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Cheerfully Chopping up the World

Michael Wood: Film theory, 2 July 1998

The Material Ghost: Films and Their Medium 
by Gilberto Perez.
Johns Hopkins, 466 pp., £25, April 1998, 0 8018 5673 6
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On the History of Film Style 
by David Bordwell.
Harvard, 322 pp., £39.95, February 1998, 0 674 63428 4
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Gilles Deleuze's Time Machine 
by D.N. Rodowick.
Duke, 260 pp., £46.95, October 1997, 0 8223 1962 4
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The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema 
by Jean Mitry, translated by Christopher King.
Athlone, 405 pp., £45, February 1998, 0 485 30084 2
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Signs and Meaning in the Cinema 
by Peter Wollen.
BFI, 188 pp., £40, May 1998, 0 85170 646 0
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... same thing, but not sketchily, and across a very wide range of films; and the central argument of David Bordwell’s book is similar. Perez is interested in ‘the properties and possibilities of the medium’, but thinks that what distinguishes them is their variousness. ‘Most theorists have attempted to define the nature of film as something ...

Reel after Seemingly Needless Reel

Tony Wood: Eisenstein in Mexico, 3 December 2009

In Excess: Sergei Eisenstein’s Mexico 
by Masha Salazkina.
Chicago, 221 pp., £27.50, April 2009, 978 0 226 73414 9
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... an adaptation of Blaise Cendrars’s L’Or, and a version of Dreiser’s An American Tragedy. David O. Selznick praised Eisenstein’s Dreiser adaptation, but said that its critique of American society ‘cannot possibly offer anything but a most miserable two hours to millions of happy-minded young Americans’. ‘Let’s try new things by all ...

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