Jump to content
Clint M

Recommended Books on Film (Any Topic?)

Recommended Posts

For a good book on Native Americans and Westerns, try "Making the White Man's Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood Movies" (Praeger, 2005) Unlike other books on this subject, this one looks at the issue from the filmmakers' perspectives and has some amusing anecdotes about American Indian directors and actors. Also includes some never-seen-before photos, which alone are worth the price. VERY EASY to read and many behind-the-scenes stuff on Western movies, too. smile.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't recommend this since I haven't read it, but this advertisement came in my church email today.

HOLLYWOOD'S HOLY HEAVYWEIGHTS: CHRISTIAN CULTURE-MAKERS SPEAK OUT

LOS ANGELES, Calif.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm about half way through Reading the Gospels in the Dark by Richard Walsh. I find it quite good. Good look at each gospel and good look at Jesus films in general and in a few specific ones that he ties to specific gospels:

  • Jesus of Montreal and Mark
  • Godspell and Q and Thomas
  • Pasolini's film and Matthew (pretty obvious choice, but really good insight into both film and gospel)
  • King of Kings and Luke
  • The Greatest Story Ever Told and John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't recall the following being mentioned:

Peter Fraser and Vernon Edwin Neal, ReViewing the Movies: A Christian Response to Contemporary Film (Wheaton, Il.: Crossway, 2000)

William D. Romanowski, Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2001)

Both have good insights and are worth reading. Romanowski looks at culture generally though has plenty to say on films.

David Bordwell is one of the most insightful secular writers on film. He writes a lot with his wife Kristin Thompson. Particularly interesting are:

David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction (sixth edition) (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001)

David Bordwell; Janet Staiger; and Kristin Thompson, The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960 (London: Routledge, 1988)

David Bordwell, Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema (Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1989)

David Bordwell, The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006)

Kristin Thompson, Storytelling in the New Hollywood: Understanding Classical Narrative Technique (Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1999)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

no love for Ray Carney's book???I'm ordering his Dreyer book, can't wait.

I really like Carney's book on Dreyer (much more so than his work on Cassavetes, actually). One thing that he argues well is the debunking of the Dreyer "religious myth", particularly since his book was written when the only Dreyer films even remotely available were The Passion of Joan of Arc, Day of Wrath, and Ordet as well as the reputation for obsessing over the unrealized "Jesus film". I like that he tries to reconcile Vampyr within this more overtly spiritual fare, and not treat it as an aberration.

Of the Dreyer books I've read though - Donald Skoller's Dreyer in Double Reflection, Ray Carney's Speaking the Language of Desire, David Bordwell's The Films of Carl Theodor Dreyer, and Jean and Dale Drum's My Only Great Passion: The Life and Films of Carl Theodor Dreyer, and even Paul Schrader's smoke and mirrors criticism, Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer - I'd say my favorite is the Drum book because it does the best job of illustrating how Dreyer's life translated to his work, rather than presenting a critical reading of his films.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thx for the recommendation, surely I'll check Drum's out soon. I haven't read Carney's C on C, but enjoy immensely his writings on his website about John, but strangely u love his Dreyer than his John, is it because he already talks too much about John?hehehe...And how about his Mike Leigh book?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't read his Mike Leigh book, but yeah, part of it is that he's gotten more than a wee bit territorial with respect to Cassavetes, even to the extent that he wanted to air out all the dirty laundry in public on the brouhaha with Gena Rowlands over the Shadows "director's cut" controversy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Current issue of Interpretation (July 2007, p. 340) has a review of Richard Walsh, Finding St. Paul in Film (T&T Clark, 2005) reviewed by Timothy B. Cargal, St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore.

Could be interesting. Seems to deconstruct Paul, but interpreting films is less deconstructive. An example of his approach: (quoting from the review):

Thus the very sanity of the "apocalyptic Paul," whose sense of revelation from God leads him to conclude that her personally is charged with a mission to alter fundamentally the foundations of the divine-human relationship, is illustrated through comparisons with the protagonist in Total Recall and the portrayal of mathematician John Nash in A Beautiful Mind.

Cargal concludes the review saying, "While the exploration [into Paul and his impact] could have been accomplished without recourse to movies, it would not have been nearly as much fun."

Edited by Darrel Manson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Long time no updates.

Not a book, but my wife and I have been listening to The Learning Company course, "The Art of Reading" by Timothy Spurgin. Probably just a refresher course for anyone who's had any critical instruction about reading. I find it a very short step to shift what he has to say about reading books to reading films.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No new books to push here. Just thought some of you might be interested to read some reprinted film book reviews over at parallax-view.org.

