Thursday, April 06, 2006

Cinema Reading

When my sister and I were kids, we were book-hounds, and my parents, after the food and rent had been taken care of, would literally spend every last rupee on books. We took it for granted when we were growing up but one of these days I need to thank them—it was thoughtful and generous of them. So, all my life I’ve had a weakness for acquiring books.

In the last couple of months, I’ve been on a book-buying bender. I’m not sure if you are this way too, but I almost never read a non-fiction book sequentially from beginning to end. I’m much more inclined to dive in, or search for a specific name or topic, and end up reading a book in bits and pieces over the course of, literally, years.

And years it will take me to get through these recent acquisitions:

  • The recently released American Movie Critics: An Anthology From The Silents Until Now, edited by Phillip Lopate. There is a round-up of reviews and links at Andy Horbal’s.

  • I know very little about film theory but reading Zach and Matt has got me curious to learn more. I picked up the following: a tome of key articles in the field, Film Theory And Criticism: Introductory Readings, edited by Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen; two books by Robert Ray, The Avant-Garde Finds Andy Hardy, and How A Film Theory Got Lost, And Other Mysteries In Cultural Studies; Christian Keathley’s Cinephilia And History, Or The Wind In The Trees; and Francesco Cassatti’s Theories Of Cinema 1945-1995. I’ll be sipping this huge and heady cocktail for ages.

  • Two books, one written by David Bordwell (Figures Traced In Light) and the other co-edited by him (Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies).

  • Peter Bogdanovich’s book-length interview, This Is Orson Welles.

  • Alexander Nemerov on Val Lewton’s films.

  • Wallflower Press has put out a large number of cinema book titles recently. They run two series that I’m familiar with: (1) “Director’s Cuts,” books devoted to filmmakers—I have their Malick, Kieslowski and Lynch studies, and (2) “Short Cuts”: I picked up the slim but solid volumes on teen movies, mise-en-scène and early Soviet cinema.

  • Nathaniel Dorsky’s 50-page lecture-in-book-form Devotional Cinema.

  • Robert Kolker’s The Altering Eye, now alas out of print but available in its entirety on-line. A wide-ranging, eminently readable and meaty book on world cinema, written in 1983.

  • Gilberto Perez’s amazing The Material Ghost, reviewed here by Adrian Martin.

And now, over to you: movie books you’ve been reading, or have acquired recently, or are tempted to acquire?


Blogger girish said...

While googling Robert Ray, I found this interesting academic article on DVD's by Nick Rombes.

April 06, 2006 4:15 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Moistworks might just be the best darn music-blog out there.

April 06, 2006 4:20 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Mubarak points to some Osamu Tezuka on YouTube.

April 06, 2006 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Girish, my friend, you are consistently raising the bar for blogging. Another intriguing post! Depending on the book, I sometimes take the dive-in, here-and-there approach as well (unless the non-fiction book has a cumulative narrative). I'm doing that right now with the Lopate book you mentioned, which I picked up last week (thankfully at a small discount, cuz it's big and pricey), and am enjoying it immensely. I'm really amazed at how uniquely and deftly Manny Farber describes scenes in movies, and some of the pieces by early 20th century critics are very interesting.

I'm not much of a reader of film theory (though I got a good, sustained taste of it in college), but I do like general academic studies of filmmakers. For example, I recently picked up Seymour Chatman's brilliant study of Antonioni, titled Antonioni: Or the Surface of the World, which came out about 20 years ago. It analyzes his major works more thoroughly than anything I've read. I also got Chatman's very recent illustrated survey of Antonioni's films, simply titled Michelangelo Antonioni (tons of great photos in that one). Oh, and I got Peter Brunette's book on Wong Kar-Wai; it's part of the Contemporary Film Directors series published by U of Wisconsin Press.

But at the moment I'm really treasuing another U of Wisconsin book, A History of the French New Wave Cinema by Richard Neupert. I'm reading that one piecemeal as well, and I think it's a fantastic study of the movement and its key directors; it's a tad dry, but overall it's good stuff.

