The Best Books About Film

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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Emak-Bakia
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#851 Post by Emak-Bakia » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:19 pm

Has anyone here read James Broughton’s Seeing the Light (later published as Making Light of It)? I randomly discovered it in the library, and it’s been such a joy to read in these early days of spring. It reminds me of being a teenager, lying in a field reading Thoreau in the summertime and feeling absolutely free.

With the exception of a few photos, practically all of the book’s 80 pages are devoted to listing Broughton’s aphorisms on cinema, Zen, the Wizard of Oz and beyond, so I can understand why his style might be hard for some to swallow. Upon starting the book, it was immediately clear to me that I had to unleash myself from any cynicism, as his humility is easy to take potshots at. When I allowed myself to do this, I was able to really enjoy Broughton’s unique perspective, from which cinema is upheld with a holy reverence.

There are so many great quotes to be found in this tiny book that I stopped writing them down and decided that I would just have to buy a copy for myself. I haven’t read any other works by James Broughton and I’ve only seen a couple of his films, so I look forward to spending more time in his world.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#852 Post by twicebilled » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:50 pm

MIT press is currently having a 50% off sale through tomorrow I believe.

http://mitpress.mit.edu/disciplines/arts/film" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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warren oates
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#853 Post by warren oates » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:15 pm

I have an English prof. friend who's finishing up a manuscript about Our Gang/The Little Rascals and starting to look for a publisher. It's her first book about film/TV, but not her first book. The focus is on representations of race in the series and the realities of race for the African American cast members. The writing is intellectually serious but not obscure, with an aim toward including previously untold personal stories of some of the actors. Anyone out there have any ideas of the best places for this to be published, academic presses or otherwise?

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domino harvey
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#854 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:52 pm

Has your friend been published in peer-reviewed journals before? Academic publishing is a nightmare, and it's even worse for book-length works. I don't even know how someone would go about going in blind, as even with having connections it's tough work. Do they have networking published colleagues that could put in a good word?

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warren oates
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#855 Post by warren oates » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:54 pm

Her first book was published with a well-known university press, with which she still has a good relationship. Just isn't sure they are right for the new one. She has English and African American studies mentors and colleagues but not really any film/TV ones.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#856 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:00 pm

Has she looked at speaking at upcoming Lib Arts symposiums in the country? Now's the worst time, unfortunately, but she could potentially present an aspect from her forthcoming book to a larger audience of film professionals and network that way. Hell, she probably needs her points anyways and the school will likely pick up the tab. It's kind of a long way away solution-- they're usually in the fall and spring-- but as I'm sure you know, getting peer-reviewed and then published takes years and years anyways. The solution isn't just "Here's an imprint that will probably put out her book," at least to my eyes it ain't

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rohmerin
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#857 Post by rohmerin » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:21 pm

is there any book about Hollywood and European cinema in Europe during and after the WWII ? I mean, in the sense of marketing, censorship and dubbing:
- Were the neutral countries like Spain, Sweden etc open markets? How did arrive the films? To travel on those years for me it's a mystery.
- Where did Americans dubbed and when into Italian or French? In Spain, in Hollywood, in South Italy?
- Was American cinema banned in occupied countries? and when? After Pearl Harbor? I read there were US films running in Vichy France.

Is there any book about How American cinema was treated, censored, released in German and Italy during the Fascist years?

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#858 Post by Saimo » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:11 am

In the 30s Italian audience loved American films, they loved even the ones they weren't allowed to see (e.g. Mae West's pictures), and in order to patronize Italian production Fascism had to ban Hollywood majors' productions since september 1938. A fistful of films still arrived in later years (e.g. Stagecoach), but films by Warner, Metro, Paramount etc. weren't allowed. During the war, American studios dubbed their films in Italian, working in the US and using italo-american crews (e.g. Arrigo Colombo), and after the war they sent these films in Italy. Accordingly, Hollywood production flooded Italian theaters between 1944 and the early 1950s.

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MichaelB
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#859 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:24 am

Yugoslavia is an interesting case study because it was just about the only country behind the Iron Curtain that showed American films on a large scale, mainly because Tito fell out with Stalin in the late 1940s, but also because Tito (a huge film buff) was very keen to encourage Hollywood filmmakers to use Yugoslav locations and studio facilities. Esther Williams' Bathing Beauty was a particularly big local hit.

(My source for the above was primarily the documentary Cinema Komunisto, whose official website has a handy timeline).

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FakeBonanza
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#860 Post by FakeBonanza » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:02 pm

Has anyone read James Naremore's BFI Classics book on Sweet Smell of Success? I'm thinking of picking it up as a companion to the film, but I'm curious to know how much overlap there is between the book and his commentary. Is the book still worth reading, or has the commentary made it redundant?

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HJackson
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#861 Post by HJackson » Fri Jul 26, 2013 8:27 pm

I think I'm comfortable on the Bresson (Diary of a Country Priest, A Man Escaped, Pickpocket, Trial of Joan of Arc?), but which Ozu and Dreyer films do the most legwork in Schrader's Transcendental Style in Film? I'm more interested in Schrader and his general subject than these filmmakers in particular, but I want to make sure I have the appropriate frame of reference before I dive into the book.

