Monday, September 24, 2012

Film books in my summer bag

My favourite film books last summer included:

David Bordwell: Pandora's Digital Box. Films, Files, and the Future of the Movies. E-book. Madison, Wisconsin: The Irvington Way Institute Press, 2012. Based on Bordwell's superb series of essays on his website, this is the most comprehensive and intelligent survey on the digital transition I have read. I had read the original essays online, but interestingly, they made an even more profound impression after I had printed the book from the pdf and gotten to read the hard copy. A page-turner, my book of the year. It can be ordered online.

Hervé Dumont: Robert Siodmak - le maître du film noir. Lausanne: Editions L'Age d'Homme, 1981. Reading this definitive book on Robert Siodmak helped make sense of the master of film noir after our Siodmak retrospective at Cinema Orion last spring. I like the account of the genesis of Phantom Lady through "la bonne fée de Siodmak", Joan Harrison, and the cinematographer Elwood Bredell's rediscovery of the Utrecht school, "les personnages de Rembrandt surgissent de l'ombre, éclairés par une unique et mystérieuse source de lumière".

Harriet Andersson - samtal med Jan Lumholdt. Stockholm: Alfabeta Bokförlag AB, 2005. Everybody was impressed by the presence of Harriet Andersson in Sodankylä, at the Midnight Sun Film Festival last summer. The only drawback was her speaking in English in the morning discussion. Here is a unique chance to get the flavour of her original words in her mother tongue, in Swedish, telling her life story with a great sense of humour. Her talent and charm are based on real foundations which is why her attraction is timeless and ageless.

Marilyn Moss: Raoul Walsh: The True Adventures of Hollywood's Legendary Director. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 2011. "He never bored you with the truth" said Miriam Cooper, his first wife, which means that Marilyn Moss had an arduous mission in her groundbreaking biography of the master director with a very long and exciting career. I have read Walsh's autobiography Each Man In His Time, but this book provides new fascinating angles on every page. The publisher asked the writer to cut her manuscript in half which is why the movies themselves are discussed only briefly. We are looking forward to Part Two of this important work.

Kent Jones (ed.): Olivier Assayas. Vienna: Österreichisches Filmmuseum / SYNEMA - Gesellschaft für Film und Medien, 2012. In English. Olivier Assayas is one of the best film directors today, at the top of his game with Summer Hours and Carlos. In this comprehensive book top writers, starting with the editor, Kent Jones, himself, cover his every movie from Désordre till Après-Mai with a lot of insight. Very rewarding to read for our recent Assayas retrospective both before and after having seen the movies and the most indispensable source for our Assayas programme notes.

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