Noël Burch

Born in the USA (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.

The Forgotten Space

(Noël BurchAllan Sekula, 2010)

Directed by filmmaker and author Noël Burch (b.1932) and the late artist, photographer and filmmaker Allan Sekula (1951-2013). The "forgotten space" of Sekula and Burch's essay film is the sea,...

Red Hollywood

(Thom AndersenNoël Burch, 1996)

Made in collaboration with Noël Burch, the video Red Hollywood is one product of Andersen’s years of research into the Hollywood blacklist, a larger project that comprises several essays and...