Monday, June 25, 2007

James Naremore

For a very long time, my film reading was limited to journalistic writing, the kind exemplified by last year’s American Movie Critics anthology edited by Phillip Lopate. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve belatedly come to realize and truly appreciate the value of academic writing on movies, especially the work of auteurist-sympathetic cinephiles who work in academia. James Naremore is a great example. I’ve read quite a bit of Naremore over the last few months, and thought I’d draw up a little guide of reading recommendations from a range of his work.

Three terrific books: (1) The Magic World of Orson Welles (1978/1989); (2) Acting in the Cinema (1988); and (3) More Than Night: Film Noir in its Contexts (1998). I'm looking forward to his new one, On Kubrick (BFI), which comes out next week.

A few good pieces worth seeking out:

(1) “Authorship and the Cultural Politics of Film Criticism” (Film Quarterly, Autumn 1990): Auteurism had been out of favor in academia since the high theory days of the 70s, but this essay takes an early step in cautiously reclaiming it, not ahistorically, but by acknowledging the intervening developments in film studies. It also takes passages from two reviews Godard wrote in the 50s (of Sirk’s A Time to Live and a Time to Die and Fuller’s Forty Guns) and analyzes them to illustrate Godard’s mixing of modes (romantic, modernist, avant-gardist and proto-postmodernist).

(2) “An ABC of Reading Andrew Sarris” (from Citizen Sarris, 2001, ed. Emanuel Levy): A light, charming autobiographical piece, perhaps modeled on Peter Wollen’s “An Alphabet of Cinema,” in which Naremore lists the letters of the alphabet A through Z, assigning each letter to something he associates with Sarris (e.g. “A” for auteurism, “B” for Bazin, “J” for Johnny Guitar, “O” for Max Ophuls, “R” for Red Line 7000, “V” for Josef von Sternberg, etc.)

(3) “Six Artistic Cultures” (written with Patrick Brantlinger, an introduction to the anthology they edited, Modernity and Mass Culture, 1991). A cultural typology, drawing from extensive historical study, detailing six kinds of cultures: high art, modernist art, avant-garde art, folk art, popular art and mass art. Broad in scope and erudite.

(4) “The Future of Academic Film Study” (in Movie Mutations, 2003). A conversation with Adrian Martin. I’ve included an excerpt below.

Also: available on-line are an interview with Naremore at Senses of Cinema; an excerpt on Marlene Dietrich from his book Acting in the Cinema; and the essay “The Death and Rebirth of Rhetoric,” also at Senses.

Along with Jonathan Rosenbaum, Naremore did the DVD commentary for the Corinth version of Welles’s Mr. Arkadin. It’s one of the best commentary tracks I’ve heard. He also edits the University of Illinois Press series of books on contemporary filmmakers, which has produced volumes on Abel Ferrara (by Nicole Brenez) and Abbas Kiarostami (by Jonathan Rosenbaum and Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa).

* * *

Truth be told, when I come upon writings on film by an English Lit prof, occasionally a slight prejudice kicks in. Perhaps I’ve seen too many such writings foreground the ‘literary’ elements of film (plot and dialogue, a novelistic approach to ‘rich’ character development) at the expense of taking hold, with both hands, of the full audiovisual complex of cinema, treating, as V. F. Perkins put it, “film as film.”

When I first encountered it, Naremore’s writing gave me a bracing corrective to this stereotype. In his Movie Mutations letters, Naremore speaks about his career as a palimpsest, each new stage of evolution overlaying upon previous influences and interests. He started out as a scholar of English literary modernism, and through the years fell successively under the influence of various intellectual movements: (1) New Criticism (which looked long and hard “at the art object and its inner workings” while rejecting extra-textual sources like biography or sociology); (2) the related figure of F.R. Leavis (a key influence on Robin Wood) and his group at Scrutiny; (3) auteurism, both its origins in France and the version that traveled to America via Andrew Sarris; (4) 70’s radical theory in the journal Screen, reflecting the three-pronged theoretical interventions of Sausserian linguistics, Althusserian Marxism, and Lacanian psychoanalysis; and (5) in the 80’s, the cultural studies movement.

But contrary to appearances, this was not a career made upon riding the waves of academic fad and fashion. The books and essays are impressive for the way in which they show how these developments and influences were absorbed and internalized to provide a broad range of tools with which to approach cinema, while also not forgetting about the history of film studies development, finding ways to put this history to work, instead of pretending it never happened.