In our campaign to republish every issue of Movietone News, we weren’t sure what to do with the book reviews. Unlike movies (most movies, anyway), books are revised over time, or go out of print, and the editions reviewed in these issues are invariably different from the editions currently available. Nonetheless, they engage the state of film writing and scholarship at a particularly exciting time in publishing, so we present them to you are originally published in Movietone News. Welcome to the Parallax View Flashback Movie Book Club.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The essays in The Undead and Theology, edited by Kim Paffenroth and John W. Morehead (Pickwick/Wipf & Stock, 2012), cover a variety of media, including film, but this thread seemed like a good place to start. Anyone interested in horror films/TV, zombies, etc., will probably find something of interest.

No, I don't have an essay in this book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to follow Godawa's 'blog back in the day.

The essays in The Undead and Theology, edited by Kim Paffenroth and John W. Morehead (Pickwick/Wipf & Stock, 2012), cover a variety of media, including film, but this thread seemed like a good place to start. Anyone interested in horror films/TV, zombies, etc., will probably find something of interest.

No, I don't have an essay in this book.

Neato. Paffenroth's collaboration with Thomas Bertonnau, The Truth is Out There, is pretty good, iirc.

On the slightly bizarre side, Eric G. Wilson's Strange World of David Lynch is really interesting; though his "gnosticism" stuff seems a little half-baked, I remember loving his chapter on Mulholland Dr.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Godawa's book is a fairly good read. Food for thought even if one doesn't agree with everything he says.

Another good read for those interested in theological thought related to horror is Religion and It's Monsters.

I'd say that a must have for those interested in fantasy writing from a Christian perspective is Four Christian Fantasists and Myth and Magic - Art according to the Inklings.

There be gold in them hills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IndieWire surveys critics about the film-related books they recommend for Christmas gifts. Some great titles here. But where is Have You Seen...? by David Thomson?

And my thanks to David Roark for his contribution!

Edited by Overstreet

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, with the new book on the Corman studios coming out, and Christian's recommendation about the William Friedkin memoir, this month was already set to be one in which I was going to try to catch up on some film reading.  Add to that this new book, Very Naughty Boys: The Amazing Story of HandMade Films, which documents the behind-the-scenes tales of productions ranging from Life of Brian, to Time Bandits, to Withnail and I, etc.

 

 

The making of Time Bandits turned out to be the phoney war; the real blood and guts began once the film entered the editing stage. Gilliam says, ‘Denis (O'Brien) started interfering. His skill was that he was brilliant at economical jugglings, but this is always the problem with anybody from the financial or executive side of film-making, they think they’re creative, too. I mean, they’re creative in their area, which is the stuff we can’t do, but somehow they can’t seem to ever stop at that. Denis doesn’t understand the other part of the process. But that’s when they all come in, during post-production; not just Denis, because now there’s an object, a finite thing, you can see it, you can have an opinion about it, everybody can have an opinion about it, then the question is, is their opinion more useful, more interesting, more correct than the film-maker’s opinion?’

 

The first ripples of discontent surfaced when O’Brien insisted that Gilliam change the film’s ending where Kevin’s mother and father are killed. ‘You can’t blow up parents at the end of a children’s film!’ exploded O’Brien. Gilliam stood his ground. ‘That’s the whole point. No one’s done it before.’ But O’Brien was insistent. ‘It’ll alienate the audience.’ Gilliam was ready for that one. ‘The audience is kids and every kid has this fantasy about getting rid of his parents.’ To solve the argument, a special screening for a bunch of youngsters was arranged and the first one out, a particularly precocious five-year-old boy, was asked what his favourite moment of the film was. ‘The parents being blown up!’ He whooped with delight.

 

Links to Time Bandits thread, the Roger Corman's Poe Films thread, and The Friedkin Connection thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gareth Higgins has a new book coming out in November: Cinematic States.

Review here.

 

The pleasure of such projects lie in their inclusiveness. One doesn’t have to be a cinephile to play along. While classic films such as Sullivans Travels, Nashville, or Chinatown get mentioned, this is a list (and book) with more populist leanings. It starts with Bull Durham and the Black Hole and ends with On the Waterfront and Brokeback Mountain. In between there are some obvious choices (go to the back of the room if you pick anything other than Gone With the Wind for Georgia) and some quirky personal inclusions (hard to think about Michigan without thinking about…Somewhere in Time). That’s not a knock, though. These books are only pretentious when they try to be definitive. The extent to which they are quirky is the extent to which they are fun.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just started reading Pictures at a Revloution by Mark Harris.  It focuses on the 5 Best Picture nominees from 1967: Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and In the Heat of the Night. I'm about 75 pages in (out of >400 total) and so far it's about the origins and struggles to get things rolling with Bonnie and Clyde with a few side trips to similar isses for Doctor Dolittle and The Graduate.  The thesis is that this is kind of a watershed year in Hollywood filmmaking in a shift to more independent, auteur approaches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doctor Doolittle was nominated for Best Picture?

