The Best Books About Film

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Dr Amicus
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:20 am
Location: Guernsey

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1076 Post by Dr Amicus » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:33 am

Inside the Prisoner: Radical Television and Film in the 1960s by Ian Rakoff. Now this is an odd book, which is recommended with provisos.

Rakoff was assistant editor for two episodes of The Prisoner and co-wrote “Living In Harmony”, the Western episode, and there is some interesting material on the series as seen from someone involved at the margins. Much as I like the series, I’m not familiar with behind the scenes and making-ofs in the way I am with, say, Doctor Who but assuming the book is accurate it’s amazing anything was finished – much like the original Star Wars, many of the people involved had no idea what was going on and were convinced the series would fail and disappear without trace. There’s also more than a bit about creative tensions (basically Patrick McGoohan against everybody else) – including one lengthy section about a seemingly terrifying meeting Rakoff had where he was harangued for two hours by McGoohan for all sorts of random reasons.

Along with Prisoner material, the other main focus is on Rakoff’s relationship with Lindsay Anderson, in particular their work on If… Anderson comes off (like McGoohan to a degree) to be abrasive but brilliant and there seems to be a genuine friendship between the two. In addition, Rakoff works with Roeg on a never completed (but at least partially shot) semi-documentary about Glastonbury combined with material on Borges – a project which seems tantalising to say the least.

As a whole the book is vaguely frustrating – it tries a bit too hard to impose the framework and outlook of The Prisoner on everything else – but often fascinating. So, recommended depending on how many boxes are ticked for you by The Prisoner / Anderson / Roeg.

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Red Screamer
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:34 pm
Location: Tativille, IA

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1077 Post by Red Screamer » Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:12 pm

J. Hoberman's review of Hannah Frank's Frame by Frame: A Materialist Aesthetics of Animated Cartoons in Artforum. Frank's articles "Traces of the World," which covers some of the same ground as this book, and "Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain," on Eisenstein's Macbeth sketches, are among the best works of contemporary film criticism/scholarship that I've read, so I'm really looking forward to reading this.

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senseabove
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:07 am

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1078 Post by senseabove » Fri Sep 06, 2019 1:18 pm

Frame by Frame happens to be available as a free ebook straight from the publisher: https://luminosoa.org/site/books/10.1525/luminos.65/

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J Wilson
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1079 Post by J Wilson » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:38 pm

Has anyone checked out the listing for Taschen's Jacques Tati: The Complete Works? It looks like a suitcase-sized box set with five volumes:
Designed by M/M (Paris), the set includes:

Volume I, ‘Tati films’: stills from all six feature films
Volume II, ‘Tati writes’: the complete screenplays, plus those of two unmade films
Volume III, ‘Tati works’: a comprehensive survey of his life and work
Volume IV, ‘Tati explores’: essays on important themes in his films
Volume V, ‘Tati speaks’: quotations and interviews

Not exactly cheap at $225, but it looks pretty impressive.

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Florinaldo
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:38 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1080 Post by Florinaldo » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:17 pm

That Tati book set is evidently the one so long in the making that Jonathan Rosenbaum posted his contributions (essays on each feature film) on his Web site some time ago. I assume these are still included in the final product.

On the Taschen site, their listing for the book describes Tati as having "lapsed into obscurity". Is that really accurate? Among regular moviegoers probably – but then again so has everything older than the last 15 years or so – but certainly not in cinephilic circles or in academia. Or am I suffering from tunnel vision induced by my love for Tati?

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domino harvey
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1081 Post by domino harvey » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:20 pm

I doubt they’d be releasing a five volume set devoted to him if it were true. He seems as popular as a French comedian working over half a century ago can be, and I say that as someone who does not look upon it with Tati-colored glasses

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Florinaldo
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:38 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1082 Post by Florinaldo » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:28 pm

Of course, they would not take the gamble of releasing such an expensive product if there was not an expected market for it. There is a level of commercial hype at work here, sending a message along the lines of "look at this wonderful rediscovery we are so admirably bringing to you". But at one point PR puffery veers into ridiculousness and the "lapsed into obscurity" bit falls into that category for me. I wonder how they would describe Pierre Étaix? (Not that I believe there is any chance a publisher would ever assemble a similar set devoted to that other great French comic filmmaker.)