* * *

A Naremore excerpt from the Movie Mutations letter exchange:

From the 19th century onward, liberally educated people from a variety of backgrounds have had at least four ways of responding to the onward march of industrial capitalism and state-supported ideology: they can become bourgeois (like most college professors), they can become anarchists (which means dropping out and behaving badly, like Rimbaud, Tzara and the Sex Pistols), they can become aesthetes (like Baudelaire, Wilde, Joyce, Woolf, and all the great modernists), or they can become revolutionary political activists (like Mother Jones, Lenin, Fanon and Malcolm X). One of the best dramatic representations of these alternatives is Tom Stoppard’s very funny play, Travesties, which imagines a crazy encounter between Tzara, Joyce, Lenin and an ordinary bourgeois in Zurich during World War I. For my own part, I often feel as if my personal subjectivity were split among the four positions. At certain points in my history, some of my selves can form alliances, but at other points, which are the true moments of crisis, the bourgeois, the anarchist, and the aesthete tend to get pushed aside by the activist. Where modern society in general is considered, one of the major crisis periods for artists and intellectuals was the 30s. Another was the late 60s, a period that left its mark on radical film theory in the 70s. As I write this response to you [September 2002], American capitalism appears to be pushing the world ever closer to war, and the contradictions in the system are once again becoming apparent. Perhaps a new crisis will develop, in which case it will become increasingly difficult for any of us to maintain a balance between cinephilia and social action.

* * *

A few links:

-- Order of the Exile, the website devoted to Jacques Rivette, is growing fast, adding good new material. More than reason enough to revisit some video-available Rivettes.

-- Zach has new posts on "The Tribalism of Cinephilia" (which includes another excerpt from the Martin-Naremore Movie Mutations letters) and on violence and film form.

-- Andy Rector posts links to Chris Marker's Rememberance of Things to Come, now viewable online.

-- Todd Haynes's Superstar can also be viewed online, on Google Video. (Via The Listening Ear.)

-- David Bordwell on Japanese action cinema of the 20s and 30s.

-- Craig Keller at Cinemasparagus on The Sopranos.


Blogger girish said...

Riley Puckett on Michael Moore's Sicko:

"If we accept the film’s logic, then why should we stop with health care? Are there other aspects of life that would be better off out of the hands of big capital and as part of the commons? In a sense, the same thing is true of An Inconvenient Truth. The tame liberal reforms the latter film advocates may be better than nothing, but if we were take the problem of climate change as seriously as the film tells us we should, it would mean a seismic shift away from the neo-liberal economics our country is deeply entrenched in toward something that has enough of a whiff of socialism that even the new improved Al Gore would never be heard to openly advocate. Like An Inconvenient Truth, Moore’s film tries to turn what could be a political issue into a human issue but it seems to me more direct about the political consequences. If you are convinced by Sicko, you cannot walk out feeling like we just need health care reform."

June 25, 2007 10:52 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I've been looking forward to the Naremore book on Kubrick ever since Dr. Mabuse's Kaleido-Scope mentioned it in a tantalizing Kubrick post.

June 25, 2007 11:18 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Ah yes, Daniel. Jason, who did that post, is himself the author of the book The Kubrick Facade: Faces and Voices in the Films of Stanley Kubrick.

I've read a chapter of Naremore's Kubrick book that was published in Film Quarterly. It looks at his films as an example of the "aesthetics of the grotesque."

June 25, 2007 11:43 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Drat, I don't get TCM, but they're doing some Ida Lupino and Edgar G. Ulmer this week. If someone is recording either Outrage or Hard, Fast & Beautiful (both by Lupino) and/or either of the two Ulmers (Jive Junction and Girls in Chain), I'd love to get a copy. Perhaps we could work out a trade? I have a lot of old TCM-taped stuff...

June 25, 2007 1:56 PM  
Blogger Ted Pigeon said...

I have heard of Naremore, but I don't recall reading anything of his. I am printing the article in Film Quarterly about Authorship, Cultural Politics and FIlm Criticism as we speak. It looks fascinating, despite my lack of knowledge on anything regarding Godard. Though it seems like Naremore is quite an interesting film writer, to me, because of his literary background coupled with his seeming embrace of cinema as a fundamentally different medium. As someone who is very interested in literary analytic methods and how they are often imposed on cinema, I will try to read more of and about Naremore.

