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Alejandro González Iñárritu
Celestino Deleyto and Maria del Mar Azcona
University of Illinois Press, 2010
This in-depth study of Mexican film director Alejandro González Iñárritu explores his role in moving Mexican filmmaking from a traditional nationalist agenda towards a more global focus. Working in the United States and in Mexico, Iñárritu crosses national borders while his movies break the barriers of distribution, production, narration, and style. His features also experiment with transnational identity as characters emigrate and settings change.
 
In studying the international scope of Iñárritu's influential films Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel, Celestino Deleyto and María del Mar Azcona trace common themes such as human suffering and redemption, chance, and accidental encounters. The authors also analyze the director's powerful visual style and his consistent use of multiple characters and a fragmented narrative structure. The book concludes with a new interview with Iñárritu that touches on the themes and subject matter of his chief works.
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Aleksandr Askoldov
The Commissar
Marat Grinberg
Intellect Books, 2016
Filmed in1966 and ’67, but kept from release for twenty years, The Commissar is unquestionably one of the most important and compelling films of the Soviet era. Based on a short story by Vasily Grossman, it tells of a female Red Army commissar who is forced to stay with a Jewish family near the frontlines of the battle between the Red and White Armies as she waits to give birth. The film drew the ire of censors for its frank portrayal of the violence faced by Russian Jews in the wake of the revolution.
            This book is the first companion to the film in any language. It recounts the film’s plot and turbulent production history, and it also offers a close analysis of the artistic vision of its director, Aleksandr Askoldov, and the ways that viewers can trace in the film not only his complex aesthetics, but also the personal crises he endured in the years leading up to the film. The result is an indispensable companion to an unforgettable film.
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Aleksandr Sokurov
Russian Ark
Birgit Beumers
Intellect Books, 2016
Released in 2002, Russian Ark drew astonished praise for its technique: shot with a Steadicam  in one ninety-six-minute take, it presented a dazzling whirl of movement as it followed the Marquis de Custine as he wandered through the vast Winter Palace in St. Petersburg—and through three hundred years of Russian history.
            This companion to Russian Ark addresses all key aspects of the film, beginning with a comprehensive synopsis, an in-depth analysis, and an account of the production history. Birgit Beumers goes on from there to discuss the work that went into the now-legendary Steadicam shot—which required two thousand actors and three orchestras—and she also offers an account of the film’s critical and public reception, showing how it helped to establish director Aleksandr Sokurov as perhaps the leading filmmaker in Russia today.
 
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Andrei Tarkovsky
Elements of Cinema
Robert Bird
Reaktion Books, 2008
The masters of Russian arts and letters are a prestigious fraternity that includes such renowned artists as Tolstoy, Rachmaninoff, and Shostakovich. But alongside these luminaries stands a lesser-known but equally revered figure, filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. Robert Bird offers in Andrei Tarkovsky an unprecedented investigation of Tarkovsky’s oeuvre and its far-reaching influence on world cinema.

Bird brings a novel approach to his dissection of Tarkovsky’s wholly original techniques and sensibilities, arranging the films into elemental categories of Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Solaris, Ivan’s Childhood, Mirror, Nostalgia, Andrei Rublev, and Sacrifice all get their due here; through them, Bird explores how the filmmaker probed the elusive correlation between cinematic representation and a more primeval perception of the world. Though the book also considers Tarkovsky’s work in radio, theatre, and opera—as well as his work as an actor, screenwriter, and film theorist—Bird throughout keeps his focus firmly on Tarkovsky as a consummate filmmaker.
 
Anchored by a wealth of film stills and photographs, Andrei Tarkovsky is a must-read for all film buffs and admirers of European cinema.
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The Architecture of Vision
Writings and Interviews on Cinema
Michelangelo Antonioni
University of Chicago Press, 2007
“A filmmaker is a man like any other; and yet his life is not the same. . . . This is, I think, a special way of being in contact with reality.” Or so says Michelangelo Antonioni, the legendary filmmaker behind the stark landscapes and social alienation of Blow-Up and L’Avventura, who here reveals his idiosyncratic relationship with reality in The Architecture of Vision.

Through autobiographical sketches, theoretical essays, interviews, and conversations with such luminaries as Jean-Luc Godard and Alberto Moravia, this compelling volume explores the director’s unique brand of narrative-defying cinema as well as the motivations and anxieties of the man behind the camera.

The Architecture of Vision provides a filmmaker’s absorbing reflections and insights on his career. . . . Antonioni’s comments . . . deepen and humanize a sometimes cerebral book.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“[Antonioni’s] erudition is astonishing . . . few of his peers can match his verbal articulateness.”—Film Quarterly
 
“This valuable resource offers entrée to material difficult to gain access to under other circumstances.”—Library Journal
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Charlie Chaplin, Director
Donna Kornhaber
Northwestern University Press, 2014

Charlie Chaplin was one of the cinema’s consummate comic performers, yet he has long been criticized as a lackluster film director. In this groundbreaking work—the first to analyze Chaplin’s directorial style—Donna Kornhaber radically recasts his status as a filmmaker. Spanning Chaplin’s career, Kornhaber discovers a sophisticated "Chaplinesque" visual style that draws from early cinema and slapstick and stands markedly apart from later, "classical" stylistic conventions. His is a manner of filmmaking that values space over time and simultaneity over sequence, crafting narrative and meaning through careful arrangement within the frame rather than cuts between frames. Opening up aesthetic possibilities beyond the typical boundaries of the classical Hollywood film, Chaplin’s filmmaking would profoundly influence directors from Fellini to Truffaut. To view Chaplin seriously as a director is to re-understand him as an artist and to reconsider the nature and breadth of his legacy.

 
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Cinema and Social Change in Latin America
Conversations with Filmmakers
Edited by Julianne Burton
University of Texas Press, 1986

Since the late 1960s, films from Latin America have won widening audiences in North America and Europe. Until now, no single book has offered an introduction to the diverse personalities and practices that make up this important regional film movement.

In Cinema and Social Change in Latin America, Julianne Burton presents twenty interviews with key figures of Latin American cinema, covering three decades and ranging from Argentina to Mexico. Interviews with pioneers Fernando Birri, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, and Glauber Rocha, renowned feature filmmakers Tomás Gutiérrez Alea and Carlos Diegues, prize-winning documentarists Patricio Guzmán and Helena Solberg-Ladd, among others, endeavor to balance personal achievement against the backdrop of historical, political, social, and economic circumstances that have influenced each director's career. Presented also are conversations that cast light on the related activities of acting, distribution, theory, criticism, and film-based community organizing.

More than their counterparts in other regions of the world, Latin American artists and intellectuals acknowledge the degree to which culture is shaped by history and politics. Since the mid-1950s, a period of rising nationalism and regional consciousness, talented young artists and activists have sought to redefine the uses of the film medium in the Latin American context. Questioning the studio and star systems of the Hollywood industrial model, these innovators have developed new forms, content, and processes of production, distribution, and reception.

The specific approaches and priorities of the New Latin American Cinema are far from monolithic. They vary from realism to expressionism, from observational documentary to elaborate fictional constructs, from "imperfect cinema" to a cinema that emulates the high production values of the developed sectors, from self-reflexive to "transparent" cinematic styles, from highly industrialized modes of production to purely artisanal ones. What does not vary is the commitment to film as a vehicle for social transformation and the expression of national and regional cultural autonomy.

From early alternative cinema efforts in Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba to a contemporary perspective from within the Mexican commercial industry to the emerging cinema and video production from Central America, Cinema and Social Change in Latin America offers the most comprehensive look at Latin American film available today.

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A Cinema of Obsession
The Life and Work of Mai Zetterling
Mariah Larsson
University of Wisconsin Press, 2020
Mai Elizabeth Zetterling (1925–94) is among the most exceptional postwar female filmmakers. Born in Sweden, she lived in England and France for most of her life, making her directorial debut in 1964 with the Swedish art film Loving Couples after a fraught transition from working in front of the camera as a successful actress.
Critics have compared her work to that of Ingmar Bergman, Luis Buñuel, and Federico Fellini, but Zetterling had a distinct style—alternately radical and reactionary—that straddled the gendered divide between high art and mass culture. Tackling themes of sexuality, isolation, and creativity, her documentaries, short and feature films, and television works are visually striking. Her oeuvre provoked controversy and scandal through her sensational representations of reproduction and motherhood.
Mariah Larsson provides a lively and authoritative take on Zetterling's legacy and complicated position within film and women's history. A Cinema of Obsession provides necessary perspective on how the breadth of an artist's collected works keeps gatekeepers from recognizing their achievements, and questions why we still distinguish between national and global visual cultures and the big and small screens in the #MeToo era.
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The Cinema of Yakov Protazanov
F. Booth Wilson
Rutgers University Press, 2024
Best known for Aelita (1924), the classic science-fiction film of the Soviet silent era, Yakov Protazanov directed over a hundred films in a career spanning three decades. Called "the Russian D.W. Griffith" in the 1910s for his formative role in the first movies in the last years of the Russian Empire, he fled the Civil War and maintained a successful career in Europe before making an unusual decision to return to Russia now under Soviet power. There his films continued their remarkable success with audiences undergoing a bewildering and often brutal revolutionary transformation. Rather than treating him as an indistinct, if capable craftsman, The Cinema of Yakov Protazanov argues that his films are suffused with a unique creative vision that reflects both his mindset as a traditional Russian intellectual and his experience of dislocation and migration after 1917. As he adapted his films to revolutionary culture, they intermingled different voices and reinterpreted his past work from a disavowed era. Offering fresh perspectives of Protazanov’s films, the book will give readers a new appreciation of his career. The book offers a uniquely valuable vantage point from which to explore how cinema reflected a society in transformation and a seminal moment in the development of cinematic art.
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Cinema Today
A Conversation with Thirty-nine Filmmakers from around the World
Oumano, Elena
Rutgers University Press, 2011
Imagine attending a fascinating film forum among a distinguished and varied panel of cinema legends. An afternoon or evening where contemporary filmmakers from around the world--Kazakhstan, Turkey, Macedonia, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, Egypt, Cameroon, Australia, the Philippines, South Africa, Greece, Portugal, Sweden, Japan, the People's Republic of China, Mexico, Poland, the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, and France--gather together to discuss how they arrive at the creative choices that bring their film projects to life.

Can't spare the time from work or class? Travel expense too great? What? You can't even find such a collaborative event?

Then imagine curling up with a good book, maybe a shot of espresso in hand, and becoming engrossed in the exciting and informative conversation that Elena Oumano has ingeniously crafted from her personal and individual interviews with these artists. Straying far from the usual choppy question-and-answer format, Cinema Today saves you from plowing through another tedious read, in which the same topics and issues are directed to each subject, over and over-an experience that is like being trapped in a revolving door.

Oumano stops that revolving door by following a lively symposium-in-print format, with the filmmakers' words and thoughts grouped together under various key cinema topics. It is as though these experts are speaking to each other and you are their audience--collectively they reflect on and explore issues and concerns of modern filmmaking, from the practical to the aesthetic, including the process, cinematic rhythm and structure, and the many aspects of the media: business, the viewer, and cinema's place in society. Whether you are a movie lover, a serious student of cinema, or simply interested in how we communicate in today's global village through films that so profoundly affect the world, Cinema Today is for you.
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Cinematic Encounters 2
Portraits and Polemics
Jonathan Rosenbaum
University of Illinois Press, 2019
Eschewing the idea of film reviewer-as-solitary-expert, Jonathan Rosenbaum continues to advance his belief that a critic's ideal role is to mediate and facilitate our public discussion of cinema. Portraits and Polemics presents debate as an important form of cinematic encounter whether one argues with filmmakers themselves, on behalf of their work, or with one's self.