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1083 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:23 am

colinr0380 in February wrote:
Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:51 am
In other book news, Ian Christie was on BBC Radio 4's Film Programme last week to talk about the latest R.W. Paul films that have been uncovered and mentioned that he is working on a book about the filmmaker to come out at the end of the year, which is apparently getting a graphic novel version as well to try and introduce the early filmmaker to a new audience!
By the way, the R.W. Paul graphic novel unexpectedly turned up as a supplement in this month's edition of Sight & Sound. I don't know if this was just added in for subscribers or is actually a supplement in the magazine going out to newsstands though.

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filmyfan
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:50 am

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1084 Post by filmyfan » Sun Sep 22, 2019 5:05 am

Godot wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:15 pm
black&huge wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 4:17 am
How is Imogen Sara Smith's In Lonely Places? I only recently discovered her and wanted to check it out.
I'm a sucker for books on film noir, so I picked this up and have been slowly thumbing through it. I like her take on non-urban settings (the desert and Southwest, suburban domesticity, sleepy small towns, the road trip), and her writing voice is similar to her speaking voice, if you've enjoyed her appearances on podcasts or DVD interviews or commentaries. It's interesting to read her take on a few films that are usually discussed for their director or cinematographer and instead focus on their setting (Out of the Past, They Live By Night, Kiss Me Deadly, His Kind of Woman and other Farrows, a few of the Langs). I get her a bit confused with Farran Smith Nehme, their voices are somewhat similar to my ears, so the Columbia noir video essay piece on the Criterion Channel was helpful to separate them in my mind.
I have only recently "discovered" her on some CC discs-and like her...i notice she has written a book about Buster Keaton-anyone read that ?

alacal2
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Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1085 Post by alacal2 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:26 am

Correct me if I'm wrong but I think the R W Paul graphic novel that colinr0380 refers to is directly related to the new editor who previously worked for the New Musical Express. His appointment, given his background, appears to have generated next to nil comment on this board but it certainly got Nick Wrigley in a tizz on Twitter!

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1086 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 2:11 pm

I have to admit that I had not noticed that, as that edition of Sight & Sound was still featuring Nick James in the Editorial with no mention made of a new appointment at that point. Not really knowing backgrounds of those involved was Nick Wrigley in a good or bad tizz about this NME editor?

alacal2
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Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1087 Post by alacal2 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 3:13 pm

Colin, unfortunately I no longer get S@S and I see that Nick James is still listed as Editor on its website. The new guy is Mike Williams who describes himself on his Linked In page as Editor in Chief of S@S from August. I hope I'm interpreting Nick Wrigley's comments fairly but I believe he was expressing astonishment at the apparent lack of reaction in the wider film community to what he saw as a pretty left field appointment. There's a bfi press release from July stating “Mike’s experience as an editor, his track record in taking new and established titles into a digital-first future and his passion for film and television makes him a perfect choice to take Sight & Sound into the next stage of its evolution. We have great writers with a deep understanding of film and its context, and whilst we are committed to print and online, forging a new and dynamic relationship between the two is critical for reaching today’s readers and audiences. We look forward to Mike joining the team and capitalising on the magnificent legacy of Sight & Sound to grow
its audience.” I could have sworn I heard Nick spluttering! Anyhow, that's what made me think that your R W Paul comment and this were linked but who knows.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#1088 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:48 pm

Killers, Clients, and Kindred Spirits: the Taboo Cinema of Shohei Imamura, edited by Lindsay Coleman and David Desser.

Published just this year--finally, a full length English-language book devoted to Imamura that's worthy of its subject. The previous book edited by James Quandt was inadequate for a number of reasons, not least of which being that most of the authors seemed not to have watched the films under discussion in many years. Not only were there basic plot errors in every essay, but many of them made the exact same errors, leading one to conclude they were all relying on the same erroneous plot summary(ies) (probably Richie's essay).

The essays in Coleman and Desser's book are more careful and more substantive. Each one of Imamura's films is analyzed here, except Zegen (apparently no one was available to write on it); and with the exception of Imamura's four journeyman works from the 50s, which are analyzed in a single essay, the rest of Imamura's films receive a dedicated essay each.