I just watched Eyes Wide Shut again recently, so this new book of Naremore's is of particular interest to me. I have long-defended Kubrick's last film as a masterpiece, but each time I see it I am both enriched and perplexed. It's a tough film to get around from an analytical standpoint.

June 25, 2007 2:20 PM  
Blogger Riley Puckett said...


i know only naremore's excellent "more than night," but you've made me want to check out more!

thanks for directing people to my post on "sicko."

and just a follow up on your post on pedro costa: it's confirmed that anthology film archives (in nyc) will be showing the retrospective in august. the schedule can now be found online. good news for those of us on the east coast.

June 25, 2007 2:35 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Ted and Riley.

Ted, I hope you enjoy the essay and perhaps you'll post some thoughts about it. And like you, I'm a huge admirer of Eyes Wide Shut.

Riley, I just noticed the Pedro Costa schedule at the Anthology site.

June 25, 2007 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Thanks for posting that quote from Movie Mutations, which is really intriguing to me, especially this bit. "At certain points in my history, some of my selves can form alliances, but at other points, which are the true moments of crisis, the bourgeois, the anarchist, and the aesthete tend to get pushed aside by the activist."

Could Naremore's work be categorized out among these different selves, or is each work a sort of combination of all four? I'm interested where a good starting point might be for me, because anarchists and activists interest me more than bourgeous aesthetes :-)

I can't say I agree with the parsing of these categories - Wilde was an anarchist after all, there probably have been more anarchist political activists throughout history than there have been bad-boy drop-outs, and don't get me started on the Sex Pistols! But if they personally work for Naremore, I'll stop myself short of splitting ideological hairs. :-)

June 25, 2007 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

I'm not really an auteurist cinephile, but I do admire Naremore's works and often crib from him for many of my lectures. He's a great writer and clearly loves his subject. His work on Welles is the backbone of my lecture on Citizen Kane.

June 25, 2007 11:38 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Chuck and Andrew!

"Could Naremore's work be categorized out among these different selves, or is each work a sort of combination of all four?"

Good question, Andrew.
I see the four components as blended, and hard to separate out among his works. More Than Night, the noir book, might perhaps be a good starting point because it spends a lot of time on historical antecedents and the intellectual movements that informed noir (e.g. French existentialism, literary modernism, surrealism). The Welles book concentrates on close readings/analyses of the films, as I suspect the Kubrick book might do.

June 26, 2007 12:09 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Dave Kehr has a post on TCMDB, the alternative to IMDB.

Also, in Dave's DVD column in the NYT today:

"Howard Hawks’s only film in CinemaScope [Land of the Pharaohs] has been hard to see in its original format. This transfer not only gets the framing right (I noticed, for the first time, that Hawks has placed a rectangle around the opening credits to establish the correct aspect ratio for the projectionist) but also restores a long-lost four-track stereo soundtrack.

It’s still not a great movie (it features Joan Collins; need I say more?), but it’s far from the disaster it has often been portrayed as. For Hawks, the epic form is not about the DeMille pageantry of dancing girls and muscled Nubian slaves. [...] Rather, in typical Hawks fashion, Topic A is the business of getting a dangerous job done: in this case the construction, under the Pharaoh Khufu (Jack Hawkins), of the Great Pyramid of Giza. (To capture its scope, Hawks allows himself one of the few showy shots in his career, a 360-degree pan around the construction site that embraces thousands of extras.)"

June 26, 2007 12:19 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

I don't agree; thought Land was a wonderful film, and Collins was excellent in it. But yes, it was a procedural, with a Grand Guignol end.

June 26, 2007 8:16 PM  
Blogger weepingsam said...

First - credit where due on the Superstar link - I found it at Talk to me Harry Winston a couple months ago.

Meanwhile, on the TCMDB - it might be fine for American films, but it's rather weak for foreign films. The ones I looked at seem to be listed only by the year they were released in the US, for example - that can be a bit confusing, especially since I couldn't find anything listing the original release date (wherever that might have occurred). I looked up Ozu as an example - Early Spring, say. The IMDB, whatever its flaws, seems to have it beat for foreign films. More films and more information, from a quick check.