Rosenbaum takes on filmmakers like Chantal Akerman, Richard Linklater, Manoel De Oliveira, Mark Rappaport, Elaine May, and Béla Tarr. He also engages, implicitly and explicitly, with other writers, arguing with Pauline Kael—and Wikipedia—over Jacques Demy, with the Hollywood Reporter and Variety reviewers of Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control, with David Thomson about James L. Brooks, and with many American and English film critics about misrepresented figures from Jerry Lewis to Yasujiro Ozu to Orson Welles. Throughout, Rosenbaum mines insights, pursues pet notions, and invites readers to join the fray.

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Cinematic Encounters
Interviews and Dialogues
Jonathan Rosenbaum
University of Illinois Press, 2018
Godard. Fuller. Rivette. Endfield. Tarr. In his celebrated career as a film critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum has undertaken wide-ranging dialogues with many of the most daring and important auteurs of our time.

Cinematic Encounters collects more than forty years of interviews that embrace Rosenbaum's vision of film criticism as a collaboration involving multiple voices. Rosenbaum accompanies Orson Welles on a journey back to Heart of Darkness, the unmade film meant to be Welles's Hollywood debut. Jacques Tati addresses the primacy of décor and soundtrack in his comedic masterpiece PlayTime, while Jim Jarmusch explains the influence of real and Hollywoodized Native Americans in Dead Man. By arranging the chapters chronologically, Rosenbaum invites readers to pursue thematic threads as if the discussions were dialogues between separate interviews. The result is a rare gathering of filmmakers trading thoughts on art and process, on great works and false starts, and on actors and intimate moments.

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front cover of City of Darkness, City of Light
City of Darkness, City of Light
Emigre Filmmakers in Paris, 1929-1939
Alastair Phillips
Amsterdam University Press, 2004
The volume is the first-ever book-length study of the cinematic representation of Paris in the films of German èmigrè filmmakers, many of whom fled there as a refuge from Hitler. In coming to Paris—a privileged site in terms of production, exhibition, and film culture—these experienced professionals also encountered resistance: hostility toward Germans, anti-Semitism, and boycotts from a French industry afraid of losing jobs to foreigners. Phillips juxtaposes the cinematic portrayal of Paris in the films of Robert Siodmak, Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Max Ophüls, Anatol Litvak, and others with the wider social and cultural debates about the city in cinema.
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Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood
By Andrew A. Erish
University of Texas Press, 2012

All histories of Hollywood are wrong. Why? Two words: Colonel Selig. This early pioneer laid the foundation for the movie industry that we know today. Active from 1896 to 1938, William N. Selig was responsible for an amazing series of firsts, including the first two-reel narrative film and the first two-hour narrative feature made in America; the first American movie serial with cliffhanger endings; the first westerns filmed in the West with real cowboys and Indians; the creation of the jungle-adventure genre; the first horror film in America; the first successful American newsreel (made in partnership with William Randolph Hearst); and the first permanent film studio in Los Angeles. Selig was also among the first to cultivate extensive international exhibition of American films, which created a worldwide audience and contributed to American domination of the medium.

In this book, Andrew Erish delves into the virtually untouched Selig archive at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Library to tell the fascinating story of this unjustly forgotten film pioneer. He traces Selig’s career from his early work as a traveling magician in the Midwest, to his founding of the first movie studio in Los Angeles in 1909, to his landmark series of innovations that still influence the film industry. As Erish recounts the many accomplishments of the man who first recognized that Southern California is the perfect place for moviemaking, he convincingly demonstrates that while others have been credited with inventing Hollywood, Colonel Selig is actually the one who most deserves that honor.

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Colonial Tactics and Everyday Life
Workers of the Manchuria Film Association
Yuxin Ma
University of Wisconsin Press, 2023
Following the Japanese invasion of northeast China in 1931, the occupying authorities established the Manchuria Film Association to promote film production efficiency and serve Japan’s propaganda needs. Manchuria Film Association had two tasks: to make “national policy films” as part of a cultural mission of educating Chinese in Manchukuo (the puppet state created in 1932) on the special relationship between Japan and the region, and to block the exhibition of Chinese films from Shanghai that contained anti-Japanese messages. The corporation relied on Japanese capital, technology, and film expertise, but it also employed many Chinese filmmakers. After the withdrawal of Japanese forces in 1945, many of these individuals were portrayed as either exploited victims or traitorous collaborators. Yuxin Ma seeks to move the conversation beyond such simplistic and inaccurate depictions.

By focusing on the daily challenges and experiences of the Chinese workers at the corporation, Ma examines how life was actually lived by people navigating between practical and ideological concerns. She illustrates how the inhabitants of Manchukuo navigated social opportunities, economic depression, educational reforms, fascist rule, commercial interests, practical daily needs, and more—and reveals ways in which these conflicting preoccupations sometimes manifested as tension and ambiguity on screen. In the battle between repression and expression, these Chinese actors, directors, writers, and technicians adopted defensive and opportunistic tactics. They did so in colonial spaces, often rejecting modernist representations of Manchukuo in favor of venerating traditional Chinese culture and values. The expertise, skills, and professional networks they developed extended well beyond the occupation into the postwar period, and may individuals reestablished themselves as cinema professionals in the socialist era.
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The Conscience of Cinema
Thomas Waugh
Amsterdam University Press, 2016
This is the first book to survey the entire career of Joris Ivens, a prolific documentary filmmaker who worked on every continent over the course of seven decades. More than a biography of a leftist committed to changing the world through film, The Conscience of Cinema is also a microcosmic history of the documentary and its form, culture, and place within twentieth-century world cinema. Ivens worked in almost every genre, including the essay, compilation, hybrid dramatization, socialist realism, and more. Whether in his native Netherlands, the Soviet Union, the United States, Vietnam, or beyond, he left an indelible artistic and political mark that continues to resonate in the twenty-first century.
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Dancing Ledge
Derek Jarman
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
From his sexual awakening in postwar England to life in the sixties and beyond, Derek Jarman tells his life story with the in-your-face immediacy that became his trademark style in both his films and writing. Accompanied by nearly one hundred photographs of Jarman, his friends, lovers, and inspirations, the candid accounts in Dancing Ledge provide intimate and incredibly vivid glimpses into this iconoclastic filmmaker's life and times.
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Danish Directors
Dialogues on a Contemporary National Cinema
Edited by Mette Hjort and Ib Bondebjerg
Intellect Books, 1995
Profiling the canonized figures alongside recently-established filmmakers, this collection features interviews with Lars von Trier, Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, Thomas Vinterberg and Henning Carlsen among many others. It poses questions that engage with ongoing and controversial issues within film studies, which will stimulate debate in academic and filmgoing circles alike.

Each interview is preceded by a photograph of the director, biographical information, and a filmography. Frame enlargements are used throughout to help clarify particular points of discussion and the book as a whole is contextualised by an informative general introduction. A valuable addition to the growing library of books on Scandinavian film, national cinema and minority cinema.
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Days of Twilight, Nights of Frenzy
A Memoir
Werner Schroeter and Claudia Lenssen
University of Chicago Press, 2017
Werner Schroeter was a leading figure of New German Cinema. In more than forty films made between 1967 and 2008, including features, documentaries, and shorts, he ignored conventional narrative, creating instead dense, evocative collages of image and sound. For years, his work was eclipsed by contemporaries such as Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, and Alexander Kluge. Yet his work has become known to a wider audience through several recent retrospectives, including at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Written in the last years of his life, Days of Twilight, Nights of Frenzy sees Schroeter looking back at his life with the help of film critic and friend Claudia Lenssen. Born in 1945, Schroeter grew up near Heidelberg and spent just a few weeks in film school before leaving to create his earliest works. Over the years, he would work with acclaimed artists, including Marianne Hopps, Isabelle Huppert, Candy Darling, and Christine Kaufmann. In the 1970s, Schroeter also embarked on prolific parallel careers in theater and opera, where he worked in close collaboration with the legendary diva Maria Callas. His childhood; his travels in Italy, France, and Latin America; his coming out and subsequent life as an gay man in Europe; and his run-ins with Hollywood are but a few of the subjects Schroeter recalls with insights and characteristic understated humor.

A sharp, lively, even funny memoir, Days of Twilight, Nights of Frenzy captures Schroeter’s extravagant life vividly over a vast prolific career, including many stories that might have been lost were it not for this book. It is sure to fascinate cinephiles and anyone interested in the culture around film and the arts.
 
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The Devil You Dance With
Film Culture in the New South Africa
Edited and with an Introduction by Audrey McCluskey
University of Illinois Press, 2008
South African film culture, like so much of its public life, has undergone a tremendous transformation during its first decade of democracy. Filmmakers, once in exile, banned, or severely restricted, have returned home; subjects once outlawed by the apparatchiks of apartheid are now fair game; and a new crop of insurgent filmmakers are coming to the fore.

This extraordinary volume presents twenty-five in-depth interviews with established and emerging South African filmmakers, collected and edited by Audrey Thomas McCluskey. The interviews capture the filmmakers’ spirit, energy, and ambition as they attempt to give birth to a film culture that reflects the heart and aspirations of their diverse and emergent nation. The collection includes a biographical profile of each filmmaker, as well an introductory essay by McCluskey, pointing to the themes, as well as creative differences and similarities, among the filmmakers.

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Double Lives, Second Chances
The Cinema of Krzysztof Kieslowski
Annette Insdorf
Northwestern University Press, 2013
Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941 – 1996) is widely recognized as one of the greatest filmmakers of the latter half of the twentieth century. Beginning as a documentarian who took on controversial subjects in communist Poland in the 1960’s and 70’s, Kieslowski gained an international reputation with his later narrative films The Double Life of Veronique and the Three Colors trilogy (Blue, White, and Red). He also made the Decalogue, a celebrated series for Polish television. The first comprehensive analysis of Kieslowski’s entire body of work to be published in English, Annette Insdorf’s book still stands as the best introduction to a uniquely gifted artist.
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Escape Artist
The Life and Films of John Sturges
Glenn Lovell
University of Wisconsin Press, 2008
Escape Artist—based on Glenn Lovell’s extensive interviews with John Sturges, his wife and children, and numerous stars including Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, and Jane Russell—is the first biography of the director of such acclaimed films as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Bad Day at Black Rock. Lovell examines Sturges’s childhood in California during the Great Depression; his apprenticeship in the editing department of RKO Pictures, where he worked on such films as Gunga Din and Of Human Bondage; his service in the Army Air Corps in World War II; and his emergence as one of the first independent producer-directors in Hollywood.
Chronicling the filmmaker’s relationships with such luminaries as Spencer Tracy, James Garner, Yul Brynner, and Frank Sinatra, Escape Artist interweaves biography with critical analyses of Sturges’s hits and misses. Along the way, Lovell addresses the reasons why Sturges has been overlooked in the ongoing discussion of postwar Hollywood and explores the director’s focus on masculinity, machismo, and male-bonding in big-budget, ensemble action films. Lovell also examines Sturges’s aesthetic sensibility, his talent for composing widescreen images, and his uncanny ability to judge raw talent—including that of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn, all of whom began their careers in Sturges’s movies.
            This long overdue study of a major Hollywood director will find a welcome home in the libraries of film scholars, action movie buffs, and anyone interested in the popular culture of the twentieth century.

Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association

"Pick up a copy of film critic and scholar Glenn Lovell's terrific new Sturges biography, Escape Artist. . . . I can't urge you enough to check out this interview-rich, aesthetically and culturally perceptive look at the filmmaker and his work."—Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News

“Lovell’s list of interviewees reads like a who’s who of Hollywood and they obviously provided rich source material for this full-scale biography and career survey.”— Leonard Maltin

“This long overdue study of a major Hollywood director will find a welcome home in the libraries of film scholars, action movie buffs, and anyone interested in the popular culture of the twentieth century.”—Turner Classic Movies (TCM.com)
 
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Establishing Shots
An Oral History of the Winnipeg Film Group
Kevin Nikkel
University of Manitoba Press, 2023

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Ethnic Eye
Latino Media Arts
Chon Noriega
University of Minnesota Press, 1996

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Film and Genocide
Kristi M. Wilson
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011

Film and Genocide brings together scholars of film and of genocide to discuss film representations, both fictional and documentary, of the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and genocides in Chile, Australia, Rwanda, and the United States. Since 1955, when Alain Resnais created his experimental documentary Night and Fog about the Nazis’ mass killings of Jews and other ostracized groups, filmmakers have struggled with using this medium to tell such difficult stories, to re-create the sociopolitical contexts of genocide, and to urge awareness and action among viewers. This volume looks at such issues as realism versus fiction, the challenge of depicting atrocities in a manner palatable to spectators and film distributors, the Holocaust film as a model for films about other genocides, and the role of new technologies in disseminating films about genocide.
    Film and Genocide also includes interviews with three film directors, who discuss their experiences in working with deeply disturbing images and bringing hidden stories to life: Irek Dobrowolski, director of The Portraitist (2005) a documentary about Wilhelm Brasse, an Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoner ordered to take more than 40,000 photos at the camp; Nick Hughes, director of 100 Days (2005) a dramatic film about the Rwandan mass killings; and Greg Barker, director of Ghosts of Rwanda (2004), a television documentary for Frontline.

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Film Talk
Directors at Work
Dixon, Wheeler Winston
Rutgers University Press, 2007
What 1970s Hollywood filmmaker influenced Quentin Tarantino? How have contemporary Japanese horror films inspired Takashi Shimizu, director of the huge box office hit The Grudge? What is it like to be an African American director in the twenty-first century?

The answers to these questions, along with many more little-known facts and insights, can be found in Film Talk, an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at filmmaking from the 1940s to the present. In eleven intimate and revealing interviews, contemporary film directors speak frankly about their work-their successes and their disappointments, their personal aspirations, struggles, relationships, and the politics that affect the industry.

A medley of directors including those working in pop culture and documentary, as well as feminist filmmakers, social satirists, and Hollywood mavericks recount stories that have never before been published. Among them are Monte Hellman, the auteur of the minimalist masterpiece Two-Lane Blacktop; Albert Maysles, who with his late brother David, created some of the most important documentaries of the 1960s, including Salesman and The Beatles: What's Happening?; Robert Downey Sr., whose social satires Putney Swope and Greaser's Palace paved the way for a generation of filmmakers; Bennett Miller, whose film Capote won an Academy Award in 2005; and Jamie Babbit, a lesbian crossover director whose low-budget film But I'm a Cheerleader! became a mainstream hit.

The candid conversations, complimented by more than fifty photographs, including many that are rare, make this book essential reading for aspiring moviemakers, film scholars, and everyone interested in the how movies are made and who the fascinating individuals are who make them.

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Filming Difference
Actors, Directors, Producers, and Writers on Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Film
Edited by Daniel Bernardi
University of Texas Press, 2009

Addressing representation and identity in a variety of production styles and genres, including experimental film and documentary, independent and mainstream film, and television drama, Filming Difference poses fundamental questions about the ways in which the art and craft of filmmaking force creative people to confront stereotypes and examine their own identities while representing the complexities of their subjects.

Selections range from C. A. Griffith's "Del Otro Lado: Border Crossings, Disappearing Souls, and Other Transgressions" and Celine Perreñas Shimizu's "Pain and Pleasure in the Flesh of Machiko Saito's Experimental Movies" to Christopher Bradley's "I Saw You Naked: 'Hard' Acting in 'Gay' Movies," along with Kevin Sandler's interview with Paris Barclay, Yuri Makino's interview with Chris Eyre, and many other perspectives on the implications of film production, writing, producing, and acting.

Technical aspects of the craft are considered as well, including how contributors to filmmaking plan and design films and episodic television that feature difference, and how the tools of cinema—such as cinematography and lighting—influence portrayals of gender, race, and sexuality. The struggle between economic pressures and the desire to produce thought-provoking, socially conscious stories forms another core issue raised in Filming Difference. Speaking with critical rigor and creative experience, the contributors to this collection communicate the power of their media.

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Filming for the Future
The Work of Louis van Gasteren
Patricia Pisters
Amsterdam University Press, 2016
Louis Van Gasteren was one of the most prolific filmmakers in the history of the Netherlands, with a resume that includes nearly eighty documentaries and two feature films - to say nothing of artworks and books.
 
Filming for the Future offers an extended exploration of Van Gasteren's work and audio-visual world. Patricia Pisters introduces us to a filmmaker who always had his camera ready and was relentless in filming a wide range of topics and events of national and international importance. Fascinated by technology, deeply engaged with politics, and intensely occupied by the traumatic effects of war, Van Gasteren assembled an unparalleled record of life in twentieth-century Amsterdam and beyond. Filming for the Future will be an invaluable source of documentation and analysis of one of the key filmmakers of our time.
 
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The Films of Bill Morrison
Aesthetics of the Archive
Edited by Bernd Herzogenrath
Amsterdam University Press, 2017
Avant-garde filmmaker Bill Morrison has been making films that combine archival footage and contemporary music for decades, and he has recently begun to receive substantial recognition: he was the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, and his 2002 film Decasia was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. This is the first book-length study of Morrison's work, covering the whole of his career. It gathers specialists throughout film studies to explore Morrison's "aesthetics of the archive"-his creative play with archival footage and his focus on the materiality of the medium of film.
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The Films of Bong Joon Ho
Nam Lee
Rutgers University Press, 2020

Bong Joon Ho won the Oscar® for Best Director for Parasite (2019), which also won Best Picture, the first foreign film to do so, and two other Academy Awards. Parasite was the first Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes. These achievements mark a new career peak for the director, who first achieved wide international acclaim with 2006’s monster movie The Host and whose forays into English-language film with Snowpiercer (2013) and Okja (2017) brought him further recognition.

As this timely book reveals, even as Bong Joon Ho has emerged as an internationally known director, his films still engage with distinctly Korean social and political contexts that may elude many Western viewers. The Films of Bong Joon Ho demonstrates how he hybridizes Hollywood conventions with local realities in order to create a cinema that foregrounds the absurd cultural anomie Koreans have experienced in tandem with their rapid economic development. Film critic and scholar Nam Lee explores how Bong subverts the structures of the genres he works within, from the crime thriller to the sci-fi film, in order to be truthful to Korean realities that often deny the reassurances of the happy Hollywood ending. With detailed readings of Bong’s films from Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000) through Parasite (2019), the book will give readers a new appreciation of this world-class cinematic talent.

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Giant
George Stevens, a Life on Film
Marilyn Ann Moss
University of Wisconsin Press, 2004
Marilyn Ann Moss’s Giant examines the life of one of the most influential directors to work in Hollywood from the 1930s to the 1960s. George Stevens directed such popular and significant films as Shane, Giant, A Place in the Sun, and The Diary of Anne Frank. He was the first to pair Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy on film in Woman of the Year. Through the study of Stevens’s life and his production history, Moss also presents a glimpse of the workings of the classic Hollywood studio system in its glory days.
            Moss documents Stevens’s role as a powerful director who often had to battle the heads of major studios to get his films made his way. She traces the four decades Stevens was a major Hollywood player and icon, from his earliest days at the Hal Roach Studios—where he learned to be a cameraman, writer, and director for Laurel and Hardy features—up to when his films made millions at the box office and were graced by actors such as Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Alan Ladd, and Montgomery Clift.
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Glasnost—Soviet Cinema Responds
By Nicholas Galichenko
University of Texas Press, 1991

With the coming of glasnost to the Soviet Union, filmmakers began to explore previously forbidden themes, and distributors released films that were suppressed by pre-glasnost-era censors. Soviet cinema underwent a revolution, one that mirrors and helps interpret the social revolution that took place throughout the USSR. Glasnost—Soviet Cinema Responds is the first overall survey of the effects of this revolution on the work of Soviet filmmakers and their films.

The book is structured as a series of three essays and a filmography of the directors of glasnost cinema. The first essay, "The Age of Perestroika," describes the changes that occurred in Soviet cinema as it freed itself from the legacy of Stalinism and socialist realism. It also considers the influence of film educator and director Mikhail Romm. "Youth in Turmoil" takes a sociological look at films about youth, the most dynamic and socially revealing of glasnost-era productions. "Odysseys in Inner Space" charts a new direction in Soviet cinema as it focuses on the inner world of individuals.

The filmography includes thirty-three of the most significant glasnost-era directors, including Tengiz Abuladze, Karen Shakhnazarov, and Sergei Soloviev, with a comprehensive list of their films. Discussions of many individual films, such as Repentance, The Messenger Boy, and The Wild Pigeon, and interviews with the directors reveal the effects that glasnost and perestroika have had on the directors' lives and art.

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Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia
Film Culture in Transition
Jonathan Rosenbaum
University of Chicago Press, 2010

The esteemed film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum has brought global cinema to American audiences for the last four decades. His incisive writings on individual filmmakers define film culture as a diverse and ever-evolving practice, unpredictable yet subject to analyses just as diversified as his own discriminating tastes. For Rosenbaum, there is no high or low cinema, only more interesting or less interesting films, and the pieces collected here, from an appreciation of Marilyn Monroe’s intelligence to a classic discussion on and with Jean-Luc Godard, amply testify to his broad intellect and multi-faceted talent. Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia gathers together over fifty examples of Rosenbaum’s criticism from the past four decades, each of which demonstrates his passion for the way we view movies, as well as how we write about them. Charting our changing concerns with the interconnected issues that surround video, DVDs, the Internet, and new media, the writings collected here also highlight Rosenbaum’s polemics concerning the digital age. From the rediscovery and recirculation of classic films, to the social and aesthetic impact of technological changes, Rosenbaum doesn’t disappoint in assembling a magisterial cast of little-known filmmakers as well as the familiar faces and iconic names that have helped to define our era.

As we move into this new decade of moviegoing—one in which Hollywood will continue to feel the shockwaves of the digital age—Jonathan Rosenbaum remains a valuable guide. Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia is a consummate collection of his work, not simply for fans of this seminal critic, but for all those open to the wide variety of films he embraces and helps us to elucidate.

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Herzog by Ebert
Roger Ebert
University of Chicago Press, 2017
Roger Ebert was the most influential film critic in the United States, the first to win a Pulitzer Prize. For almost fifty years, he wrote with plainspoken eloquence about the films he loved for the Chicago Sun-Times, his vast cinematic knowledge matched by a sheer love of life that bolstered his appreciation of films. Ebert had particular admiration for the work of director Werner Herzog, whom he first encountered at the New York Film Festival in 1968, the start of a long and productive relationship between the filmmaker and the film critic.

Herzog by Ebert is a comprehensive collection of Ebert’s writings about the legendary director, featuring all of his reviews of individual films, as well as longer essays he wrote for his Great Movies series. The book also brings together other essays, letters, and interviews, including a letter Ebert wrote Herzog upon learning of the dedication to him of “Encounters at the End of the World;” a multifaceted profile written at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival; and an interview with Herzog at Facet’s Multimedia in 1979 that has previously been available only in a difficult-to-obtain pamphlet. Herzog himself contributes a foreword in which he discusses his relationship with Ebert.

Brimming with insights from both filmmaker and film critic, Herzog by Ebert will be essential for fans of either of their prolific bodies of work.
 
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Hollywood Exile, or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist
By Bernard Gordon
University of Texas Press, 2000

The Hollywood blacklist, which began in the late 1940s and ran well into the 1960s, ended or curtailed the careers of hundreds of people accused of having ties to the Communist Party. Bernard Gordon was one of them. In this highly readable memoir, he tells a engrossing insider's story of what it was like to be blacklisted and how he and others continued to work uncredited behind the scenes, writing and producing many box office hits of the era.

Gordon describes how the blacklist cut short his screenwriting career in Hollywood and forced him to work in Europe. Ironically, though, his is a success story that includes the films El Cid, 55 Days at Peking, The Thin Red Line, Krakatoa East of Java, Day of the Triffids, Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Horror Express, and many others. He recounts the making of many movies for which he was the writer and/or producer, with wonderful anecdotes about stars such as Charlton Heston, David Niven, Sophia Loren, Ava Gardner, and James Mason; directors Nicholas Ray, Frank Capra, and Anthony Mann; and the producer-studio head team of Philip Yordan and Samuel Bronston.