April 06, 2006 6:25 PM  
Blogger Sachin G. said...

A few years ago I started getting into film books. But for some reason, I gave up on that genre. And then last november, I came across 'Down and Dirty Pictures' by Peter Biskind. I was instantly hooked onto that book. Apparently Tarantino called that book 'dope' because he could not put it down. I read the first 80 pages in one go. I did cheat a little bit and jumped to a few sections where I could not wait to get to. Eventually I was back in sequence and finished it all, page by page in under a week. I needed to find more such books and decided to try out Biskind's earlier book 'Easy Riders, Raging Bulls' but didn't like it as much as Down and Dirty Pictures.

Now I just need to find a book which talks about foreign cinema with the same passion and insight as Biskind's book. Still searching....

April 06, 2006 7:15 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

I like Sidney Lumet's book Making Movies, and Spike Lee's book on the making of Malcolm X. I haven't read many books on movies lately, though--even the Agee I've bought has just been tucked into the bookcase, and Censored Hollywood as well, though I'd found it very entertaining.

April 06, 2006 7:24 PM  
Blogger David Lowery said...

Biskind's books are indeed a lot of fun to read, but they're a bit trashy, and left me with a bad aftertaste. They're informative, but I have a feeling they shouldn't necessarily be trusted as an accurate account of their subjects.

April 06, 2006 7:33 PM  
Blogger Sachin G. said...

Girish, thanks for the link to the online version of The Altering Eye. It is a very interesting read..

April 06, 2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey, Michael, you've got some good suggestions there that I've never heard of. Like the Chatman book on Antonioni (I think I have books on him by Brunette and one Arrowsmith). I hadn't heard of the Neupert book either; shall order it--I'm a big (sentimental) sucker for French New Wave cinema. It got me into world cinema and the whole cinephilia thing. Do you know James Monaco's 1976 book on the French New Wave? It's the single best book I've encountered on the subject (so far). It used to be out of print but I heard it came back in a reprint.
I've also been dipping into the Tom Milne-edited "Godard On Godard," which is fun. The closest thing to a JLG blog you'll find.

Sachin--Hope you're well, and I hope the Great White North is starting to get springy right about now. I'm glad you liked the Kolker.

Tuwa--I remember the Lumet being a nice, breezy, informative read.

David--I've only dipped into the Biskind myself and got the same feeling. I think there might've been a movie version too...

April 06, 2006 8:45 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Oh Lord. You mean I gotta read books as well as blogs?!!! Sheesh. Well, since Lopate is going to be in the Bay Area this coming week I'm going to be buying his book to have him sign it. Then next week he and Dave Thomson are going to have a little conversation.

April 06, 2006 8:51 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

I forgot to post earlier: yes, Moistworks is amazing.

You find the best links, too.

April 06, 2006 9:25 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Maya--Maybe you'll get a chance to interview one of those guys for your blog. I've enjoyed the other interviews you've done.

Tuwa--Thanks for mentioning. I've wondered sometimes if those links I post are ever of any use or interest to anyone else!

April 06, 2006 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

The last serious film book I read was Donald Richie's newest on Japanese Cinema. I've been depending on the public library for most of my reading lately. (Miami is OK but Denver is better.) I also read a couple of book by Jonathan Rosenbaum. I use to be somewhat acquanted with Lopate, and saw him in NYC and Telluride. I have a copy of his novel The Rug Merchant.

April 06, 2006 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Michael, two or three years ago I gave a paper on a "Contemporary European Cinema" panel that was chaired by Richard Neupert. I was talking about Bruno Dumont; he gave a paper on Agnes Varda. He seemed to be a really nice guy and is probably a fantastic teacher.

My next film read will likely be A Talent for Trouble: The Life of Hollywood's Most Acclaimed Director, William Wyler. I've queued up all of his films that are available on DVD and plan to spend most of May watching them and reading his biography.

Did anyone else read Brad Stevens' book during the Ferrara blog-a-thon? I was totally frustrated by that book but ended up reading about 75% of it.