June 26, 2007 9:59 PM  
Blogger Ryland Walker Knight said...

One of the many delights of going back to school has been exposing myself (and getting exposed) to more "academic" writings on film outside Senses of Cinema, the first glimpse I got of a different breed of film writing. When I sit back a second and think on the books I've read so far this year, as well as stray essays on JSTOR or in readers, it kind of boggles my mind. Granted, most of it has been the work of Stanley Cavell. But even now, in summer session, I'm finding time (kinda) to read more non-school-assigned books. A lot of them merely offer syntheses of thoughts I've carried in me for so long. To read such lucid, and smart, distillations is another of the delights of my return, as if I've been handed articulation tools I always wanted but never knew where to find. The great thing about going back to school to absorb this is I do not find myself simply cribbing notes or style ideas or hermeneutic tactics but rather using those texts as further instructors that only further refine my thoughts, and words.

Right now on my desk I've got:
_Film as Film_, VF Perkins
_Style and Meaning: Studies in the detailed analysis of film_, ed. John Gibbs and Douglas Pye
_The World Viewed_, Cavell
_Themes out of School_, Cavell
_Making Meaning_, Bordwell
_Against Interpretation_, Sontag
printouts of various articles by Donato Totaro and others from Offscreen regarding Deleuze and Tarkovsky and a bunch of others topics... as well as some essays (like the first Naremore you mentioned above, Girish) from JSTOR.

Plus, as ever, the 'sphere is generous and full of ideas. It seems I'm always learning of some new blog run by some intelligent writer I am willing to spend some time with.

All this is to say, "Thanks," I suppose, for your part and the ideas you proffer here, Girish. Your blog has been a staple of my online diet for some time now and it's only recently that I've felt comfortable enough in my (lack of) film history knowledge and my (still growing) writing skills to leave a silly comment here. Your posture is of an amateur but your writing sounds awful professional, and good. That is, smart and erudite and clear and generous and delighted by the knowledge you come across and are eager to share. I think that's the great thing this 'sphere has to offer: unique, informed and often-giddy perspectives. At least, those are the blogs (and the writers) I like -- the ones that feel alive.

June 26, 2007 10:38 PM  
Blogger Ted Pigeon said...

Good selection on Making Meaning, Ryan. It may very well be my favorite book on the cinema. But in reality it's about so much more than cinema. Enjoy!

June 26, 2007 11:14 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

I missed the broadcasts, I'm afraid. Outrage is terrific; the TCM promo on the Lupino retro shows this long panning shot that follows Mala Powers in and out of the crowd at a dance, but the shot I prefer follows that, showing Powers running away from the party. The way Lupino frames that shot, with Mala perched on the crest of one hill, and the party, toylike, perched on the other crest, is heartbreaking--in her mind, literally a paradise lost.

June 27, 2007 4:23 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

And Hard Fast and Beautiful is pretty good--the tennis sequences, and funny I'm just not happy with most put on the big screen--are really well done.

Her The Trouble With Angels is available on DVD. Light fluff, not consequential, but well done.

June 27, 2007 4:25 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, Noel, Sam, Ryland & Ted!

Sam ~ Thanks for linking to Tram's site; I had forgotten that's how you had discovered the Haynes film. I've sent that movie link to about a half dozen non-blogger fellow Haynes fans.

Noel ~ The only one I've seen in the bunch they showed last night is Hard, Fast and Beautiful, which I thought was quite good. I know The Bigamist and The Hitch-Hiker are on DVD, and I hope Outrage follows at some point.

Ryland & Ted ~ Perkins's book is flat-out amazing. I've requested and checked out the Gibbs/Pye Style and Meaning book so often from the library lately that I just broke down and bought the darn thing the other day. That book has some meaty single-film analyses. If you like those, you could check out an earlier marvelous collection from the same 'school', Movie Reader, ed. Ian Cameron, containing material from the 60s. I've read hardly any Cavell, just a few excerpts in readers, and have The World Viewed on my soon-to-get-to list.

I'm a pretty slow reader; I find I linger (some would say dawdle!) on a page for a long time. To reasonably absorb and remember substantive writing, it takes me a good, long while to get through a book...

June 27, 2007 6:42 AM  
Blogger girish said...