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Foam
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#862 Post by Foam » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:09 pm

With Ozu he's fairly all over the place, but there are several references to each film in the Noriko trilogy and he assumes knowledge of early Ozu so I Was Born But... is probably good to know. He uses The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice as an example of a failed late Ozu and An Autumn Afternoon as a successful one. Ordet is probably mentioned more than any other film in the book, and in the Dreyer section he devotes entire passages to it, The Passion of Joan of Arc, and Day of Wrath.

I have to admit though that the book didn't do much to increase my appreciation of the films, or maybe I just find very different things to enjoy in them. I think it's more useful to get a feel for what's important to Schrader about the films, and seeing how his creative misreading of them, in the Bloomian sense, influenced his own work.

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HJackson
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#863 Post by HJackson » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:28 pm

Foam wrote:With Ozu he's fairly all over the place, but there are several references to each film in the Noriko trilogy and he assumes knowledge of early Ozu so I Was Born But... is probably good to know. He uses The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice as an example of a failed late Ozu and An Autumn Afternoon as a successful one. Ordet is probably mentioned more than any other film in the book, and in the Dreyer section he devotes entire passages to it, The Passion of Joan of Arc, and Day of Wrath.

I have to admit though that the book didn't do much to increase my appreciation of the films, or maybe I just find very different things to enjoy in them. I think it's more useful to get a feel for what's important to Schrader about the films, and seeing how his creative misreading of them, in the Bloomian sense, influenced his own work.
Many thanks. Seems I have a little catching up to do on Ozu, but not as much as I'd feared. As you say, Schrader himself is my main interest, especially with the American Gigolo blu on the horizon, so I'm looking forward to having a read of this.

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Matt
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#864 Post by Matt » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:30 pm

Some brief thoughts on My Lunches with Orson posted here.

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Re: Read any good books lately?

#865 Post by BrianInAtlanta » Fri Aug 02, 2013 8:03 am

Just got John McElwee's Showmen, Sell It Hot!: Movies as Merchandise in Golden Era Hollywood. OMG is it wonderful. Great rare pictures from his vault (including a near-nude young Joan Blondell!) and fascinating commentary on the intersection of classic Hollywood and how theater owners dealt with them.

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Matt
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#866 Post by Matt » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:33 am

How scholarly is it? Is it fully footnoted with a bibliography? I've never heard of the publisher, Paladin Communications, before.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#867 Post by BrianInAtlanta » Fri Aug 02, 2013 4:23 pm

Matt wrote:How scholarly is it? Is it fully footnoted with a bibliography? I've never heard of the publisher, Paladin Communications, before.
Not footnoted but sources for each chapter are in notes in the back.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#868 Post by bamwc2 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 11:33 am

Some of the discussion in the documentary list thread has had me thinking about documentary ethics as of late. Can anyone recommend canonical documentary texts and/or texts specifically on ethics within the art form?

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Matt
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#869 Post by Matt » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:42 pm

Bill Nichols' Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary is great, probably the key contemporary text on documentary theory.

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MacktheFinger
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#870 Post by MacktheFinger » Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:55 pm

Several of his other books are well worth reading, as well. His writing is pretty extensive. Representing Reality is certainly the fundamental text, but I'd also recommend Ideology and the Image and Blurred Boundaries.

Some others might include Alan Rosenthal's The Documentary Conscience, Michael Renov's Theorizing Documentary.

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Askew
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#871 Post by Askew » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:28 am

Can anyone recommend the best book on the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder?

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#872 Post by rossen » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:35 am

I have Thomas Elsaesser's Fassbinder's Germany, which is pretty good and has an extended commentary on the films at the end. Another good book is Cristhian Braad Thomsen's Fassbinder: The Life And Work Of A Provocative Genius.

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Matt
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#873 Post by Matt » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:36 am

In my opinion, the best scholarly monograph remains to be written, but Christian Braad Thomsen's Fassbinder: The Life And Work Of A Provocative Genius is a good try. The book just can't decide what it wants to be, and the writing is very dense and dry, so it's not a very rewarding read. I have not yet looked at A Companion to Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a collection of essays edited by Brigitte Peucker, so I don't know if that's any good. It looks like it might be, though.

I'd say the best overall book on Fassbinder is still the collection of Fassbinder's own essays and interviews, The Anarchy of the Imagination. Most directors are not good interpreters of their own work, but Fassbinder knew what he was talking about.

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Askew
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Re: The Best Books About Film

#874 Post by Askew » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:23 am

Thanks guys, I'll check out both Fassbinder: The Life And Work Of A Provocative Genius and The Anarchy of the Imagination.

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Re: The Best Books About Film

#875 Post by Zaki » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:10 pm

Indiana University Press holds a "Back to School Sale" (40%-60% off; Enter code SCHOOL) until September 15. You might want to look at their Cinema Studies section: http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/index.php?cPath=6043" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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