April 06, 2006 11:18 PM  
Blogger That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

Instead of all that theory, I'd suggest instead Peter Bogdanovich's two companion books on golden era Hollywood actors and directors. By the way, you're going to love his Welles book. Also, I just finished George Stevens, Jr.'s collection of AFI seminar interviews, CONVERSATION WITH FILMMAKERS OF HOLLYWOOD'S GOLDEN AGE. A doorstopper of a book, but highly recommended. And McGilligan's BACKSTORY 4 is out in paperback, interesting interviews with current screenwriters, from Walter Hill and John Milius to Lawrence Kasdan.

April 06, 2006 11:59 PM  
Blogger andyhorbal said...

If you're interested in the Lopate book, also check out this interview and this review by James Marcus.

April 07, 2006 12:03 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Darren, that's pretty cool that you did a panel with Neupert. His work is very good. Before his main book on the New Wave -- and Girish you might find this interesting if you decide to buy his book -- he translated a brief study of by Michel Marie called The French New Wave: An Artistic School, which was publised by Blackwell. It's a nice companion to Neupert's book in that it's basically an introduction to the movement. Not an analysis of films, but an analysis of the context and the process -- for example, how much New Wave films cost, how many tickets they sold, etc., while the main thesis of the book centers on specifically defining the artistic elements of the New Wave. By contrast, Neupert's book primarily looks at directors (though I should say that it does have one drawback in that Neupert spends a lot of time summarizing film plots -- still, overall the book defines the style and the movement of the New Wave). I've been meaning for the longest time to post about Marie's short book; perhaps I'll get aroung to it relatively soon (I hope).

And, Girish, Chatman's study of Antonioni is really remarkable. I've never read Monaco's book, but I flipped through once in a Portland bookshop, and if it's been reprinted I think I owe it to myself to track down a copy. I'd be interested in seeing how it compares with Marie's and Neupert's books.

And that Godard on Godard is good stuff.

April 07, 2006 12:20 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

So many books I'd like to read! What is better? To buy books or to watch the films they talk about? Tough choice.
I only read on the subway so I don't read much. At the moment I'm reading several porte-manteau compilations at the same time.

"André Bazin. Le cinéma français de la Libération à la Nouvelle Vague". Cahiers editions.
A complement to the digest "What is Cinema?", on french cinema between WW2 and the New Wave.

"Critique et Cinephilie" Cahiers editions. A retrospective of essays by the famous Cahiers critics (Bazin, Daney, Jousse, Narboni, Rivette, Rohmer, Skorecki, Truffaut, Moullet, Labarthe, Biette...) on the status of criticism (political/aesthetics controversies) and the evolution of cinephilia.

"L'état du monde du cinéma" Cahiers editions. Another compilation of essays on the new world cinema of the 80-90ies (Kiarostami, HHH, Wong, Kitano, Chahine, Cissé, Guerman...)

"TRAFIC n°50 : Qu'est-ce que le cinema?" special issue of summer 2004, gathering world critics and filmmakers around Bazin's question "What is cinema?".

All these are in french though, do they get translated in english? if not they should!
I didn't beguin the last 2 yet, but i'm almost through the first 2, which are highly recommended!

April 07, 2006 2:12 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

Girish, I have every intention of interviewing both Thomson and Lapote about Angie. For the blogathon, of course!!

April 07, 2006 2:16 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

Darren--I read a couple of chapters of the Brad Stevens book, and I liked what I read, although within a particular film/chapter, the material might have been organized for better flow. It jumped around wildly. I'd be curious to know what frustrated you about the book.

Michael--I've been acquiring French New Wave critical works for some time now. Yes, the Marie book is interesting though I got it relatively recently and not much of it turned out to be new to me. Also, re: individual directors, I've been enjoying the Manchester University Press volumes on Godard, Truffaut, and Chabrol (and Bresson). The Farocki/Silverman book "Speaking About Godard" is also good, if heady. But the Monaco book really speaks to me, perhaps because I read it early (in my teens) at a formative age.