-- Michael Guillen interviews Richard Schickel
-- From Dan Sallitt's new post, "Donovan's Reef, or the Soft Underbelly of Auteurism":

""One sees the danger," said Andre Bazin of the fledgling politique des auteurs, "which is an aesthetic cult of personality." I thought of Bazin's warning as I revisited Donovan's Reef at MOMA last night. It's rather an amazing film, a John Ford home movie shot in Hawaii at Paramount's expense, a completely personal project that shows off Ford's effortless command of visual storytelling. It's also the distilled essence of all the bad taste that ever found its way into a Ford film."

June 27, 2007 7:21 AM  
Blogger Zach Campbell said...

I watched The Bigamist and The Hitch-Hiker last night; both quite interesting, though I wasn't really wowed by either one. (It was also the first time I watched a movie while it was broadcast on TV in ... who knows how long.) After watching those, plus Shield for Murder a few months ago, I'm thinking Edmund O'Brien is one of my new favorite minor stars of the era.

Perkins' book is an excellent one, a must-read for anyone interested in auteurism from a formal/analytical standpoint. An excellent corollary to it would be Noel Burch's Theory of Film Practice.

June 27, 2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Yes, let me second Zach's recommendation of Noel Burch's Theory of Film Practice. I've read all but the chapter on Renoir's Nana and since Nana is now part of the recently released Renoir box, I can return to the Burch to finish it up.

Speaking of Edmond O'Brien, one of his best roles might be in Rudolph Maté's D.O.A., which I saw again recently. A good and interesting film, an unpredictable melange of "strangenesses."

June 27, 2007 9:40 AM  
Blogger Ryland Walker Knight said...

I read rather slow, too. I just have a bad habit of accumulating books that I only half-read, or read in pieces, over time. Once during the semester I had about 12 books from the biblio (and had to read a shitload for class).

Cavell will definitely take time. I think _The World Viewed_ is a pretty good starting point, although we started with _The Claim of Reason_ in my seminar, which isn't about film at all. Really, his books are not strictly film books but rather what he calls "Philosophical Criticism". His prose is sometimes maddening but every chapter I read in _Cities of Words_ really knocked me out (the whole of _Pursuits of Happiness_ is amazing). I just bought a used copy of _Themes out of School_: I think you would really like the first chapter of it, the only chapter, really, about film, per se.

Anyways: Perkins is dope, it's true. I'll look into those other two recommendations from you and Zach.

June 27, 2007 11:21 AM  
Blogger acquarello said...

I Tivoed the Ida Lupino program, so I got to see the first two films "live" too (since Tivo switched channels to record). I think my favorite touch in The Bigamist was the play on reality when Harry and Phyllis first meet on a bus tour of Hollywood stars and the guide points out Edmund Gwenn's house. Gwenn appears in the film as the adoption agent who discovers Harry's double life.

June 27, 2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger Andy Rector said...

I haven't read Naremore's book ON KUBRICK but one of the better critics (often cited here) has said that Kubrick's films are the most difficult to write about and that Naremore's attempt is the best yet!

June 27, 2007 2:23 PM  
Anonymous greg said...

Re: Cavell, "Themes Out of School" is a pretty great collection of essays, many of which deal with film (On Makavejev, "North By Northwest" ((which is an excellent follow up/discussion with "Pursuits of Happiness")) and genre differences in TV and film to name a few). A running theme throughout this book, and much of his other work especially "Cities of Words" is what it means to consent to living in the world and with other people, and further a wonderful take on my most hated of attitudes, a sustained adolescence into adulthood. Cavell acknowledges the growth of adolescent attitude but importantly the rightful abandonment of it. This is one of my biggest pet peeves, people who still have this outlook on the world after the age of 16 or whenever. End rant.

But I do wholeheartedly recomend Cavell to all, one fo the finest American philosophers and writers out there (imagine that an American philosopher who has a writing style. No discussions of twin earth thankfully) and his writings on film are pretty much uniformly excellent. There is a recent-ish book "Cavell on Film" or something which I haven't picked up yet as it is expensive and I already have some of the essays in it. Anyone read it? Thoughts? I know I'll get around to it just haven't yet.

And finally, a film book I feel is oft overlooked and also comes at its analysis, thought and insight in a very interesting way is Michel Chion's small book on Jacques Tati. A wonderful read that is a more philosophical rumination on how his films work and what they do than straight analysis but is pretty brilliant in its readings, thoughts and style. (His book The Voice in Cinema is also quite good) sorry for the length.

