• Some people have called us “film school in a box,” but this is the real deal. The essential film school introductory textbook, David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s Film Art: An Introduction, is coming out in its tenth edition in the summer, and will now use online examples drawn from films available as part of the Criterion Collection. Theirs was the first major textbook to be illustrated with actual frame grabs instead of publicity stills, and now those images will move. In the videos, intended for use by teachers and their students, Bordwell and Thompson explore key concepts in cinema—mise–en-scène, lighting, cinematography, sound, and editing—through examples from our films. Their examples are short and to the point, and we’ve included one about elliptical editing in Agnes Varda’s Vagabond below. We can’t think of a better way for new generations of cinephiles to discover the films available in the Criterion Collection than through the eyes of Bordwell and Thompson, who unlock the coded language of film, elucidate its techniques, and reveal how filmmakers use their tools to make meaning and tell stories. For a more thorough rundown, see Bordwell and Thompson’s blog post here.


  • By Doug C
    March 19, 2012
    05:30 PM

    I see the lastest version available on amazon is the 2009 version. When will this new version be readily available?
    • By Anna T.
      March 19, 2012
      05:40 PM

      Hi Doug, The new edition is slated to come out this summer, according to Bordwell and Thompson's blog post. We've updated our post to include that information.
  • By NAME
    March 19, 2012
    05:46 PM

    The bible of Freshman film classes at NYU back in1992
    • By Sarah S.
      March 19, 2012
      05:51 PM

      It still is, regrettably. (It's a very repetitive book.)
  • By Christian
    March 19, 2012
    07:24 PM

    @Sarah: Which intro-to-film text would you prefer? Louis Giannetti? (That was my assigned text, BTW)
    • By Sleepy
      March 22, 2012
      03:52 PM

      I think all the introductory film books suffer from the same flaws-- too expensive and too much information for a one-semester introduction to film class. I used Giannetti's this term and absolutely hated using it. I wound up dumping a number of chapters. Realistically, those books need two semesters. I find that Bill Nichols _Engaging Cinema_ might be a nice option, and I'm going to test run it over the summer. Sure, it doesn't have pictures, but I can supplement those through Blackboard and lectures. It's also $18!
  • By Daniella Isaacs
    March 19, 2012
    08:32 PM

    I like their FILM HISTORY book, bu there are a lot of better analysis books out there. This one is dry, dry, dry.
  • By WinsonSmith
    April 03, 2012
    01:15 PM

    This is great news, but it seems like a baby step to something that will trump everything: a digital (maybe iPad) version of the next installment of "Film Art: An Introduction." I can read about a scene and simply touch an icon next to the next and voila, the clip starts to play. We're getting there...
  • By Philipp M
    July 20, 2012
    11:25 AM

    I don't agree with the apparent consensus here at all. I found "Film Art" a very pleasant and informative read, and recommend this to anyone interested in film. I prefer this one especially over the typical reading assignments on film theory with their jargon-laden language and no real insight.
  • By marina shron
    January 29, 2013
    03:48 PM

    I'm using the book this semester, but I can't locate the clips mentioned in the blog anywhere in the Criterion Collection... Does anyone know how to find them?
    • By D_A_Wiley
      February 07, 2013
      01:36 PM

  • By pssguy
    November 11, 2013
    11:11 PM

    She walks away from the sign People put up dangerous dog signs to ward people off. The fact that their is a friendly One means nothing
  • By Ryan
    July 24, 2014
    03:16 AM

    Is there any way to access the full set of these video essays without being in a college film program?
  • By Marc
    August 21, 2014
    12:52 PM

    Yes, are these available in their entirety anywhere?