Books: Thomson, Linklater, and More

Catherine Grant tips us off to Leo Robson’s interview with David Thomson for the January 2017 issue of the White Review. “Hawks is still for me the essential American director of the golden age,” says Thomson, and the conversation’s an engaging one. But Robson’s introduction is excellent, a succinct contextualization of the first appearance of A Biographical Dictionary of Cinema in 1975 and the critical reception of succeeding editions in the years since.

Vulture recently posted John Lithgow’s annotated list of the ten books he’d take to a desert island. Turns out, One Grand Books has been posting similar lists from some time now. Have a look at the top tens from Isabelle Huppert,Tilda Swinton,John Waters,Robert Longo,Viggo Mortensen,Laura Linney,Miranda July,Carrie Brownstein,John Cameron Mitchell,Asif Kapadia, and many more.

Evan Calder Williams introduces the first of a series of excerpts in the New Inquiry from his new book, Shard Cinema:

A large part of the book (including its titular shards) comes from grappling with quite recent history, specifically that of the last two and a half decades in moving images. In that span of years, one of the significant and much-noted tendencies is towards the increasing importance of composite images, i.e. those that are constructed by combining a variety of sources, such as 3D animation and green screen footage, and hence that erase the divide between production and post-production. However, a central aim of the book is to show how such images, even the absurdly expensive ones of blockbuster movies, games, and TV that seem to epitomize and celebrate their distance from the circuits and hands of their painstaking construction, cannot be separated from the processes, geographies, and frictions that go into that construction.

There’s now a new expanded edition of Tom Roston’s I Lost It at the Video Store: A Filmmakers’ Oral History of a Vanished Era and IndieWire’s posted an excerpt in which Richard Linklater talks us through the past few decades: “Hard as it is to imagine today, back then films just came around, and if you didn’t see them, you couldn’t be certain you were ever going to get that chance again. . . . But, jumping to the present moment on the community front, I’d say we’re in the Only Lovers Left Alive stage.”

Mike Figgis has a new book out, The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations, an analysis of 150 films based on the theory Georges Polti put forward in his book bearing the same title, first published in France in the mid-nineteenth century. “I wondered how Polti’s ideas would hold up within the genre of cinema,” writes Figgis at the Talkhouse Film. And he’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a deck of cards that would help writers create original stories.

“In his recent biography, Mickey Rooney: A Show Business Life, James A. MacEachern has succeeded brilliantly in revealing how the events and circumstances of the actor’s personal life at once informed and debased his career,” writes Louis J. Wasser for Film International.

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