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Hollywood is Everywhere
Global Directors in the Blockbuster Era
Melis Behlil
Amsterdam University Press, 2016
Hollywood has a long tradition of bringing in emigre directors from around the world, dating back to the silent era. Today, as the film industry is ever more global, the people who make blockbuster movies seemingly reflect this tradition, hailing from many countries across the world. But that fact hides a fundamental difference, one that Melis Behlil examines in Hollywood is Everywhere: today's Hollywood studios are themselves transnational, with ownership structures and financial arrangements that stretch far beyond the borders of the United States. Seen in that context, today's international directors are less analogous to the emigre talent of the past than to ordinary transnational employees of other major global corporations.
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Hollywood's Italian American Filmmakers
Capra, Scorsese, Savoca, Coppola, and Tarantino
Jonathan J. Cavallero
University of Illinois Press, 2011
Hollywood's Italian American Filmmakers explores the different ways in which Italian American directors from the 1920s to the present have responded to their ethnicity. While some directors have used film to declare their ethnic roots and create an Italian American "imagined community," others have ignored or even denied their background. Jonathan J. Cavallero examines the films of Frank Capra, Martin Scorsese, Nancy Savoca, Francis Ford Coppola, and Quentin Tarantino with a focus on what the films reveal about each director's view on Italian American identities. Whereas Capra's films highlight similarities between immigrant characters and WASP Americans, Scorsese accepts his ethnic heritage but also sees it as confining. Similarly, many of Coppola's films provide a nostalgic treatment of Italian American identity, but with little criticism of the culture's more negative aspects. And while Savoca's movies reveal her artful ability to recognize how ethnic, gender, and class identities overlap, Tarantino's films exhibit a playfully postmodern engagement with Italian American ethnicity.
 
Cavallero's exploration of the films of Capra, Scorsese, Savoca, Coppola, and Tarantino demonstrates how immigrant Italians fought prejudice, how later generations positioned themselves in relation to their predecessors, and how the American cinema, usually seen as a cultural institution that works to assimilate, has also served as a forum where assimilation was resisted.
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Howard Hughes
Power, Paranoia, and Palace Intrigue, Revised and Expanded
Geoff Schumacher
University of Nevada Press, 2020
This newly revised and expanded edition of Howard Hughes chronicles the life and legacies of one of the most intriguing and accomplished Americans of the twentieth century. Hughes, born into wealth thanks to his father’s innovative drill bit that transformed the oil industry, put his inheritance to work in multiple ways, from producing big-budget Hollywood movies to building the world’s fastest and largest airplanes. Hughes set air speed records and traveled around the world in record time, earning ticker-tape parades in three cities in 1938. Later, he moved to Las Vegas and invested heavily in casinos. He bought seven resorts, in each case helping to loosen organized crime’s grip on Nevada’s lifeblood industry.

Although the public viewed Hughes as a heroic and independent-minded trailblazer, behind closed doors he suffered from germophobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and an addiction to painkillers. He became paranoid and reclusive, surrounding himself with a small cadre of loyal caretakers. As executives battled each other over his empire, Hughes’ physical and mental health deteriorated to the point where he lost control of his business affairs.

This second edition includes more insider details on Hughes’ personal interactions with actresses, journalists, and employees. New chapters provide insights into Hughes’s involvement with the mob, his ownership and struggles as the majority shareholder of TWA and the wide-ranging activities of Hughes Aircraft Company, Hughes’s critical role in the Glomar Explorer CIA project (a deep-sea drillship platform built to recover the Soviet submarine K-129), and more. Based on in-depth interviews with individuals who knew and worked with Hughes, this fascinating biography provides a colorful and comprehensive look at Hughes—from his life and career to his final years and lasting influence.  This penetrating depiction of the man behind the curtain demonstrates Hughes’s legacy, and enduring impact on popular culture.
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I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History
Walter Mirisch
University of Wisconsin Press, 2008

This is a moving, star-filled account of one of Hollywood’s true golden ages as told by a man in the middle of it all. Walter Mirisch’s company has produced some of the most entertaining and enduring classics in film history, including West Side Story, Some Like It Hot, In the Heat of the Night, and The Magnificent Seven. His work has led to 87 Academy Award nominations and 28 Oscars. Richly illustrated with rare photographs from his personal collection, I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History reveals Mirisch’s own experience of Hollywood and tells the stories of the stars—emerging and established—who appeared in his films, including Natalie Wood, John Wayne, Peter Sellers, Sidney Poitier, Steve McQueen, Marilyn Monroe, and many others.
    With hard-won insight and gentle humor, Mirisch recounts how he witnessed the end of the studio system, the development of independent production, and the rise and fall of some of Hollywood’s most gifted (and notorious) cultural icons. A producer with a passion for creative excellence, he offers insights into his innovative filmmaking process, revealing a rare ingenuity for placating the demands of auteur directors, weak-kneed studio executives, and troubled screen sirens.
    From his early start as a movie theater usher to the presentation of such masterpieces as The Apartment, Fiddler on the Roof, and The Great Escape, Mirisch tells the inspiring life story of his climb to the highest echelon of the American film industry. This book assures Mirisch’s legacy—as Elmore Leonard puts it—as “one of the good guys.”

Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association

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In Whose Eyes
The Memoir of a Vietnamese Filmmaker in War and Peace
Tran Van Thuy
University of Massachusetts Press, 2016
Trn Van Thuy is a celebrated Vietnamese filmmaker of more than twenty award-winning documentaries. A cameraman for the People's Army of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, he went on to achieve international fame as the director of films that address the human costs of the war and its aftermath.

Thuy's memoir, when published in Vietnam in 2013, immediately sold out. In this translation, English-language readers are now able to learn in rich detail about the life and work of this preeminent artist. Written in a gentle and charming style, the memoir is filled with reflections on war, peace, history, freedom of expression, and filmmaking. Thuy also offers a firsthand account of the war in Vietnam and its aftermath from a Vietnamese perspective, adding a dimension rarely encountered in English-language literature.
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Intimations
The Cinema of Wojciech Has
Annette Insdorf
Northwestern University Press, 2017
In this first study in English of a master of Polish cinema, Annette Insdorf explores Has’s thirteen feature films with the same deep insight of her groundbreaking book on Krzysztof Kieslowski, Double Lives, Second Chances (Northwestern, 2013).
 
Wojciech Has’s films are still less known outside of his native Poland than those of his countrymen Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, and Krzysztof Kieslowski. Yet thanks to his singular vision, many critics rank Has among the masters of world cinema. Some of his movies have developed a cult following, notably The Saragossa Manuscript, the favorite film of the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, which has been praised by directors such as Luis Buñuel, Francis Ford Coppola, and Roman Polanski.
 
Has’s films reveal the inner lives of his characters, which he portrays by giving free rein to his own wildly creative imagination. In addition toThe Saragossa Manuscript, his diverse and innovative filmography includes The Hourglass Sanatorium, a vividly surreal depiction of Hassidic life in Poland between the world wars; The Noose, a stark poetic drama about a lucid alcoholic who knows he will not be able to kick the habit; and How to Be Loved, in which an actress remembers her wartime past.
 
Has made disparate but formally striking movies infused with European strains of existentialism and the avant-garde. With many of his films being restored and rereleased, new generations of film lovers are discovering his artistic genius. Intimations: The Cinema of Wojciech Has is the definitive guide in English to his work.
 
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Italian Irish Filmmakers
Lee Lourdeaux
Temple University Press, 1993
"This penetrating study examines how these filmmakers confronted their cultural heritage and used it as a counterpoint to their depiction of mainstream America." --American Cinematographer In this unique film history, Lee Lourdeaux traces the impact of Irish and Italian cultures on four major American directors and their work. Defining the core values and tensions within each culture, and especially focusing on the influence of American Catholicism, he presents John Ford, Frank Capra, Francis Coppola, and Martin Scorsese as ethnic Americans and film artists. Lourdeaux shows each filmmaker on set with writers and actors, learning to bypass stereotypes in order to develop a shrewd reciprocal assimilation between his ethnic background and Anglo America. Beginning with D. W. Griffith's depiction of Irish and Italian immigrants, the author discusses Hollywood's stereotypical portrayals of ethnic priests, cops, politicians, and gangsters, as well as their surface acculturation in the movies of the 1920s. By the decade's end, John Ford was using all-American stories to embody the basic myths and tensions of Irish-American life. In his later westerns and foreign films, he tried to understand both Irish political strife and the key figures of Irish liturgy. Frank Capra pitted Italian family values against the Anglo success ethic, turning out social comedies about oppressed little people. Several decades later, Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola were highly critical of their religio-ethnic heritage, though they gradually discovered that to outline its weaknesses, like the blind pursuit of success, was to fashion a critical mirror of mainstream America. Lourdeaux discusses a number of recent films by Coppola and by Scorsese that have not yet been analyzed in any book. And, in the chapter on Scorsese, a personal interview with the director reveals how his ethnic childhood shaped his work in film. Examining the conflicts within American culture, Lourdeaux shows how the filmmakers themselves had to confront the self-destructive aspects of their ethnic background, not only to accommodate WASP audiences but to better understand their own heritage. He also observes that ethnicity is a strong draw at the box office, as in The Godfather, because it creates a sense of the Other who can both be admired and at the same time ridiculed. Illustrated with scenes of the movies discussed, this fascinating film history tells how four of America's most famous filmmakers assimilated their ethnic backgrounds on set and on screen. "Mr. Lourdeaux walks a tricky path in analyzing the films of each [director]: avoiding the trap of excessively detailing their lives and many films, while steering clear of ethnic stereotyping. Those interested in ethnic influences on outstanding persons or in the production of films by four of the best will find the book enjoyable." --The Baltimore Sun "This is an invaluable book because it arouses critical awareness of the ethnicity underlying many Hollywood movies that might otherwise appear merely to represent American archetypes." --Journal of American Studies "A valuable addition to the literature on ethnic identity in film. The insights Lourdeaux offers into major figures like Griffith, Ford, Capra, Coppola, and Scorsese contribute significantly to our understanding of their films." --Virginia Wright Wexman, University of Illinois at Chicago "For a number of years now, church historians have been giving us an account of American Catholicism that is much richer and more varied than the older institutional accounts of the Catholic Church ever let on. In this comprehensive and insightful study, Lee Lourdeaux shows us how much the ethnic movies of directors like Ford and Capra, Coppola and Scorsese have to teach us as well about Irish- and Italian-Catholic mores and instincts." --John B. Breslin, S.J., Director "A wonderfully sensitive, intelligent study of the complex issue of how the Catholic imagination works in the creative personalities of those raised in the Catholic heritage." --Andrew M. Greeley
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Jean-Luc Godard
The Permanent Revolutionary
Bert Rebhandl, translated by Edward Maltby
University of Wisconsin Press, 2023
In this biography, now translated into English for the first time, Bert Rebhandl provides a balanced evaluation of the work of one of the most original and influential film directors of all time: Jean-Luc Godard (1930–2022). In this sympathetic yet critical overview, he argues that Godard's work captured the revolutionary spirit of Paris in the late 1960s as no other filmmaker has dared, and in fact reinvented the medium.

Rebhandl skillfully weaves together biographical details; information about the cultural, intellectual, and cinematic milieu over the decades; and descriptions of Godard’s most significant films to support his assertion that the director was a permanent revolutionary—always seeking new ways to create, understand, and comment on film within a larger context. He views Godard as an artist consistently true to himself while never ceasing to change and evolve, often in unexpected, radical, and controversial ways. 