Harry--"What is better? To buy books or to watch the films they talk about?" Both! :-)
I find it very limiting to think/learn about films simply by listening to myself. :-)
I think reading is crucial. The French books you mention are unfortunately not available here, as far as I know.

TLRHB--I enjoy those Bogdanovich books. The books you mentioned are the kind of writing I've been reading for most of my movie-loving days. But I've lately been attracted to the possibilities of applying work from the academic literature (not sure what that is!..have to learn about it first...) to the more "popular"/journalistic/blog discourse about movies. Being an academic myself (not in film or even the humanities), I know the huge gulf that exists (sometimes needlessly!) between the two worlds. There is useful work being done in both worlds, and ultimately our aim is to deepen our understanding of cinema, and whatever helps us do that is good...

April 07, 2006 8:50 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Michael has a Goldfrapp post, including mp3's.

April 07, 2006 8:55 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Jim Tata on Susan Sontag.

April 07, 2006 8:56 AM  
Blogger andyhorbal said...

I just started Jonathan Rosenbaum's Placing Movies. It's exactly the sort of introspective consideration of American film criticism that I've been looking for.

April 07, 2006 10:12 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Andy, coincidentally, I was just reading his 10-page essay on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in that book the other day.
I love how he claims about the opening, pre-credit song sequence: "As awesome a demonstration of kino-fist strategies as anything in POTEMKIN." Bless his heart.

April 07, 2006 10:20 AM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Ah, thanks for the tip about the Manchester UP film series books -- I think I'll have to give them a read. And, based on your comments, I really think I ought to seek out the Monaco book. And thanks for the link as well :-)

April 07, 2006 1:21 PM  
Blogger aaron w graham said...

I've just finished "Blake Edwards", by Peter Lehman and William Luhr, which came out in the early 1980s. I haven't read their second tome on the filmmaker, but I still feel that there's been a real lack of writing devoted to his career. A shame.

Also, the brief "Allan Dwan: The Last Pioneer", by Peter Bogdanovich. PB's interview with Dwan appears in "Who the Devil Made It", so there was only a brief essay on Dwan that I hadn't read before.

April 07, 2006 1:29 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Michael, It's always a pleasure to read and link to the latest at Culturespace!

Aaron, Ashamed at say I haven't seen a Blake Edwards film since I was a kid. I've been meaning to delve in.
For all you Edwards fans: are the "popular" films (e.g. the Pink Panthers) also the (big word here) "artistically successful" films? I remember Sarris putting THE GREAT RACE near the top of his list for 1965, above REPULSION! And I remember ejecting out of THE PARTY after a few minutes--the ghoulish Indian caricatures were hard to stomach. Though I'll gladly return to it if there are (ample) cinematic rewards to counterweigh them!

April 07, 2006 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

I like Perez quite a bit, and Nick's work is also quite good. I have some methodolgical beefs with the post-theory crowd, in part because I think they have a tendency to reductively portray most psychoanalytic film theory without really offering evidence for their dismissal of it. Bordwell, in particular, has a habit of making such dismissive claims.

April 07, 2006 2:40 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ah yes, Chuck. I've heard that.
And Michael Sicinski describes them a bit on this comment thread at Filmbrain's.

April 07, 2006 2:45 PM  
Anonymous Filmbrain said...

I'll second (or third) Tuwa's recommendation of the Lumet book. Small, simple, but oh so informative (and a fun read).

Thanks for the link to the Kolker book - major find! I'd also recommend his Cinema of Loneliness: Penn, Stone, Kubrick, Scorsese, Spielberg, Altman.

In the Bordwell article I wrote about, he mentioned Dwight MacDonald as being one of his favorite film writers. Based on that, I ordered (from Amazon's marketplace) the OOP Dwight MacDonald on Movies. I haven't read much, but the few essays I've dipped into are pretty darn good.

Somebody recently surprised me with a gift of the new Marshall Fine Cassavetes bio, which will be coming on vacation with me next week.

April 07, 2006 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Hillis said...

Through Amazon, I just bought a brand new 2006 paperback copy of Amos Vogel's Film as Subversive Art, which had been out of print since 1987. I've heard nothing but praise for it, with words like "essential" thrown about in conversation.

