDF, PDF, IA, ARG. (Portuguese)
  • Marcel L’Herbier, Paris: Seghers, 1973. (French)
To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in the Japanese Cinema, 1979, PDF.
  • To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in the Japanese Cinema, rev. and ed. Annette Michelson, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979, 387 pp; London: Scolar Press, 1979, 387 pp, PDF, PDF, IA, ARG. TOC [2]
  • Pour un observateur lointain, Paris: Gallimard/Cahiers du cinéma, 1983. (French)
    • Life to those shadows, trans. and edited by Ben Brewster, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1990, 317 pp, PDF, PDF, IA, ARG. TOC (English)
  • La Lucarne de l’infini. Naissance du langage cinématographique, Paris: Nathan, 1991. (French)
  • with Geneviève Sellier, La Drôle de guerre des sexes du cinéma français: 1930-1956, intro Michelle Perrot, Paris: Nathan Université, 1996. (French)
    • The Battle of the Sexes in French Cinema, 1930-1956, trans. Peter Graham, Durham and London: Duke University Press Books, 2014, PDF, ARG.
  • Revoir Hollywood: la nouvelle critique anglo-américaine, Paris: Nathan, 1993. (French)
  • De la beauté des latrines: Pour réhabiliter le sens au cinéma et ailleurs, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2007. (French)
  • with Geneviève Sellier, Le cinéma au prisme des rapports de sexe, Paris, Vrin, 2009. (French)
  • with Geneviève Sellier, Ignorée de tous...sauf du public (quinze ans de fiction télévisée française 1995-2010), Bry-sur-Marne, INA, 2013. (French)
  • with Geneviève Sellier, L'amour des femmes puissantes: introduction à la viragophilie, Paris, EPEL, 2015. (French)

Articles (selection)[edit]