Fondane, Benjamin (1898–1944) By Rubens, Andrew
A primarily francophone Jewish poet and writer of Romanian origin, Fondane became known as a critic, poet and dramaturge in Romania before leaving Bucharest for France in 1923. In Paris, he mixed with the avant-garde of the 1920s both as a poet and as a critic and philosopher of cinema. An admirer of René Clair and Man Ray, he emphasized the liberating and transgressive possibilities of silent cinema and became first a scriptwriter and then a director, shooting the avant-garde film Tararira in Argentina in 1936. He became close to the Dadaists, the Grand Jeu group (Roger Gilbert Lecomte, René Daumal) and dissident surrealists. He also represented the Romanian avant-garde in Paris with the magazine Intégral and wrote a remarkable essay on Constantin Brancusi’s sculpture in 1929.