Rebhandl is known as a journalist with deep insights and lucid prose. Despite the wealth of material to analyze, he neither gets lost in the details nor offers a superficial gloss, even while directly tackling such topics as the long-standing charges of antisemitism against Godard and his oeuvre. This volume will be welcome to both casual fans and dedicated devotees. 
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Jia Zhangke on Jia Zhangke
Michael Berry
Duke University Press, 2022
Jia Zhangke on Jia Zhangke is an extended dialogue between film scholar Michael Berry and the internationally acclaimed Chinese filmmaker. Drawing from extensive interviews and public talks, this volume offers a portrait of Jia’s life, art, and approach to filmmaking. Jia and Berry’s conversations range from Jia’s childhood and formative years to extensive discussions of his major narrative films, including the classics Xiao Wu, Platform, The World, Still Life, and A Touch of Sin. Jia gives a firsthand account of his influences, analyzes the Chinese film industry, and offers his thoughts on subjects such as film music, working with actors, cinematography, and screenwriting. From industry and economics to art and politics, Jia Zhangke on Jia Zhangke represents the single most comprehensive document of the director’s candid thoughts on the art and challenges of filmmaking.
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John Grierson
Life, Contributions, Influence
Jack C. Ellis
Southern Illinois University Press, 2000

More than any other person, Jack C. Ellis notes, John Grierson, a Scot, was responsible for the documentary film as it has developed in English-speaking countries.

While in the United States in the 1920s, Grierson first applied the term documentary to Robert Flaherty's Moana. In 1927, Grierson returned to Britain, where he was hired to promote the marketing of products of the British Empire. The first practical application of Grierson’s theory of documentary film was Drifters, a 1929 short feature about herring fishing in the North Sea. That success led Grierson to establish the Empire Marketing Board Film Unit (later the General Post Office Film Unit).

In 1939, Grierson moved to Canada, leaving behind a legacy of some sixty British filmmakers who spread his ideas and techniques to other countries. In Canada, he progressed beyond national concerns to global problems. The National Film Board of Canada stands as the largest and most impressive monument to Grierson's concepts and actions in regard to the use of film by governments in communicating with citizens.

            

Ellis examines Grierson's accomplishments in detail, probing the complexities of Grierson's motivations and personality. His subject, a true titan in the world of documentary film, was the first filmmaker to use public and private institutional sponsorship—not the box office—to pay for his films. He also employed nontraditional distribution techniques, going outside the movie theaters to reach audiences in schools and factories, union halls, and church basements. Essentially, Grierson created documentary film and established an audience for it.

            

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John Lasseter
Richard Neupert
University of Illinois Press, 2016
Celebrated as Pixar's "Chief Creative Officer," John Lasseter is a revolutionary figure in animation history and one of today's most important filmmakers. Lasseter films from Luxo Jr. to Toy Story and Cars 2 highlighted his gift for creating emotionally engaging characters. At the same time, they helped launch computer animation as a viable commercial medium and serve as blueprints for the genre's still-expanding commercial and artistic development.

Richard Neupert explores Lasseter's signature aesthetic and storytelling strategies and details how he became the architect of Pixar's studio style. Neupert contends that Lasseter's accomplishments emerged from a unique blend of technical skill and artistic vision, as well as a passion for working with collaborators. In addition, Neupert traces the director's career arc from the time Lasseter joined Pixar in 1984. As Neupert shows, Lasseter's ability to keep a foot in both animation and CGI allowed him to thrive in an unconventional corporate culture that valued creative interaction between colleagues. The ideas that emerged built an animation studio that updated and refined classical Hollywood storytelling practices--and changed commercial animation forever.

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Luis Buñuel
The Red Years, 1929–1939
Román Gubern
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011

The turbulent years of the 1930s were of profound importance in the life of Spanish film director Luis Buñuel (1900–1983). He joined the Surrealist movement in 1929 but by 1932 had renounced it and embraced Communism. During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), he played an integral role in disseminating film propaganda in Paris for the Spanish Republican cause.
    Luis Buñuel: The Red Years, 1929–1939 investigates Buñuel’s commitment to making the politicized documentary Land without Bread (1933) and his key role as an executive producer at Filmófono in Madrid, where he was responsible in 1935–36 for making four commercial features that prefigure his work in Mexico after 1946. As for the republics of France and Spain between which Buñuel shuttled during the 1930s, these became equally embattled as left and right totalitarianisms fought to wrest political power away from a debilitated capitalism.
    Where it exists, the literature on this crucial decade of the film director’s life is scant and relies on Buñuel’s own self-interested accounts of that complex period. Román Gubern and Paul Hammond have undertaken extensive archival research in Europe and the United States and evaluated Buñuel’s accounts and those of historians and film writers to achieve a portrait of Buñuel’s “Red Years” that abounds in new information.

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The Magic Lantern
An Autobiography
Ingmar Bergman
University of Chicago Press, 2007

“When a film is not a document, it is a dream. . . . At the editing table, when I run the strip of film through, frame by frame, I still feel that dizzy sense of magic of my childhood.” Bergman, who has conveyed this heady sense of wonder and vision to moviegoers for decades, traces his lifelong love affair with film in his breathtakingly visual autobiography, The Magic Lantern.

More grand mosaic than linear account, Bergman’s vignettes trace his life from a rural Swedish childhood through his work in theater to Hollywood’s golden age, and a tumultuous romantic history that includes five wives and more than a few mistresses. Throughout, Bergman recounts his life in a series of deeply personal flashbacks that document some of the most important moments in twentieth-century filmmaking as well as the private obsessions of the man behind them. Ambitious in scope yet sensitively wrought, The Magic Lantern is a window to the mind of one of our era’s great geniuses.

“[Bergman] has found a way to show the soul’s landscape . . . . Many gripping revelations.”—New York Times Book Review

“Joan Tate’s translation of this book has delicacy and true pitch . . . The Magic Lantern is as personal and penetrating as a Bergman film, wry, shadowy, austere.”—New Republic

“[Bergman] keeps returning to his past, reassessing it, distilling its meaning, offering it to his audiences in dazzling new shapes.”—New York Times

“What Bergman does relate, particularly his tangled relationships with his parents, is not only illuminating but quite moving. No ‘tell-all’ book this one, but revealing in ways that much longer and allegedly ‘franker’ books are not.”—Library Journal

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Magnificent Méliès
The Authorized Biography
Madeleine Malthête-Méliès, translated by Kel Pero, edited by Matthew Solomon
University of Michigan Press, 2022
The films of Georges Méliès (1861–1938) are landmarks in the early history of narrative filmmaking and cinematic special effects. He was a harbinger of modern aesthetics and media manipulation, and this book, written by his granddaughter, is the only one that tells his full story. Magnificent Méliès is a thoroughly researched but highly accessible book that is a crucial source for the scholar and an entertaining read for the nonspecialist. The core of the biography provides detailed accounts of Méliès’ filmmaking years (1896–1913), from his first motion pictures shortly after the public premiere of the Lumière Cinématographe through such worldwide successes as his film Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) and his eventual marginalization by the very industry he had helped to found. The biography also chronicles Méliès’ formative work as director of Paris’s preeminent magic theater, the Théâtre Robert-Houdin; his subsequent career staging operettas for the Théâtre des Variétés Artistiques  (1917–1923) in Montreuil on the site of one of his former film studios; and his later years selling toys and candy at the Gare Montparnasse (1926–1932) before being rediscovered by journalists and the avant-garde. These and other fascinating chapters highlight the remarkable range of Méliès’ creative work while suggesting how his singular life was nevertheless shaped by the seismic historical shifts of Second Empire and Third Republic France.
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Mainstream Maverick
John Hughes and New Hollywood Cinema
By Holly Chard
University of Texas Press, 2020

Winner, Best First Monograph, British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies

In the 1980s and 1990s, John Hughes was one of Hollywood's most reliable hitmakers, churning out beloved teen comedies and family films such as The Breakfast Club and Home Alone, respectively. But was he an artist? Hughes, an adamantly commercial filmmaker who was dismissed by critics, might have laughed at the question. Since his death in 2009, though, he has been memorialized on Oscar night as a key voice of his time. Now the critics lionize him as a stylistic original.

Holly Chard traces Hughes's evolution from entertainer to auteur. Studios recognized Hughes's distinctiveness and responded by nurturing his brand. He is therefore a case study in Hollywood's production not only of movies but also of genre and of authorship itself. The films of John Hughes, Chard shows, also owed their success to the marketers who sold them and the audiences who watched. Careful readings of Hughes's cinema reveal both the sources of his iconic status and the imprint on his films of the social, political, economic, and media contexts in which he operated.

The first serious treatment of Hughes, Mainstream Maverick elucidates the priorities of the American movie industry in the New Hollywood era and explores how artists not only create but are themselves created.

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The Many Cinemas of Michael Curtiz
Edited by R. Barton Palmer and Murray Pomerance
University of Texas Press, 2018

Director Michael Curtiz was the mastermind behind some of the most iconic films of classical Hollywood—Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Sea Hawk, White Christmas, and Mildred Pierce, to name only a few. The most prolific and consistently successful Hollywood generalist with an all-embracing interest in different forms of narrative and spectacle, Curtiz made around a hundred films in an astonishing range of genres: action, biopics, melodramas/film noir, musicals, and westerns. But his important contributions to the history of American film have been overlooked because his broadly varied oeuvre does not present the unified vision of filmmaking that canonical criticism demands for the category of “auteur.”

Exploring his films and artistic practice from a variety of angles, including politics, gender, and genre, The Many Cinemas of Michael Curtiz sheds new light on this underappreciated cinematic genius. Leading film studies scholars offer fresh appraisals of many of Curtiz’s most popular films, while also paying attention to neglected releases of substantial historical interest, such as Noah’s Ark , Night and Day, Virginia City, Black Fury, Mystery of the Wax Museum, and Female. Because Curtiz worked for so long and in so many genres, this analysis of his work becomes more than an author study of a notable director. Instead, The Many Cinemas of Michael Curtiz effectively adds a major chapter to the history of Hollywood’s studio era, including its internationalism and the significant contributions of European émigrés.

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Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy
The Genesis of China's Fifth Generation
Zhen Ni
Duke University Press, 2002
After graduating from the Beijing Film Academy in 1982, directors like Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou transformed Chinese cinema with Farewell My Concubine, Yellow Earth, Raise the Red Lantern, and other international successes. Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy tells the riveting story of this class of 1982, China’s famous "Fifth Generation" of filmmakers. It is the first insider’s account of this renowned cohort to appear in English. Covering these directors’ formative experiences during China’s tumultuous Cultural Revolution and later at the Beijing Film Academy, Ni Zhen—who was both their screenwriter and teacher—provides unique insights into the origins of the Fifth Generation’s creativity. Drawing on his personal knowledge and interviews conducted especially for this volume, Ni Zhen demonstrates the diversity of the Fifth Generation. He comments on the breadth of styles and themes explored by its members and introduces a range of male and female directors, cinematographers, and production designers famous in China but less well-known internationally. The book contains vivid descriptions of the production processes of two pioneering films—One and Eight and Yellow Earth.
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Mental Traveler
A Father, a Son, and a Journey through Schizophrenia
W. J. T. Mitchell
University of Chicago Press, 2020
How does a parent make sense of a child’s severe mental illness? How does a father meet the daily challenges of caring for his gifted but delusional son, while seeking to overcome the stigma of madness and the limits of psychiatry?  W. J. T. Mitchell’s memoir tells the story—at once representative and unique—of one family’s encounter with mental illness and bears witness to the life of the talented young man who was his son.

 Gabriel Mitchell was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age twenty-one and died by suicide eighteen years later. He left behind a remarkable archive of creative work and a father determined to honor his son’s attempts to conquer his own illness. Before his death, Gabe had been working on a film that would show madness from inside and out, as media stereotype and spectacle, symptom and stigma, malady and minority status, disability and gateway to insight. He was convinced that madness is an extreme form of subjective experience that we all endure at some point in our lives, whether in moments of ecstasy or melancholy, or in the enduring trauma of a broken heart. Gabe’s declared ambition was to transform schizophrenia from a death sentence to a learning experience, and madness from a curse to a critical perspective.    