April 07, 2006 5:52 PM  
Anonymous ratzkywatzky said...

Film As A Subversive Art--I was just going to say that!
Bordwell's Ozu book is great, except when he gets distracted by tearing apart Richie's Ozu book.
James Harvey's Romantic Comedies in Hollywood from Lubitsch to Sturges, and Movie Love in the Fifties are both essential. Hoberman and Rosenbaum's Midnight Movies is great, too.

April 07, 2006 6:03 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Filmbrain, I like the Kolker "loneliness" book too, and the one he did on Wenders' films. Just followed suit and ordered that Dwight Macdonald book on Amazon used.

Aaron and Ratzky--The Amos Vogel book is amazing. I did a small post on it a while back.

April 07, 2006 6:10 PM  
Anonymous Aaron Hillis said...

It was you!

As I was buying it, I vaguely remembered that I had also read about on somebody's blog. Mystery solved, though I'll admit I never lost sleep over that one...

(To answer your private question publicly, the Tribeca pre-fest screenings haven't been very memorable this first week. But, 5 films down, 164 to go.)

April 07, 2006 6:24 PM  
Blogger Zach Campbell said...

Recent film books read--Life to Those Shadows (Noel Burch) and War and Cinema (Paul Virilio).

Film books I want to get (soon) include Jack Hunter's Eros in Hell: Sex, Blood, and Madness in Japanese Cinema; Lotte Eisner's The Haunted Screen; the Elsaesser-edited Harun Farocki book.

And yes, Film as a Subversive Art is an excellent book--a must-have for any film person!

April 07, 2006 6:35 PM  
Blogger phyrephox said...

I second the recommendation of War and Cinema, it is a quick, fun read, somewhere between theory and history, and I come back to it all the time.

April 07, 2006 6:43 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Zach and Daniel--Had never even heard of War And Cinema. Hope it's not too opaque for a theory-innocent like me. And yes, the Lotte Eisner's Haunted Screen is wonderful, as is her book on Lang (although Tom Gunning's on Lang sets a whole new and formidable standard for book-length auteur studies.)

April 07, 2006 6:55 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Chuck on Bordwell and Filmbrain's post.

April 07, 2006 7:32 PM  
Blogger Zach Campbell said...

Girish, I'm not a huge fan of Paul Virilio overall (not that I've read a whole lot) but War and Cinema seems to me to be relatively "grounded" in comparison to his other work--history & theory work in tandem and he keeps his focus tight.

April 07, 2006 8:10 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I just started reading Herzog's Of Walking in Ice and am hooked. Trying to space out the entries and let them percolate though, not reading too much per day. We'll see how long that lasts.

April 07, 2006 8:40 PM  
Blogger That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

Girish, check out a very offbeat noir suspense thriller that Blake Edwards directed called EXPERIMENT IN TERROR. Ross Martin, whom many will remember from the old WILD WILD WEST American TV series in the '60s, makes for a memorable asthmatic villain stalking Lee Remick. And I swear that Don Siegel ripped off the great pullaway shot in DIRTY HARRY from the final scene of this film. A good, long neglected B picture from the early '60s that you would never guess Edwards would do. And I still love SOB.
Also, all this book talk inspired me to hit the library and check out Weddle's book on Sam Peckinpah, which I've long been meaning to read.

April 07, 2006 8:52 PM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

I'm still juggling Trinh's Woman, Native, Other, Cinema Interval and the Turim book on Nagisa Oshima. I need to get more organized, like with another Film-Related Reading Challenge from Darren which, according to my notes, happened in 2001. (Boy, did time fly!) :)

Zach's comment just reminded me that I've been meaning to get Thomas Elsaesser's Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative. So far, I've really learned a lot from his books on Harun Farocki and R.W. Fassbinder. His analysis are always integrated with historical and creative context.

