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The HTF reading (yes, reading) challenge (1 Viewer)

Darren H

Second Unit
Joined
May 10, 2000
Messages
447
Al, just a word or two of warning: Johnson and Petrie are also quite rough with Tarkovsky, particularly in the chapters on Nostalghia and The Sacrifice. I have to agree with their main criticism. Although both films contain some striking imagery (I especially love the b&w apocalyptic vision in The Sacrifice), neither exactly breaks new ground for him. In fact, The Sacrifice seems to contradict one of his main tenants -- let the images do the talking. Is it just me, or is that movie awful preachy?
Anyway, the book discusses both of the events from your post. They're a bit ambivalent regarding the shortening of the dream sequence and accuse (gently) Tarkovsky of being more than a bit arrogant in burning down his main set without a back-up camera. BTW, for some reason, I get a real kick out of hearing Tarkovsky say "mother fucker." Must be the closet sadist in me.
 

Pascal A

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 2, 2000
Messages
496
Okay, I have completed Patterns of Time: Mizoguchi and the 1930s. In hindsight, it really was not as bad as I had indicated; in fact, it was very informative. However, if I had to read it again, I would probably have been better off skipping the introductory material and go straight through the film analyses.
Here is the review: http://www.filmref.com/journal.html
More problematic for me was the lack of any biographical information on Mizoguchi (even general facts, like birthday, marital status, etc.), while, at the same time, the author felt it necessary to focus a sub-chapter on the attire of the Japanese moga
(modern girl).
To Kirihara's credit, he does explain that he had originally envisioned this book to be an analytical compilation of Mizoguchi's film, and later decided to rescope the focus of the book. Whether this was faculty intervention or a personal decision, he does not say. Personally, I would have preferred to have read his initial concept.
After this book, I decided to defer reading another book on Asian cinema, so I'm shelving Reframing Japanese Cinema for now. Next up for me will either be Double Vision: My Life in Film or My Only Great Passion: The Films of Carl Theodor Dreyer.
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Strictly Film School
 

WoodyH

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Mar 23, 2000
Messages
228
Well, I hadn't jumped into this yet, but I'm currently reading The Celluloid Closet by Vito Russel. I picked it up for two reasons - I'd seen the documentary of the same name based on this book a while ago, and really enjoyed it; and Waldenbooks was having a clearance sale and had this for $2.99.
wink.gif

Anyway, quite interesting so far...an evaluation of the portrayal of homosexuals in film, it's been some very fascinating reading. I'm only about a fifth of the way though it at this point, so am not out to do a full review, but did figure I might as well jump in. Once I'm done with this, it should be fun to go through this thread again and start digging through the books all of you have recommended - as a former 'movie' lover becoming more of a 'film' lover, I'm finding this type of thing very fascinating.
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Woody Hanscom
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Pascal A

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 2, 2000
Messages
496
I finished reading The Films of Theo Angelopoulos, and it was an exceedingly fascinating book - even by my jaded standards. :) Here, we have a filmmaker who grew up during wartime, and watched his country tear itself apart with a devastating civil war, only to encounter, in his later years, a similar self-destruction by his neighbors in the Balkans. In watching Angelopoulos' films, there is a hint of Andrei Tarkovsky, Robert Bresson, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Kenji Mizoguchi in his gaze. But his spirit, and his allusions to classic literature and tragedies, are very definitely Greek.
However, unlike Michael Cacoyannis or Jules Dassin, Angelopoulos does not capture the cosmopolitan city of Athens, but rather, the neglected (and increasingly abandoned) rural villages. It is in this nostalgic portrait of the "other" Greece that Angelopoulos finds the true Greek soul. Here is the review:
The Films of Theo Angelopoulos: A Cinema of Contemplation by Andrew Horton.
That's 6 down, 4 to go for me. I haven't decided if the DEFA or the Fassbinder book is next, but it will be one of the two.
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Strictly Film School
 

Darren H

Second Unit
Joined
May 10, 2000
Messages
447
Pascal, I've updated your total on the first page. I always enjoy reading your reviews, particularly in cases like this, when I'm introduced to filmmakers I've never even heard of. Very interesting.
As far as my own reading goes, I'm afraid that I'll be experiencing a bit of a lull over the next three months as I prepare for my first two comprehensive exams. I'm trying to average 1000 pages of reading/week, but little of it is film related. (If you're curious, Melville's Typee is my current novel of the day.) I have been reading Kurosawa's autobiography, though, as time allows.
 