For an academic work, the essays are refreshingly free of academic jargon. Not completely--Adam Bingham's essay on Intentions of Murder is near unreadable, and has so many incredible howlers and nonsensical phrases I found myself bothering my wife every five minutes with a new one. Yet even that essay is worthwhile, serving as a useful corrective to the misreadings in the earlier Quandt book and elsewhere that claim the heroine becomes sexually attracted to her rapist. It's a shame the reading I was most hoping someone would make came in the worst-written essay, but I think this shows the richness of the book. There are a lot of excellent readings and some needed analysis here, especially of Imamura's aesthetic. Michael Raine's essay on The Insect Woman is unmissable for how it dissects Imamura's so-called realistic, documentary aesthetic and places it squarely in the tradition of Brecht and the distancing effect. And I was happy to see Imamura's putative giving-over to Ozu in Black Rain refigured by Dolores P. Martinez into a criticism and finally a rejection of Ozu's techniques. Another reading I was satisfied to see someone make.

A terrific set of essays on probably Japan's best filmmaker.

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Orson Kane
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:07 pm

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1089 Post by Orson Kane » Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:59 pm

alacal2 wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 3:13 pm
Colin, unfortunately I no longer get S@S
Is there any reason you don't buy it anymore?

Would you recommend any other film review magazine with insightful reviews (Little White Lies perhaps?).

alacal2
not waving but frowning
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1090 Post by alacal2 » Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:31 am

Nothing sinister Orson Kane! It got too expensive to have shipped to France and I don't like the digital version. I try and puck up a copy if I'm ever back in the UK.

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Gregor Samsa
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 4:41 am

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1091 Post by Gregor Samsa » Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:23 pm

Palgrave Macmillan is currently holding a sale where prettymuch everything is 9.99 with free shipping. Haven't checked out the range fully, but there's plenty of academic film books included:

https://www.palgrave.com/gp/shop/cyberm ... cyber19pal

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senseabove
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:07 am

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1092 Post by senseabove » Sun Nov 24, 2019 7:28 pm

Gregor Samsa wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:23 pm
Palgrave Macmillan is currently holding a sale where prettymuch everything is 9.99 with free shipping. Haven't checked out the range fully, but there's plenty of academic film books included:

https://www.palgrave.com/gp/shop/cyberm ... cyber19pal
Looks like this sale goes until December 3rd, and literally everything I've seen is $9.99—eBook, paperback, and hardback. Unfortunately, once you get to check out, it appears that they're all Print-on-Demand, but I suppose that's not much to complain about at the price. Some I noticed that might be of particular interest to folks here:
Visual and Other Pleasures by Laura Mulvey
Mise en Scène and Film Style by Adrian Martin
Film Restoration: The Culture and Science of Audiovisual Heritage by Leo Enticknap (which purports to be aimed at non-specialists)
The DVD and the Study of Film: The Attainable Text by Mark Parker and Deborah Parker (which apparently has a good history of Criterion)

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Orson Kane
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:07 pm

Re: The Best Books About Film

#1093 Post by Orson Kane » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:28 am

colinr0380 wrote:
Thu Jan 24, 2019 1:09 pm
I can confirm that Flowers of Perversion: The Delirious Cinema of Jess Franco Volume Two is available now as my copy has just arrived. Thank you for the heads up Cronenfly as I had honestly forgotten to check when the second volume would be released! It is a bit heftier than the first volume too, at 510 pages against the first volume's 430, but it makes a perfect companion to Murderous Passions (even down to the amusing updating on the back cover from "Stephen Thrower has devoted five years" to "ten years" for Volume Two!)

Both are outstanding volumes for such an overwhelming amount of films. Volume Two takes the Franco filmography from 1974 up to Franco's final post-Lina Romay film in 2013 (Al Pereira vs The Alligator Ladies, which Thrower describes as Franco's best film in 25 years, along with Revenge of the Alligator Ladies, completed by Antonio Mayans as a kind of meta-film from the footage left after Franco's death. There is also an interview with Mayans to cap off the discussion of the films)
In case anyone hasn't seen it but Volume One of this book was going for ridiculous prices on eBay but thankfully Strange Attractor press are reissuing it in a revised edition

MURDEROUS PASSIONS: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco

STEPHEN THROWER
with Julian Grainger

HB, 270 x 240 mm


512pp, 599 images, 326 in colour

£45
/ £55 + signed insert (100 only)
/ £60 + 7″ & insert (40 only)

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