In screen studies and photography studies, the name of the acclaimed film theorist and critic André Bazin is frequently invoked by scholars seeking to defend the import of analogue media on ontological grounds by citing photography's privileged connection to the real. This article seeks to unsettle Bazin's reputation as the patron saint of analogue recording by exploring the ontological implications of the concept of sense in Bazin's writings on neorealism. Placing Bazin's writings into dialogue with a selection of critiques that find the digital image to be lacking in historicity, negativity, and presence, and flag its potentially authoritarian impulses, this essay seeks to reframe Bazin's ontological project as a question of cinema's sense (rather than its essence) to mobilize a different set of conclusions that may in fact prove to restore faith in the digital image and its rapport with the real. By maintaining that what is often treated as a purely technological problem also harbors aesthetics implications, this article confronts the manifest skepticism that has pervaded the discourse around the digital since the 1990s, seeking an alternative outlook in Jean-Luc Nancy's work on sense, an ontological concept that evidences the political potentials (or potential politics) of Bazin's predilection for images, which are said to ameliorate our love for reality by transmitting the excessive sense of the world in its ambiguity, creativity, and unpredictability.

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