Pascal A

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 2, 2000
Messages
496
I finished Fassbinder's The Anarchy of the Imagination: Interviews, Essays, and Notes over the weekend. Here are my notes:
The Anarchy of the Imagination: Interviews, Essays, and Notes by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
All in all, it was a fascinating book in observing Fassbinder's sheer audacity, confidence, and verve. The articles ran the gamut from formal to informal, honest to evasive, inspired and self-destructive. The essays on Sirk's cinema displayed adoration and pure joy. Another essay rambled unintelligibly for pages, and, after verifying the introductory remarks, I came to the same conclusion as the editors that Fassbinder had clearly written it under the influence.
What was problematic for me was the editors' seeming lack of organization in compiling the articles, attempting to justify this "disorder" as a reflection of Fassbinder's personality. Fassbinder may be impulsive, but he is neither haphazard or disorganized. Although I realize that the book is intended to illustrate fragments of a very iconoclastic and frenetic individual, the articles should still reflect some sense of order, such as arranging them chronologically. If nothing else, it would have provided a better illustration of the range of his thoughts and parallel projects at any given time.
Anyway, that's another one down for me. I will be reading Reframing Japanese Cinema next.
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Strictly Film School
 

Gary Tooze

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2000
Messages
3,055
Hey all... I don't know if this thread is still "active"... but I did finish ( for the 2nd time ) my Sculpting in Time by Tarkovsky... and found a new book:
The Taste for Beauty (Cambridge Studies in Film)
by Eric Rohmer, William Rothman, Jean Narboni (Compiler)

If we are still keeping track that puts me down to 8...

I did create a graphic page for all these books ( with links to Amazon):
http://207.136.67.23/film/sread.htm#[email protected]
DVD COLLECTION CONTEST , My DVD Collection ,My Home Theatre
DVDBeaver's 15 Member choices of the TOP 111 DVDs available today!
 

Darren H

Second Unit
Joined
May 10, 2000
Messages
447
Gary, your total has been updated on the first page. I'll be curious to hear what you think of The Taste for Beauty. Let me know if you find a good study of Rohmer. Our university library lists two -- one by C. G. Crisp, the other by Carlos F. Heredero and Antonio Santamarina -- as well as several books about the New Wave, but I haven't had the time lately for much film reading. Rohmer's on the top of my list, though.
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"I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity." -- g.W.b.
 

Pascal A

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 2, 2000
Messages
496
Okay, I finished Reframing Japanese Cinema: Authorship, Genre, History this past weekend, but only finished my synopsis last night. According to the preface, the editors' intent was to provide a comprehensive, academic based study guide to Japanese cinema.
The first section on Authorship provides the most interesting reading, as several writers tackle a variety of Japanese cinema icons: Heinosuke Gosho, Kenji Mizoguchi, Akira Kurosawa, Nagisa Oshima, Yasujiro Ozu. Unfortunately, there are also a number of noteworthy filmmakers omitted from the discussion: Mikio Naruse, Shohei Imamura, Teinosuke Kinugasa, and Kon Ichikawa (although Ichikawa is addressed in the Genre section).
The next section, Genre, has some equally enlightening essays on period, samurai, and yakuza films. My personal favorite from this section was an article on post-war films, which contained a detailed discussion on Kon Ichikawa's anti-war films, The Burmese Harp and Fires on the Plain.
Unfortunately, the final section, History, becomes even more cumbersome, with a seemingly unending discussion on the live benshi performance that accompanied silent films in Japan. The narrator (or, more appropriately, vocal performer), called a katsuben, grew out of Japanese theater, and provided a bridge between traditional theater and modern cinema. When the sound films arrived in Japan, the livelihood of the katsuben became threatened, and they staged an unsuccessful strike. The suicide of Akira Kurosawa's older brother, was driven, in part, by this unsuccessful strike. The final essay by David Bordwell on uncharacteristic stylization and "decoration" of some scenes in otherwise spare films is forgettable.
Here are my notes:
Reframing Japanese Cinema: Authorship, Genre, History , edited by Arthur Nolletti Jr. and David Desser.
8 down, 2 to go for me. I will either be reading the DEFA or the Rossellini book next.
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Strictly Film School
[Edited last by Pascal A on July 20, 2001 at 07:43 AM]
 

