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Added by Mr. Saturn on 29 Apr 2012 06:42
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Film History and Criticism

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Sarris emphasized personality, particularly personalities that transformed bad or kitsch material or faced the studio system bravely to a fault. I agree his three circles of auterism (technical competence, distinguishable personality, and interior meaning) all make films great, but I disagree all great films need all of the three circles; moreover defining interior meaning as the 'ultimate glory of the cinema as an art... it's extrapolated from the tension between a director’s personality and his material', creates a weak definition of the ultimate glory of cinema.

(Using this definition, I don't know what interior meaning can be found in the best films of Charlie Chaplin, which were made when he had complete control of his films. Interior meaning is subjective. Sarris said watching films without value judgements is a little more than a respectable hobby.)

My problem is less with the few bad value judgements he makes (like the hubris of dismmising 'cynical' masterpieces like De Sica's Bicyle Thieves and calling it much less revealing than Ophuls' films, because (I'm paraphrasing) Ophuls' characters have problems of their own making and inescapable problems about existence; the similarity between the existences of bourgeois and impoverished characters are greater than the differences; and more with how the criticism of the directors he likes less are given less thought, or at least less explanation for Sariss' conclusions. The pantheon directors section is poetry, but the value of the criticism decreases the more he dislikes a director.

Pauline Kael was right to point out some faults in Circles and Squares and ask where 'all the secrets are kept'.

Sarris admitted this much in the afterword.
Still, if I had to do it all over again, I would reformulate the auteur theory with a greater emphasis on the tantalizing mystery of style than on the romantic agony of the artists.
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This book is a little wordy, snobby, and guilty of reverse snobbery, but for the most part it's an insightful read; TSPDT is a far better source for learning about directors.
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This is a pretty good textbook and the author does a good job explaining film terms, without resorting to mostly talking about recent popular movies.
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A textbook I've read partway that focuses on the sociological history of films; honestly, this works more as a sociology book than a film book, but I'd recommend this to people interested in learning the history of white patriarchal capitalism in movies, and the changing depiction of gays, women, non-whites, and so on.
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A Short History of the Movies - Bruce F. Kawin,Gerald Mast (late)
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Movies as Politics - Jonathan Rosenbaum
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Midnight Movies (Da Capo Paperback) - Jonathan Rosenbaum,J. Hoberman
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Hollywood Babylon - Kenneth Anger
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Semiotics: The Basics - Daniel Chandler
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A History of Narrative Film - David A. Cook
I'm going to read this for the M.I.T. open course class The Film Experience.
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Making Movies

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Making Movies - Sidney Lumet
This is a mostly pragmatic book so I should definitely read this again, especially if I decide to pursue a career in the film or video industry.

I added his list of favorite directors and favorite films on Listal.
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Bresson uses the term cinematography just to differentiate his film-making philosophy to what he sees as commonplace 'bastard theater'.
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Directors

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The Films In My Life - Francois Truffaut
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Scorsese by Ebert - R Ebert
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This Is Orson Welles - Jonathan Rosenbaum,Peter Bogdanovich,Orson Welles
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Ozu: His Life and Films - Donald Richie
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My Last Sigh - Luis Bunuel
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Images: My Life in Film - Ingmar Bergman
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Films

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Books about film history and film criticism I plan on reading. Recommendations are appreciated.

Added to

12 votes
Toast - Favorite Book Lists (36 lists)
list by jaytoast
Published 6 years ago
46 votes
Learn about Films (54 lists)
list by Mr. Saturn
Published 6 years, 7 months ago 1 comment



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