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La critique marxiste du cinéma dans les années ’30. Brecht, Benjamin, Fondane: iconoclasme ou iconophobie?



This paper shows that some principles of the Marxist criticism of cinema in the thirties are very close to the iconoclastic attitude towards images (the one manifested in the 8-9th centuries, or in the protestant countries at the “Renaissance”). The critics chosen to illustrate this phenomenon (Bertolt Brecht, Walter Benjamin, B. Fondane) don’t go as far as a perfect iconoclasm would require; they confine themselves to some kind of “iconophobia”. Marxist critics show that cinema, submitted to economic imperatives, is incapable of transmitting a “real presence”, of keeping the aura of things and people, and of dealing correctly with the representation of reality. Besides, cinema has a traumatic effect on spectators, destroying their revolutionary conscience by amusement and visual pleasure.

Keywords: marxism, cinema, iconoclasm, iconophobia