Pascal A

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 2, 2000
Messages
496
I decided to discontinue reading Tag Gallagher's The Adventures of Roberto Rossellini after struggling with Gallagher's disorganized, rambling, stream of consciousness style of writing for three weeks. The book itself is over 800 pages but with good (or even some) editing, the material could have been more effectively presented in a third of the number of pages. A shame really - I could not discern if Gallagher is more interested in Rossellini's craft or his active love life.
I did, however, decide to read (and finished) Shohei Imamura (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs, No. 1) and was very pleased with the content of the book. There are several introductory essays on Imamura's work that are fairly informative. Of particularly interest for me was his affinity for studying social behavior, which he often juxtaposes with the baser, instinctual behavior of animals. Unfortunately, ther book was printed in 1998, and his latest film Dr. Akagi is only mentioned as being in production. However, the later essays that include Unagi all mentioned a gentler and more compassionate trend (which continues with Dr. Akagi) to Imamura's mature films.
Here is my review:
Shohei Imamura (Cinematheque Ontario Monographs No. 1) - edited by James Quandt
I haven't decided what to read next, but it will be one of these three: I picked up another Cinematheque Ontario book, Kon Ichikawa, and finally snagged a copy of the out of print Audie Bock book, Japanese Film Directors, and still have the Sean Allen DEFA book that I need to go through.
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Strictly Film School
 

Pascal A

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 2, 2000
Messages
496
I finished reading Audie Bock's Japanese Film Directors, a book that I had been looking for a long time and is considered essential reading to all Japanese film scholars. The second printing of the book was in 1980, but has been out of print for some time. Bock subdivides the most influential Japanese filmmakers into three categories, and provides a biography and examination of some of their key, milestone, and influential films:
The Early Masters - Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu, Mikio Naruse
The Postwar Humanists - Akira Kurosawa, Keisuke Kinoshita, Kon Ichikawa, Masaki Kobayashi
The New Wave and After - Shohei Imamura, Nagisa Oshima, Masahiro Shinoda
Here is my review:
http://www.filmref.com/journal.html My next book will either be the Cinematheque Ontario Monographs on Kon Ichikawa, or a more thorough re-reading on the Robert Bresson book, which I keep picking chapters out of, but never completely read from end to end.
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Strictly Film School
[Edited last by Pascal A on September 25, 2001 at 01:28 PM]
 

Pascal A

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 2, 2000
Messages
496
I just finished re-reading Satyajit Ray's My Years With Apu, A Memoir, which is the first time that I had read it in about five years. Needless to say, I find Ray's work and personality extremely inspiring, intelligent, humble, and compassionate. Here is a short write-up on the book; hopefully it will inspire others to visit Ray's films or read his memoirs:
My Years With Apu, A Memoir by Satyajit Ray.
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Strictly Film School
[Edited last by Pascal A on October 19, 2001 at 07:20 AM]
 

Pascal A

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 2, 2000
Messages
496
Film Book #12 for me is DEFA East German Cinema, 1946-1992 edited by Sean Allan and John Sandford. All in all, I found the book to be extremely informative (especially since I knew next to nothing about GDR cinema :b). What I especially appreciated about the book is the authors' use of intelligent and comprehendable language to explain specific political, artistic, and social movements that affected the East German film industry, without resorting to pedantic academic jargon that is pervasive in many film theory classes and textbooks. I'm greatly looking forward to further exploring the works of Konrad Wolf and Kurt Maetzig.
Here are my impressions on the book: DEFA East German Cinema, 1946-1992 , edited by Sean Allan and John Sandford.
My next book will be: Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman's Hyperrealist Everyday by Ivone Margulies.
 

Pascal A

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 2, 2000
Messages
496
Okay, #13 for me is Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman's Hyperrealist Everyday by Ivone Margulies. Despite the author's cardinal writing sin of transposing affect and effect, the book is rather well written and shows depth and clarity. However, I do want to caution that the book evolved from the author's dissertation, and tends to rely heavily on the reader's familiarity with conventional film theory. Particularly interesting for me was the analysis of two episodes of variation of routines that interrupted the protagonist's sense of logical order in Jeanne Dielman. Although for personal taste, Margulies did seem to go overboard with the feminist reading of the film, I do concede that the film's reputation as a groundbreaking feminist film entitles her to such in depth analysis. :)
Here's the review:
Nothing Happens: Chantal Akerman's Hyperrealist Everyday by Ivone Margulies.
 

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