Shot through with love and pain, Mental Traveler shows how Gabe drew his father into his quest for enlightenment within madness. It is a book that will touch anyone struggling to cope with mental illness, and especially for parents and caregivers of those caught in its grasp.
 
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Metafilm
Materialist Rhetoric and Reflexive Cinema
Christopher Carter
The Ohio State University Press, 2018
In Metafilm: Materialist Rhetoric and Reflexive Cinema, Christopher Carter examines paradoxical rhetoric in visual culture, analyzing movies that immerse viewers in violent narratives while examining the ethics of the transaction. Featuring the films of Michael Haneke, Atom Egoyan, Icíar Bollaín, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Ryan Coogler, Carter analyzes how personal conflict intermingles with the inherent violence of warfare, transnational economics, labor exploitation, and racism in genres ranging from horror to historical recreation and from depictions of genocide to records of police brutality. These films, Carter argues, reflect on their construction, distribution, and audience engagement, emphasizing the material design and the economics of rhetoric in ways most films do not.
 
Ultimately, Metafilm reframes materialism as a multimodal composing-in-action, or reflexive materialism, focusing on movies that dramatize their entanglement in economic and historical trauma while provoking forms of resistance during and after viewing. Carter contends that even as we recognize the division of social power in the films, we must also recognize how the concept is subversive and eludes control. In looking at the interplay between the films’ content and their production, circulation, and reception, Carter explores how the films persuade us to identify with onscreen worlds before probing our expectations—validating some, rejecting others, and sometimes proposing new ways of watching altogether.
 
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Michael Moore
Filmmaker, Newsmaker, Cultural Icon
Matthew Bernstein, Editor
University of Michigan Press, 2010

For more than twenty years, Michael Moore has transformed himself from a marginal filmmaker into a cultural icon, unofficial spokesperson for liberals and the Left. American conservatives constantly use him for target practice and target. Book author, film director, television personality, and Web presence, Moore is now a one-man cultural phenomenon. Although Michael Moore is a constant presence on the media landscape, this is the first volume to focus on the Moore phenomenom. It explores Moore's work in film and elsewhere, bringing diverse perspectives on his activities and status as voice of liberal America and the disenfranchised working class. Topics examined include the disjunction between Moore's celebrity status and everyman, middle-western persona, his self-mocking ironic sensibility, his tendency to diagnose American social and political problems in terms of class rather than gender, his reception abroad, and his uneasy relationship with the conventions of documentary filmmaking. The contributors are leading scholars and film critics, including Paul Arthur, Cary Elza, Jeffrey P. Jones, Douglas Kellner, Richard Kilborn, William Luhr, Charles Musser, Richard R. Ness, Miles Orvell, Richard Porton, Sergio Rizzo, Christopher Sharrett, Gaylyn Studlar, and David Teztlaff. The volume features both assessments of Moore's work in general and close analyses of his most successful films. The result is a definitive assessment of Moore's career to date.

Matthew Bernstein is Professor and Chair of Film Studies at Emory University. He is author of Walter Wanger: Hollywood Independent.

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Midday with Buñuel
Memories and Sketches, 1973-1983
Claudio Isaac
Swan Isle Press, 2007
Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel (1900–83), known for his surrealist themes and unflinching social criticism, was an artist defined by intellectual ambition and controversy. An exile who produced some of his most famous work in Mexico and France during Franco’s dictatorship, he left a complicated imprint on the creative landscape of the twentieth century and on generations of younger filmmakers—including his Mexican friend Claudio Isaac. Drawn from Isaac’s personal papers, Midday with Buñuel: Memories and Sketches, 1973–1983 is an intimate and unconventional portrait of this cinematic icon—and memoir of Isaac’s own artistic development.

The text includes sketches, vignettes, and anecdotes from Isaac’s notebooks, revealing his perspective first as a precocious boy and then as a young man. Isaac reflects on Buñuel’s presence among a community of exiles, artists, actors, writers, and intellectuals in Mexico City. These are at once touching, perceptive, and critical glimpses into Buñuel’s roles as husband and father, friend and colleague, surrealist, philosopher, and iconoclast during his last years. Throughout, Isaac’s words reveal his deep admiration and affection for an older friend full of contradictions. Intimate photographs from the Isaac family archive complement the writing, and Bryan Thomas Scoular’s careful translation makes this text available for the first time in English.

Part biography, part memoir, Midday with Buñuel brings to life the creative milieu of Mexico City and gives readers a privileged view of the relationship between these two filmmakers.
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Modern Nature
Derek Jarman
University of Minnesota Press, 2009

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Money, Murder, and Dominick Dunne
A Life in Several Acts
Robert Hofler
University of Wisconsin Press, 2019
Though Dominick Dunne seemed to live his entire adult life in the public eye, Robert Hofler reveals a conflicted, enigmatic man who reinvented himself again and again. Dunne was, in turn, a television and film producer, Vanity Fair journalist, and author of best-selling novels. Money, Murder, and Dominick Dunne brings to light a number of his difficult and tragic relationships: his intense rivalry with his brother, gay lovers he hid throughout his life, and fights with his editors. Hofler discusses the painful rift in the family after the murder of Dunne's daughter, Dominique—and Dunne's coverage of her killer's trial, which launched his career as a reporter.
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Murder in Hollywood
Solving a Silent Screen Mystery
Charles Higham
University of Wisconsin Press, 2004
    For more than eighty years, the famous unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor, the legendary bisexual film director, has generated debate and controversy.  Now, best-selling author Charles Higham has solved the crime.  Higham uncovers the corruption and intrigue of Los Angeles in the Roaring Twenties—and the film industry moguls’ complete domination of the city’s authorities.
    When it was discovered that a famous star of the day had probably killed Taylor, a massive cover-up began—from the removal of crucial evidence to the naming of innocent people as killers—which has continued until now to protect the truth.  Murder in Hollywood goes beyond the killing to unearth unknown details about the life of Taylor before his arrival in Hollywood, as well as the stories and histories buried by the crooked authorities and criminals involved the case. The author’s exclusive interviews with the culpable star, his unique possession of long-vanished police records, and the support of the present-day Los Angeles county coroner—who examined the evidence as if the murder had taken place now—have ensured a hair-raising thriller.
    Charles Higham successfully presents the most plausible and convincing solution yet to the mystery.  In the process he paints a vivid portrait of Hollywood in the 1920s—from its major stars to its bisexual subculture. The result is a compelling answer to a long-standing mystery and a fascinating study of a place, and an industry that, as today, let people reinvent themselves. Murder in Hollywood is more extraordinary than any crime of fiction and more exciting than any action adventure movie.
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My Life as a Filmmaker
Yamamoto Satsuo; Translated, Annotated, and with an Introduction by Chia-ning Chang
University of Michigan Press, 2017
In his posthumous autobiography, Watakushi no eiga jinsei (1984), Yamamoto reflects on his career and legacy: beginning in the prewar days as an assistant director in a well-established film company under the master Naruse Mikio, to his wide-ranging experiences as a filmmaker, including his participation in the tumultuous Toho Labor Upheaval soon after Japan’s defeat in World War II and his struggles as an independent filmmaker in the 1950s and 1960s before returning to work within the mainstream industry.  In the process, he established himself as one of the most prominent and socially engaged film artists in postwar Japan.  Imbued with vibrant social realism and astute political commentary, his filmic genres ranged widely from melodramas, period films from the Tokugawa era, samurai action jidaigeki, social satires, and antiwar films. Providing serious insights into and trenchant critique of the moral corruption in Japanese politics, academe, industry, and society, Yamamoto at the same time produced highly successful films that offered drama and entertainment for Japanese and international moviegoers.  His considerable artistic distinction, strong social and political consciousness, and filmic versatility have earned him a unique and distinguished position among Japan’s world-class film directors.
 
In addition to detailed annotations of the autobiography, translator Chia-ning Chang offers a comprehensive introduction to the career and the significance of Yamamoto and his works in the context of Japanese film history.  It contextualizes Yamamoto’s life and works in the historical and cultural zeitgeist of prewar, wartime, and postwar Japan before scrutinizing the unique qualities of his narrative voice and social conscience as a film artist.

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Méliès Boots
Footwear and Film Manufacturing in Second Industrial Revolution Paris
Matthew Solomon
University of Michigan Press, 2022
Before he became an influential cinematic innovator, Georges Méliès (1861–1938) was a maker of deluxe French footwear, an illusionist, and a caricaturist.  Proceeding from these beginnings, Méliès Boots traces how the full trajectory of Georges Méliès’ career during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, along with the larger cultural and historical contexts in which Méliès operated, shaped his cinematic oeuvre.  Solomon examines Méliès’ unpublished drawings and published caricatures, the role of laughter in his magic theater productions, and the constituent elements of what Méliès called "the new profession of the cinéaste."  The book also reveals Méliès' connections to the Incohérents, a group of ephemeral artists from the 1880s, demonstrating the group’s relevance for Méliès, early cinema, and modernity.  By positioning Méliès in relation to the material culture of his time, Solomon demonstrates that Méliès’ work was expressive of a distinctly modern, and modernist, sensibility that appeared in France during the 1880s in the wake of the Second Industrial Revolution.
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Odd Man Out
A Memoir of the Holllywood Ten
Edward Dmytryk
Southern Illinois University Press, 1996

In 1947, the House Un-American Activities Committee rudely interrupted the successful career and life of Edward Dmytryk, citing him with contempt of Congress. As a result, Dmytryk was fired by RKO and spent three years in England before returning to the United States to serve a six-month jail sentence and undergo a second round of hearings, during which he recanted and provided evidence against several of his former colleagues.

In this personal and perceptive book, Dmytryk sharply chronicles the history of a particularly turbulent era in American political life while examining his own life before and after the events universally called the witch hunts. He details his brief membership in the Communist Party of America, explaining his initial commitment to what he perceived as communist ideals of civil liberties, economic justice, and antifacism, followed by his eventual disillusionment with the party as itbetrayed those ideals. He goes on to provide a fair assessment of what then happened to him and the effect it had on the rest of his life.

Dmytryk describes the activities, prejudices, and personal behaviors of all the parties enmeshed in the congressional hearings on communism in Hollywood. His reactions to other members of the Hollywood Ten and his recollection of conversations with them lend his book an immediacy that is not only informative but also absorbing. Most importantly, he does not uphold an ideology but rather presents the events as he perceived them, understood them, and responded to them. Dmytryk’s account is characterized by an openness born of a mature awareness of personal trial as history.

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On Story—Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films
Austin Film Festival, Edited by Barbara Morgan and Maya Perez
University of Texas Press, 2016

On Story is film school in a box, a lifetime’s worth of filmmaking knowledge squeezed into half-hour packages.”
—Kenneth Turan, film critic for the Los Angeles Times

Austin Film Festival (AFF) is the first organization focused on the writer’s creative contribution to film. Its annual Film Festival and Conference offers screenings, panels, workshops, and roundtable discussions that help new writers and filmmakers connect with mentors and gain advice and insight from masters, as well as refreshing veterans with new ideas. To extend the festival’s reach, AFF produces On Story, a television series currently airing on PBS-affiliated stations and streaming online that presents footage of high-caliber artists talking candidly and provocatively about the art and craft of screenwriting and filmmaking, often using examples from their own films.

On Story—Screenwriters and Filmmakers on Their Iconic Films presents renowned, award-winning screenwriters and filmmakers discussing their careers and the stories behind the production of their iconic films such as L.A. Confidential, Thelma & Louise, Groundhog Day, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Silence of the Lambs, In the Name of the Father, Apollo 13, and more. In their own lively words transcribed from interviews and panel discussions, Ron Howard, Callie Khouri, Jonathan Demme, Ted Tally, Jenny Lumet, Harold Ramis, and others talk about creating stories that resonate with one’s life experiences or topical social issues, as well as how to create appealing characters and bring them to life. Their insights, production tales, and fresh, practical, and proven advice make this book ideal for film lovers, screenwriting students, and filmmakers and screenwriters seeking inspiration.

