Film Books: Redeeming Piece of Film Journalism 7/11/12
When is the last time you read a good film book? I don’t mean a popular magazine like entertainment weekly or variety, whose main focus seems to be only the celebrity that accompanies film rather than the art-form itself. I’m talking about the books that deal with subjects like film theory, critical reviews, artistic movements in motion picture history, the aesthetics of a specific director, or the method of a certain actor ( and I don’t mean a seedy “tell all” biography). Please excuse me if i’m a tad pessimistic, but I don’t expect an enthusiastic response to my question. It seems that since the modern film community has regressed to a state of intellectual infancy, due in part to the prevalence of mindless internet film blogging and journalism, it is probably too much to assume that most film buffs nowadays have a general knowledge of film history and theory. Most modern film patrons are so conditioned by the juvenile sensationalist journalism offered by most modern film bloggers that they tend to shun the more substantial film knowledge and wisdom offered by the great old books about film found on the shelves of your library forgotten arts and entertainment section. How can we consider ourselves knowledgeable about film if we forget about the great books on film offered by the great thinkers and critics in cinema such as Francois Truffaut (“Hitchcock”), Pauline Kael (“I Lost It At The Movies”, “5001 Nights At The Movies”), Andrew Sarris (“The American Cinema: Directors And Directions 1929-1968”), and Peter Bogdanovich (“Who the Hell’s in It: Conversations with Hollywood’s Legendary Actors”, “Who the Devil Made It: Conversations with Legendary Film Directors”). How could we as film fans ever exchange the wonderful insights and wisdom offered in those pages for the endless dribble offered by those film bloggers concerned only with sequels and reboots and superheros. I think its time we reevaluate our standards in regards to how we view film and ask ourselves how, if we continue along this path, can we expect cinema to be taken seriously as an art-form?
I want to challenge any one who reads this and is passionate about film, to seek out the more substantial and refreshing founts of film knowledge. I’ll be providing you with links to some sources for great film literature and journalism but first I would like to encourage you to get up off your duff and do something. Go to that public library in your neighborhood and check out the media arts non- fiction section. Don’t be afraid to pick up and read those large complex film books. They don’t have pictures and the words may be really small, but what you’ll find in between those pages is worth more than its weight in cinematic gold. You’ll be challenged, inspired, rebuffed, angered and instructed. You’ll become a more well rounded film lover truly getting into the meat of what makes cinema such a wonderfully expressive art form.
Or at the very least you’ll improve you’ll vocabulary.