June 27, 2007 2:28 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Thanks for the mention on the Schickel interview, Girish. It was my way of burying the hatchet with one of blogging's main detractors. I found him genuinely fascinating.

And pertinent to my conversation with him, I must commend you for your continued championing of books about film. If I weren't so busy talking to people and transcribing interviews, maybe I'd have a little more time to read. Perhaps I should go to a once-a-week format like you to free up some time?

Because it truly is important we talk about books. They are being reviewed less and less. I'm not sure why that is, but in tandem with Schickel's complaints about the gradual decline of American literacy into a state of amnesia, perhaps it's now incumbent upon online journalists to keep the torch aloft?

June 27, 2007 3:00 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ryland, Acquarello, Andy, Greg, Michael--Thank you for all the ideas and the suggestions!

Okay, I will definitely dive into some Cavell. I have two of his books, The World Viewed and Pursuits of Happiness. And I'll request Themes out of School.

Yes, I really like Chion's book on Tati, and his BFI monograph on The Thin Red Line is also interesting reading. I really should pick up The Voice in Cinema...

Speaking of Lupino, I found in my files a terrific and lengthy Film Comment article by Ronnie Scheib that is well worth looking up. (Unfortunately, I forgot to date it when I made the photocopy but I suspect it's from the early 80s).

June 28, 2007 12:56 PM  
Blogger girish said...

-- J. Hoberman on Melville's Le Doulos.
-- Doug Cummings files his first dispatch from this year's Los Angeles film festival.

June 28, 2007 3:00 PM  
Anonymous greg said...

It was a few years ago that I read The Voice In Cinema but I do remember it being quite good (actually assigned by Zizek in a class), particularly on Lang's Mabuse films and Syberberg's Parsifal.

One good thing about Themes Out of School is that it gives a film-oriented reader a view of Cavell's philosophy works, beliefs and methods, not that they don't shine through in his film books, in conjunction with a few more direct film essays. Cities of Words takes the structure of a course he taught at Harvard which pairs works of philosophy with a film for each week/chapter also making an explicit connection between his "moral perfectionism" and film (and importantly the taking seriously of film).

June 29, 2007 12:08 PM  
Blogger Ryland Walker Knight said...

Hey greg, I realized I misnamed the book I was thinking of in some odd alchemy of texts. I did buy _Themes Out of School_ but I had just read something else (_The Pitch of Philosophy_?) or something and, well, his books are all kind of running together in a great way. But yes you definitely seem to know your Cavell, too. Tight.

June 29, 2007 2:57 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Greg & Ryland.

Greg mentioned Cavell on Film. I noticed that William Rothman (author of The "I" of the Camera) edited and wrote the introduction to it. Does anyone have any thoughts on Rothman's book with Marian Keane, Reading Cavell's the World Viewed: A Philosophical Perspective on Film? Is it worth checking out?

June 29, 2007 5:34 PM  
Blogger Ryland Walker Knight said...

Have only read the stuff by Cavell himself so my rec is to simply read _The World Viewed_ first. I think his style can get tiresome, and often seem silly, but I really think it works. And dude's whip-smart. It helped me to understand what he's after by reading _The Claim of Reason_ first, to better situate his style and his interests and how they relate to how he relates to films. I think you can get a sense of that without reading what is basically a 500-page dissertation on Wittgenstein, but, if you wind up liking him, you may find yourself finding time to read everything.... or maybe that's just me.

July 02, 2007 12:50 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Ryland. I'll definitely begin with The World Viewed and see where it takes me.

July 04, 2007 9:43 PM  
Anonymous cinephile said...

I know I'm coming late to the party on this entry, but I saw the heading and just had to post. I had the good fortune of having a class on film theory and aesthetics with Dr. Naremore as an undergrad, and I can testify that he is not only one of the most graceful writers on cinema you will ever encounter, but also a fine teacher and a true gentlemen. In a profession that sometimes promotes nasty, backstabbing behavior as a a way of life, James Naremore stands out as an example of how one can live an ethical life and still be brilliant and successful. Since he wrote about noir, it seems appropriate to paraphrase Raymond Chandler, "If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in."

July 06, 2007 6:01 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks for those words, cinephile. I'd love to have been able to take a class with Naremore.

July 07, 2007 7:11 AM  

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