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Pasolini Requiem
Second Edition
Barth David Schwartz
University of Chicago Press, 2017
Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922–75) was one of the most important Italian intellectuals of the post–World War II era. An astonishing polymath—poet, novelist, literary critic, political polemicist, screenwriter, and film director—he exerted profound influence on Italian culture up to his untimely death at the age of fifty-three. This revised edition of what the New York Times Book Review has called “the standard Pasolini biography” introduces the artist to a new generation of readers.

Based on extensive interviews with those who knew Pasolini, both friends and enemies, admirers and detractors, Pasolini Requiem chronicles his growth from poet in the provinces to Italy’s leading “civil poet”; his flight to Rome in 1950; the scandalous success of his two novels and political writing; and his transition to film, where he started as a contributor to the golden age of Italian cinema and ended with the shocking Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. Pasolini’s tragic and still unsolved murder has remained a subject of contentious debate for four decades. The enduring fascination with who committed the crime—and why—reflects his vital stature in Italy’s political and social history.

Updated throughout and with a new afterword covering the efforts to reopen the investigation—and the legal maelstrom surrounding Pasolini’s demise—this edition of Pasolini Requiem is a riveting account of one of the twentieth century’s most controversial, ever-present iconoclasts.
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Paul Thomas Anderson
George Toles
University of Illinois Press, 2016
Since his explosive debut with the indie sensation Hard Eight , Paul Thomas Anderson has established himself as one of contemporary cinema's most exciting artists. His 2002 feature Punch-Drunk Love radically reimagined the romantic comedy. Critics hailed There Will Be Blood as a key film of the new millennium. In The Master , Anderson jarred audiences with dreamy amorphousness and a departure from conventional story mechanics. Acclaimed film scholar and screenwriter George Toles approaches these three films in particular, and Anderson's oeuvre in general, with a focus on the role of emergence and the production of the unaccountable. Anderson, Toles shows, is an artist obsessed with history, workplaces, and environments but also intrigued by spaces as projections of the people who dwell within. Toles follows Anderson from the open narratives of Boogie Nights and Magnolia through the pivot that led to his more recent films, Janus-faced masterpieces that orbit around isolated central characters--and advance Anderson's journey into allegory and myth. Blending penetrative analysis with a deep knowledge of filmic storytelling, Paul Thomas Anderson tours an important filmmaker's ever-deepening landscape of disconnection.
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Peerless
Rouben Mamoulian, Hollywood, and Broadway
Kurt Jensen
University of Wisconsin Press, 2024
A proud Armenian who claimed a distant link to nobility, born in what was then part of czarist Russia, Rouben Mamoulian (1897–1987) was one of the most astonishing and confounding figures in American film and theater, directing the original stage productions of Porgy and Bess, Carousel, and Oklahoma!, as well as films including Love Me Tonight, Queen Christina, City Streets, and Silk Stockings. He was famously fired from the film version of Porgy and Bess in a dispute over publicity and quit Cleopatra after arguments over a single scene. Mamoulian’s mercurial confidence and autocratic tendencies were among the reasons he had a reputation for being uncompromising. This frustrating mix of genius and stubbornness, of critical successes and financial flops, has proven challenging for biographers. 

Kurt Jensen’s magisterial volume, extensively researched and filled with trenchant observations, brings to life this charming, flawed, and fascinating man—and demonstrates how the wellspring of his art contained the seeds of his own destruction. Drawing upon Mamoulian’s unfinished memoir and voluminous diaries, as well as interviews with the director’s surviving collaborators, Jensen delivers fresh and informative insider stories from seminal productions. Meanwhile, he explores Mamoulian’s aesthetic principles and strategies as manifested in lighting, choreography, and sound design. A tour de force, Peerless offers readers a multifaceted, in-depth look at an idiosyncratic genius.
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Picking Up the Tab
The Life and Movies of Martin Ritt
Carlton Jackson
University of Wisconsin Press, 1994
Martin Ritt has been hailed as the United States’s greatest maker of social films. From No Down Payment early in his career to Stanley and Iris, his last production, he delineated the nuances of American society. In between were other social statements such as Hud, Sounder, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, Norma Rae, and The Great White Hope.
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Playful Frames
Styles of Widescreen Cinema
Steven Rybin
Rutgers University Press, 2024
A widescreen frame in cinema beckons the eye to playfully, creatively roam. Such technology also gives inventive filmmakers room to disrupt and redirect audience expectations, surprising viewers through the use of a wider, more expansive screen. Playful Frames: Styles of Widescreen Cinema studies the poetics of the auteur-driven widescreen image, offering nimble, expansive analyses of the work of four distinctive filmmakers – Jean Negulesco, Blake Edwards, Robert Altman, and John Carpenter – who creatively inhabited the nooks and crannies of widescreen moviemaking during the final decades of the twentieth century. Exploring the relationship between aspect ratio and subject matter, Playful Frames shows how directors make puckish use of widescreen technology. All four of these distinctive filmmakers reimagined popular genres (such as melodrama, slapstick comedy, film noir, science fiction, and horror cinema) through their use of the wide frame, and each brings a range of intermedial interests (painting, performance, and music) to their use of the widescreen image. This study looks specifically at the technological underpinnings, aesthetic shapes, and interpretive implications of these four directors’ creative use of widescreen, offering a way to reconsider the way wide imagery still has the potential to amaze and move us today. 
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Preston Sturges
The Last Years of Hollywood's First Writer-Director
Nick Smedley and Tom Sturges
Intellect Books, 2019
Few directors of the 1930s and ‘40s were as distinctive and popular as Preston Sturges, whose whipsmart comedies have entertained audiences for decades. Beginning with a foreword by Peter Bogdanovich, this book offers a new critical appreciation of Sturges’ whole oeuvre, incorporating a detailed study of the last ten years of his life from new primary sources. Preston Sturges details the many unfinished projects of Sturges’ last decade, including films, plays, TV series and his autobiography. Drawing on diaries, sketchbooks, correspondence, unpublished screenplays and more, Nick Smedley and Tom Sturges present the writer-director’s final years in more detail than we’ve ever seen, showing a master still at work—even if very little of that work ultimately made it to the screen or stage.
 
 
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Questioning African Cinema
Conversations With Filmmakers
Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike
University of Minnesota Press, 2002
The most comprehensive account available of filmmaking in Africa today. Diverse in their art, paradoxically more celebrated abroad than they are at home, African filmmakers eke out their visions against a backdrop of complex historical, social, economic, and political practices. The richness of their accomplishments emerges with compelling clarity in this book, in which African filmmakers speak candidly about their work. Featuring interviews with key personalities from twelve nations, Questioning African Cinema provides the most extensive, comprehensive account ever given of the origins, practice, and implications of filmmaking in Africa. Speaking with pioneers Med Hondo, Souleymane Cissé, and Kwaw Ansah; renowned feature filmmakers Djibril Mambéty, Haile Gerima, and Safi Faye; and award-winning younger filmmakers Idrissa Ouedraogo, Cheick Oumar Sissoko, and Jean-Pierre Bekolo, N. Frank Ukadike identifies trends and individual practices even as he surveys the evolution of African cinema and addresses the politics and problems of seeing Africa through an African lens. Situating the unique achievement of each filmmaker within the geographic, historical, social, and political context of African cinema, he also explores questions about acting, distribution and exhibition, history, theory and criticism, video-based television production, and television's relationship to independent film. N. Frank Ukadike is associate professor of film and of African and African diaspora studies at Tulane University.
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Reframing Todd Haynes
Feminism’s Indelible Mark
Theresa L. Geller and Julia Leyda, editors
Duke University Press, 2022
For three decades, award-winning independent filmmaker Todd Haynes, who emerged in the early 1990s as a foundational figure in New Queer Cinema, has gained critical recognition for his outsider perspective. Today, Haynes is widely known for bringing women’s stories to the screen. Analyzing Haynes’s films including Safe (1995), Velvet Goldmine (1998), Far from Heaven (2002), and Carol (2015), as well as his unauthorized Karen Carpenter biopic, Superstar (1987), and the television miniseries Mildred Pierce (2011), the contributors to Reframing Todd Haynes reassess his work in light of his long-standing feminist commitments and his exceptional career as a director of women’s films. They present multiple perspectives on Haynes’s film and television work and on his role as an artist-activist who draws on academic theorizations of gender and cinema. The volume illustrates the influence of feminist theory on Haynes’s aesthetic vision, most evident in his persistent interest in the political and formal possibilities afforded by the genre of the woman’s film. The contributors contend that no consideration of Haynes’s work can afford to ignore the crucial place of feminism within it.

Contributors. Danielle Bouchard, Nick Davis, Jigna Desai, Mary R. Desjardins, Patrick Flanery, Theresa L. Geller, Rebecca M. Gordon, Jess Issacharoff, Lynne Joyrich, Bridget Kies, Julia Leyda, David E. Maynard, Noah A. Tsika, Patricia White, Sharon Willis
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Reporting for Arkansas
The Documentary Films of Jack Hill
Dale Carpenter
University of Arkansas Press, 2022

Jack Hill was a pioneering Arkansas documentary filmmaker dedicated to sharing his state’s history with a wider public. Following a decade as an award-winning investigative journalist and news anchor at KAIT in Jonesboro, Hill was pushed out by new management for his controversial reporting on corruption in a local sheriff’s office. What seemed like a major career setback turned out to be an opportunity: he founded the production company TeleVision for Arkansas, through which he produced dozens of original films. Although Hill brought an abiding interest in education and public health to this work from the beginning, he found his true calling in topics based in Arkansas history. Convinced that a greater acquaintance with the state’s most significant historical events would nurture a greater sense of homegrown pride, Hill tirelessly crisscrossed the state to capture the voices of hundreds of Arkansans recalling significant chapters in the state’s history, such as the oil boom in El Dorado and Smackover, the crucial contributions of the Arkansas Ordnance Plant in Jacksonville during World War II, and the role of Rosenwald Schools in expanding educational opportunities.

In Reporting for Arkansas, Dale Carpenter and Robert Cochran present a biography of Hill alongside an annotated selected filmography designed to accompany sixteen of his best films on subjects related to Arkansas history—all newly hosted online by the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies at the University of Arkansas.

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Robert Wise
Shadowlands
Wes D. Gehring
Indiana Historical Society Press, 2012
Born in Winchester, Indiana, Robert Wise spent much of his youth sitting in darkened movie theaters enthralled by the swashbuckling heroics of screen legend Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Through these viewings, Wise developed a passion for film—a passion he followed for the rest of his life, making movies in Hollywood. Nationally known film historian Wes D. Gehring explores Wise’s life from his days in the Hoosier State to the beginning of his movie career at RKO studios working as the editor of Orson Welles’s classic movie Citizen Kane. Wise is best known for producing and directing two of the most memorable movie musicals in cinema history, West Side Story (co-director Jerome Robbins) and The Sound of Music, for which he won four Academy Awards—two Best Picture and Best Directors Oscars. But, as Gehring notes, other than Howard Hawks, Wise was arguably Hollywood’s most versatile director of various celebrated genre films.
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Sergei Paradjanov
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
Joshua First
Intellect Books, 2016
Released in 1965, Sergei Paradjanov’s Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a landmark of Soviet-era cinema—yet, because its emphasis on folklore and mysticism in traditional Carpathian Hutsul culture broke with Soviet realism, it caused Paradjanov to be blacklisted soon after its release.
            This book is the first full-length companion to the film. In addition to a synopsis of the plot and a close analysis of the many levels of symbolism in the film, it offers a history of the film’s legendarily troubled production process (which included Paradjanov challenging a cinematographer to a duel). The book closes with an account of the film’s reception by critics, ordinary viewers, and Soviet officials, and the numerous controversies that have kept it a subject of heated debate for decades. An essential companion to a fascinating, complicated work of cinema art, this book will be invaluable to students, scholars, and regular film buffs alike.
 
