This paper describes the history of the writing and the intellectual context for Nicole Vedrès's essay “The Leaves Are Stirring.” It places Vedrès's claims about cinematic realism and montage in dialogue with canonical theorizations of film theory in France at this pivotal postwar moment, including the writing of André Bazin, André Malraux, Roger Leenhardt, and Alexandre Astruc. It draws out the points of contact between Vedrès's text and these better-known studies of film aesthetics, placing the piece in the context of contemporary aesthetic discourse and arguing for its singularity in the landscape of postwar French film writing. Opening out from this historical context, it closes by gesturing toward the modernity of Vedrès's essay in terms of more contemporary archival filmmaking, as well as thinking on the relationship between cinema and history.

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