I'm also still eyeing that Mrinal Sen Montage: Life, Politics, Cinema book, and have also been looking for Sumita S. Chakravarty's book on Sen, The Enemy Within. About four years ago, I went to an open house at the New School (my sister was considering getting an MA there or at NYU at the time), and Prof. Chakravarty was the spokesperson for the Film Department. She spoke lovingly about how she grew up in Calcutta idolizing Satyajit Ray and how her career was shaped by this early passion for Bengali cinema... Heck, at the end of it, I wanted to enroll! :)

April 07, 2006 9:02 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Zach, Brian, TLRHB--Thanks so much for your thoughts and recommendations.
I'll have to cue up some Blake Edwards before too long.

Acquarello--I don't have any books on Mrinal Sen even though he is, after Ray, my favorite Indian filmmaker. It's been so long since I've seen his films (as a teenager in India) that I feel like I should I see them again before reading about them in detail. On my Indian trip next year, I'll ask my parents to track down some tapes or DVD's for me. Speaking of reading, I'm sending you a package in the mail today; rest assured, it'll keep you busy for a little bit!

April 08, 2006 8:57 AM  
Blogger girish said...

More from Doug on the Dardenne screenings in Toronto.

April 08, 2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Lisa Rosman on Neko Case.

April 08, 2006 9:01 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Andy Horbal on Tsotsi and Rick Altman.

April 08, 2006 9:03 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Adam Hartzell on Michel Brault at Brian's.

April 08, 2006 9:05 AM  
Blogger girish said...

I knew I shouldn't have done this post. Returned to my local indie bookstore this morning and left with another bag of books under my arm. This time: Edgar Morin's The Cinema, or The Imaginary Man, from 1956; Laura Mulvey's Death 24x a Second; Thomas Elsaesser's European Cinema: Face To Face With Hollywood; Trinh T. Minh-ha's The Digital Film Event; Susan Felleman's Art In The Cinematic Imagination (intersection of art history and cinema); Sight & Sound Sci-Fi/Horror Reader; Paul Arthur's history of the US avant-garde since 1965. I think that's quite enough for now.

April 08, 2006 6:16 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Your bookstore loves you, Girish.

April 08, 2006 7:10 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Tuwa, I think I could have saved a lot of money by buying these on Amazon, but that local bookstore is a cool little place, and I want to support those folks every chance I get.
Not to mention there's instant gratification...

April 08, 2006 7:14 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Someone mentioned Blake Edwards?

Been looking at some of his movies lately. Darling Lili's surprisingly good (the dogfight sequences are especially graceful), but Julie Andrews doing the bump and grind is funny but not, I think, in the way Edwards intended.

Wrote on The Return of the Pink Panther and The Pink Panther Strikes Again here

Some thoughts on The Revenge of the Pink Panther

And throw in the Panther remake, just for contrast.

April 09, 2006 3:57 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Acquarello, I hadn't thought about that Film Book Challenge in years. Ah, the good old days of the Home Theater Forum, when an almost unrecognizable version of myself would create threads with titles like, "Need a Tarkovsky Primer." Long Pauses is a direct result of threads like those.

I stopped by our local used book store yesterday and picked up a couple novels for my trip later this week -- Richard Ford's Independence Day and Philip Roth's The Counterlife. While I was there, I also found a thick collection of Bazin's writing on Renoir and a copy of Trinh T. Minh-ha's Cinema-Interval. Now there's an idea: anyone up for a Trinh-a-thon? ;)

April 09, 2006 9:50 AM  
Blogger girish said...

I haven't seen any of Trinh's films, but the book I bought looked fascinating, and Acquarello had told me a bit about her, so that piqued my interest. At some point in the future, it might be be fun to do an avant-garde/experimental film blog-a-thon of assorted films/directors.

Darren, the Bazin book on Renoir is a killer. I read it last year when I revisited Renoir's mid-50s "theater-as-life-as-theater" trilogy (Golden Coach, French Can-Can, Elena And Her Men). Over the years, I think I've seen all of Renoir available on tape or DVD, but this summer I feel like doing them all over again.

April 09, 2006 11:00 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Noel--Thanks for the (timely) links.

April 09, 2006 11:05 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Dennis Cozzalio on V For Vendetta and on David Lowery's response to it.