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The Showman and the Ukrainian Cause
Folk Dance, Film, and the Life of Vasile Avramenko
Orest T. Martynowych
University of Manitoba Press, 2014

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Staging Memories
Hou Hsiao-hsien's A City of Sadness
Abé Mark Nornes and Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh
Michigan Publishing Services, 2015
In Staging Memories, authors Abé Mark Nornes and Emilie Yeh present an updated study of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s landmark contributions to Taiwanese and world cinema, with particular emphasis on A City of Sadness (Beiqing Chengshi), the winner of the Golden Lion award at the 1989 Venice Film Festival. Staging Memories is based on Narrating National Sadness, one of the first hypertext analyses in film studies, and its analysis is couched in a general history of Taiwan, the political massacre that A City of Sadness recreates, and the history of Taiwan New Cinema. This background information is crucial context for viewers, and one of the reasons teachers have long valued the hypertext version of the book. The body of the text analyzes Hou's style, representation of violence, and the complex manner in which he renders history in his oblique long-take style. The book ends with a chapter that examines a single sequence that unifies the various threads of the overall analysis.
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Stanley Kubrick at Look Magazine
Authorship and Genre in Photojournalism and Film
Philippe D. Mather
Intellect Books, 2013
From 1945 to 1950, during the formative years of his career, Stanley Kubrick worked as a photojournalist for Look magazine. Offering a comprehensive examination of the work he produced during this period—before going on to become one of America’s most celebrated filmmakers—Stanley Kubrick at "Look" Magazine sheds new light on the aesthetic and ideological factors that shaped his artistic voice.
 
Tracing the links between his photojournalism and films, Philippe Mather shows how working at Look fostered Kubrick’s emerging genius for combining images and words to tell a story. Mather then demonstrates how exploring these links enhances our understanding of Kubrick’s approach to narrative structure—as well as his distinctive combinations of such genres as fiction and documentary, and fantasy and realism.
 
Beautifully written and exhaustively researched, Stanley Kubrick at "Look" Magazine features never-before-published photographs from the Look archives and complete scans of Kubrick’s photo essays from hard-to-obtain back issues of the magazine. It will be an indispensable addition to the libraries of Kubrick scholars and fans.
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Stanley Kubrick
New York Jewish Intellectual
Abrams, Nathan
Rutgers University Press, 2018
Stanley Kubrick is generally acknowledged as one of the world’s great directors. Yet few critics or scholars have considered how he emerged from a unique and vibrant cultural milieu: the New York Jewish intelligentsia.
 
Stanley Kubrick reexamines the director’s work in context of his ethnic and cultural origins. Focusing on several of Kubrick’s key themes—including masculinity, ethical responsibility, and the nature of evil—it demonstrates how his films were in conversation with contemporary New York Jewish intellectuals who grappled with the same concerns.  At the same time, it explores Kubrick’s fraught relationship with his Jewish identity and his reluctance to be pegged as an ethnic director, manifest in his removal of Jewish references and characters from stories he adapted.
 
As he digs deep into rare Kubrick archives to reveal insights about the director’s life and times, film scholar Nathan Abrams also provides a nuanced account of Kubrick’s cinematic artistry. Each chapter offers a detailed analysis of one of Kubrick’s major films, including Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Eyes Wide Shut. Stanley Kubrick thus presents an illuminating look at one of the twentieth century’s most renowned and yet misunderstood directors.  
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Stanley Kubrick Produces
James Fenwick
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Stanley Kubrick Produces provides the first comprehensive account of Stanley Kubrick’s role as a producer, and of the role of the producers he worked with throughout his career. It considers how he first emerged as a producer, how he developed the role, and how he ultimately used it to fashion himself a powerbase by the 1970s. It goes on to consider how Kubrick’s centralizing of power became a self-defeating strategy by the 1980s and 1990s, one that led him to struggle to move projects out of development and into active production.
 
Making use of overlooked archival sources and uncovering newly discovered ‘lost’ Kubrick projects (The Cop Killer, Shark Safari, and The Perfect Marriage among them), as well as providing the first detailed overview of the World Assembly of Youth film, James Fenwick provides a comprehensive account of Kubrick’s life and career and of how he managed to obtain the level of control that he possessed by the 1970s. Along the way, the book traces the rapid changes taking place in the American film industry in the post-studio era, uncovering new perspectives about the rise of young independent producers, the operations of influential companies such as Seven Arts and United Artists, and the whole field of film marketing.
 
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Susan Sontag
A Biography
Daniel Schreiber; Translated from the German by David Dollenmayer
Northwestern University Press, 2014

While known primarily as a cultural critic and novelist, Sontag was also a filmmaker, stage director, and dramatist. It was her status as a pop icon that was unusual for an American intellectual: she was filmed by Andy Warhol and Woody Allen, photographed by Annie Leibovitz and Diane Arbus, and her likeness adorned advertisements for Absolut vodka. Drawing on newly available sources, including interviews with Nadine Gordimer, Robert Wilson, and Sontag’s son, David Rieff, as well as on myriad interviews given by Sontag and her extensive correspondence with her friend and publisher Roger Straus, Schreiber explores the roles that Sontag played in influencing American public cultural and political conversations.

 

 

 

 

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Tough as Nails
The Life and Films of Richard Brooks
Douglass K. Daniel
University of Wisconsin Press, 2011
Called “God’s angry man” for his unyielding demands in pursuit of personal and artistic freedom, Oscar-winning filmmaker Richard Brooks brought us some of the mid-twentieth century’s most iconic films, including Blackboard Jungle, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Elmer Gantry, In Cold Blood, and Looking for Mr. Goodbar. “The important thing,” he once remarked, “is to write your story, to make it believable, to make it live.” His own life story has never been fully chronicled, until now.
            Tough as Nails: The Life and Films of Richard Brooks restores to importance the career of a prickly iconoclast who sought realism and truth in his films. Douglass K. Daniel explores how the writer-director made it from the slums of Philadelphia to the heights of the Hollywood elite, working with the top stars of the day, among them Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Simmons, Sidney Poitier, Sean Connery, Gene Hackman, and Diane Keaton. Brooks dramatized social issues and depicted characters in conflict with their own values, winning an Academy Award for his Elmer Gantry screenplay and earning nominations for another seven Oscars for directing and screenwriting.
            Tough as Nails offers illuminating insights into Brooks’s life, drawing on unpublished studio memos and documents and interviews from stars and colleagues, including Poitier, director Paul Mazursky, and Simmons, who was married to Brooks for twenty years. Daniel takes readers behind the scenes of Brooks’s major films and sheds light on their making, their compromises, and their common threads. Tough as Nails celebrates Brooks’s vision while adding to the critical understanding of his works, their flaws as well as their merits, and depicting the tumults and trends in the life of a man who always kept his own compass.
 
 
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
 
Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Reviewers
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Transition and Transformation
Victor Sjöström in Hollywood 1923-1930
Bo Florin
Amsterdam University Press, 2013
In 1923, the film director Victor Seastrom (né Sjöström), then Sweden’s most renowned filmmaker, was recruited to Hollywood by Goldwyn Pictures, where he made eight silent pictures and one talkie in seven years, among them a 1926 version of The Scarlet Letter. What elements of Swedish cinema did he bring with him to the States, and how were these techniques transformed by Hollywood? This is the first book-length study dedicated to the films of Sjöström (1879–1960) and how he functioned in the studio system of 1920s Hollywood.  Bo Florin explores the ways the director applied his austere and naturalistic film style in a radically different context and discusses how his films were received in Hollywood.  
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Walter Ruttmann and the Cinema of Multiplicity
Avant-Garde Film - Advertising - Modernity
Michael Cowan
Amsterdam University Press, 2014
A key figure in early avant-garde cinema, Walter Ruttmann was a pioneer of experimental animation and the creative force behind one of the silent era's most celebrated montage films, Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. Yet even as he was making experimental films, Ruttmann had a day job. He worked regularly in advertising -and he would go on to make industrial films, medical films, and even Nazi propaganda films. Michael Cowan offers here the first study of Ruttmann in English, not only shedding light on his commercial, industrial, and propaganda work, but also rethinking his significance in light of recent transformations in film studies. Cowan brilliantly teases out the linkages between the avant-garde and industrial society in the early twentieth century, showing how Ruttmann's films incorporated and enacted strategies for managing the multiplicities of mass society.This book has won the Willy Haas Award 2014 for its outstanding contribution to the study of German cinema.
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Wes Anderson
Donna Kornhaber
University of Illinois Press, 2017
The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom have made Wes Anderson a prestige force. Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums have become quotable cult classics. Yet every new Anderson release brings out droves of critics eager to charge him with stylistic excess and self-indulgent eclecticism.

Donna Kornhaber approaches Anderson's style as the necessary product of the narrative and thematic concerns that define his body of work. Using Anderson's focus on collecting, Kornhaber situates the director as the curator of his filmic worlds, a prime mover who artfully and conscientiously arranges diverse components into cohesive collections and taxonomies. Anderson peoples each mise-en-scéne in his ongoing ""Wesworld"" with characters orphaned, lost, and out of place amidst a riot of handmade clutter and relics. Within, they seek a wholeness and collective identity they manifestly lack, with their pain expressed via an ordered emotional palette that, despite being muted, cries out for attention. As Kornhaber shows, Anderson's films offer nothing less than a fascinating study in the sensation of belonging--told by characters who possess it the least.

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Woman with a Movie Camera
My Life as a Russian Filmmaker
By Marina Goldovskaya
University of Texas Press, 2006

Marina Goldovskaya is one of Russia's best-known documentary filmmakers. The first woman in Russia (and possibly the world) to combine being a director, writer, cinematographer, and producer, Goldovskaya has made over thirty documentary films and more than one hundred programs for Russian, European, Japanese, and American television. Her work, which includes the award-winning films The House on Arbat Street, The Shattered Mirror, and Solovky Power, has garnered international acclaim and won virtually every prize given for documentary filmmaking.

In Woman with a Movie Camera, Goldovskaya turns her lens on her own life and work, telling an adventurous, occasionally harrowing story of growing up in the Stalinist era and subsequently documenting Russian society from the 1960s, through the Thaw and Perestroika, to post-Soviet Russia. She recalls her childhood in a Moscow apartment building that housed famous filmmakers, being one of only three women students at the State Film School, and working as an assistant cameraperson on the first film of Andrei Tarkovsky, Russia's most celebrated director. Reviewing her professional filmmaking career, which began in the 1960s, Goldovskaya reveals her passion for creating films that presented a truthful picture of Soviet life, as well as the challenges of working within (and sometimes subverting) the bureaucracies that controlled Russian film and television production and distribution. Along the way, she describes a host of notable figures in Russian film, theater, art, and politics, as well as the technological evolution of filmmaking from film to video to digital media.

A compelling portrait of a woman who broke gender and political barriers, as well as the eventful four decades of Russian history she has documented, Woman with a Movie Camera will be fascinating reading for a wide audience.

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Wrong
A Critical Biography of Dennis Cooper
Diarmuid Hester
University of Iowa Press, 2020

Dennis Cooper is one of the most inventive and prolific artists of our time. Working in a variety of forms and media since he first exploded onto the scene in the early 1970s, he has been a punk poet, a queercore novelist, a transgressive blogger, an indie filmmaker—each successive incarnation more ingenious and surprising than the last. Cooper’s unflinching determination to probe the obscure, often violent recesses of the human psyche have seen him compared with literary outlaws like Rimbaud, Genet, and the Marquis de Sade.

In this, the first book-length study of Cooper’s life and work, Diarmuid Hester shows that such comparisons hardly scratch the surface. A lively retrospective appraisal of Cooper’s fifty-year career, Wrong tracks the emergence of Cooper’s singular style alongside his participation in a number of American subcultural movements like New York School poetry, punk rock, and radical queercore music and zines. Using extensive archival research, close readings of texts, and new interviews with Cooper and his contemporaries, Hester weaves a complex and often thrilling biographical narrative that attests to Cooper’s status as a leading figure of the American post­–War avant-garde.

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