 

I looked around to see what it beat out for that spot, and the list includes Cool Hand Luke, In Cold Blood, The Dirty Dozen, Camelot, and Barefoot in the Park.

 

Le Samourai is from that year, too, but it wasn't even France's submission for Foreign Film. Live for Life was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Gareth Higgins has a new book coming out in November: Cinematic States.

Review here.

 

The pleasure of such projects lie in their inclusiveness. One doesn’t have to be a cinephile to play along. While classic films such as Sullivans Travels, Nashville, or Chinatown get mentioned, this is a list (and book) with more populist leanings. It starts with Bull Durham and the Black Hole and ends with On the Waterfront and Brokeback Mountain. In between there are some obvious choices (go to the back of the room if you pick anything other than Gone With the Wind for Georgia) and some quirky personal inclusions (hard to think about Michigan without thinking about…Somewhere in Time). That’s not a knock, though. These books are only pretentious when they try to be definitive. The extent to which they are quirky is the extent to which they are fun.

 

 

 

Just to bump this, I really enjoyed this book. It is very well written and conceived.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I searched this topic, and am surprised that nobody has yet mentioned my favorite (albeit different) take on movie writing.

 

REBEL WITHOUT A CREW by Roberto Rodriguez, his highly entertaining memoir on his filming "El Mariachi" for $20,000. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The book (below) introduction was very helpful, scholarly enough for myself, arriving at it from trying to learn more after watching my first Bresson film, Mouchette. The whole book is much more, touching on several directors in the A&F 100. The introduction titled Aesthetic Asceticism: The Films of Robert Bresson plus the book's first 12 pages are attached as a PDF.

 

Bresson and Others - Spiritual Style in the Cinema (amazon link to book I have not read)

by Bert Cardullo, Cambridge Scholars Publishing UK 2009

 

The end of the introduction summarizes:

 

"The subject of Bresson and Others, then, may specifically be Bressonian cinema, but, in a general sense, it could also be said to be spirit and matter—or film and faith."

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction ............................................................................................... vii
Aesthetic Asceticism: The Films of Robert Bresson
Take Comfort, Take Caution: Tragedy and Homily in Day of Wrath................... 1
Neorealism of the Spirit: On Rossellini’s Europe ’51...................................... 11
A Passage to Tokyo: The Art of Ozu, Remembered ..................................... 15
God Is Love: On Bourguignon’s Sundays and Cybèleand Fellini’s
La strada.................................................................................................. 27
Early Bergman, or Film and Faith: Winter LightRevisited............................... 37
Saint Cinema: On Cavalier’sThérèse............................................................ 41
Close Encounters of a Devilish Kind: On Pialat’s
Under the Sun of Satan.............................................................................. 47
Miracle Movie: On Jarmusch’s Mystery Train............................................... 55
Mirabile visu et dictu: On Loach’s Raining Stonesand Rohmer’s
A Tale of Winter........................................................................................ 61
Free Spirit: On Jacquot’s A Single Girl........................................................ 71
Life and Nothing But: On Kore-eda’sMaborosiand Doillon’s Ponette............... 77
Getting Straight with God and Man: On Lynch’s The Straight Story................ 91
The Space of Time, the Sound of Silence: On Ozon’s Under the Sand
and Tsai’s What Time Is It There?.............................................................. 103
Reality Bites: On Kim Ki-duk’s 3-Iron .........................................................119
Lower Depths, Higher Planes: On the Dardennes’ Rosetta, The Son,
and L’Enfant............................................................................................ 127
The Passion of the Christand the New Cinema of Violence:
Realism, Reality, and the An-esthetic of the Unreal.................................... 143
Conclusion............................................................................................. 159
Dostoyevskian Surges, Bressonian Spirits: On Kerrigan’s Keane
and Bresson’s Une Femme douce
Credits of Bresson’s Films and Others Discussed ..................................... 175
Bibliography............................................................................................ 195
Index...................................................................................................... 203

Bresson and Others Spiritual Style in the Cinema.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The definitive biography on Borzage", Frank Borzage: The Life and Films of a Hollywood Romantic  by Herve Dumont with forward by Martin Scorsese.

 

Just a quote from the place recommending the book, not sure if it comes from the book:

 

"The quintessential Borzagean narrative involves a couple braving the storms of life — mainly poverty and war, but also intolerance and selfishness — to find, through their love and suffering, a safe port."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×