April 09, 2006 11:08 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

Just saw Ray Harryhausen last night at the San Rafael Film Center and picked up _The Art of Ray Harryhausen_; maybe not so big on film theory but great for pictures!!

April 09, 2006 12:23 PM  
Blogger David Lowery said...

I saw Ray Harryhausen last week in Dallas and had to resist the urge to buy that was a real beauty.

April 09, 2006 4:08 PM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

Hey, if you all ever decide to do an AG or Trinh blog-a-thon, count me in! I've been meaning to buckle down and write about Shoot for the Contents. :)

April 09, 2006 7:59 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Wow, Acquarello's first one--that's reason enough to do an avant-garde blog-a-thon! :-)

April 09, 2006 8:50 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I'd love to be a part of an Avant-Garde Blog-a-thon of some sort. Anything from a very general A-G-a-thon to a mass focus on a particular (relatively available) film would be fascinating.

April 09, 2006 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

If there was to be an avant-garde b.a.t., I would like to first have clear boundries defining what could be considered. Are we talking about what were called "underground films" in my youth?

April 10, 2006 12:20 AM  
Blogger Campaspe said...

Girish, I am late to the party as usual. I love film books, but I am like Little Round-Headed Boy in that it's mostly history and biographies. A few critical collections, but almost no film theory. (Which reminds me of an old grudge--I think my first boyfriend nicked my Agee on Film when he moved out.) That's an undeniable gap in my knowledge, but having spent my college years imbibing lit theory to the point of indigestion I was always little inclined to fill it in. If you find a theorist who is particularly enjoyable, I hope you post about her/him. Anyway, weekend before last I re-read "City of Nets," still my favorite book on film. The episode of David O. Selznick, Dimitri Tiomkin and the "shtump" music for "Duel in the Sun" makes me howl with laughter every time. The last movie book I bought was "Film Crazy: Interviews with Hollywood Legends" by Patrick McGilligan. It's Q&A format and full of interesting stuff, but McGilligan doesn't have a fascinating voice in his own right, as does Bogdanovich.

April 10, 2006 7:50 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Greetings, Campaspe--Thanks for your suggestions. I agree about Bogdanovich and McGilligan. I've never read City Of Nets; thank you for recommending it.

Brian & Peter--I think I'll do an announcement post about an avant-garde blog-a-thon in a week or two. I'm personally a little bit exhausted from running in four straight blog-a-thons, and was thinking of a date in the not-immediate future, possibly early-to-mid July. That would also give people enough time to either hunt down avant-garde films on DVD/tape and/or catch experimental screenings in their city and possibly write about them.

Peter--Perhaps we can hash out the exact boundaries when I do my post. My own preference would be to keep the definitions as broad and inclusive as possible.

April 10, 2006 8:36 AM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

I'm late as well!

Not that I have much to offer - I don't read as much film-related books as I'd like to, but one that I read not too long ago that hasn't been mentioned yet is David E. James' Allegories of Cinema: American Film in the Sixties, which concentrates on the underground and political film movements of the time. It proved to be extremely useful in easing me into Warhol's films, which I was getting into at the time.

Oh, and an avant-garde blog-a-thon would be pretty fantastic. My life revolves around my local film festival around mid-July, but I'm sure I can work around it to participate.

April 10, 2006 8:51 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

FYI, the New York Video Festival is July 26-31 and that usually has some avant-garde content (like Julie Talen's multi-channel Pretend, Yvonne Rainer's After Many a Summer Dies the Swan: Hybrid, and Matthew Barney's disciple, Chris Larson's short films a few years back). How about something that coincides with/near that long weekend?

April 10, 2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger girish said...

In that case, (thinking out loud here), perhaps Wednesday, August 2, might be a possible date? It would allow people who attend the festival to write about the films there if they wanted to.

April 10, 2006 11:16 AM  
Blogger acquarello said...

Sounds like a plan, I just hope that NYVF doesn't pull that art porn stuff on us again this year or this could make for an interesting entry. 8 O

April 10, 2006 12:17 PM  

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