With American cinema succumbing to big-budget blandness, film lovers are looking to other countries for stimulating film fare. These two titles kick off the "Contemporary Film Directors" series, which aims to provide introductions to little-known but important filmmakers from around the world and give readers a better understanding of film trends and themes far removed from Hollywood's glossy scene. Each title in the series, expected to be augmented annually, consists of a critical commentary, an interview with the director, and a detailed filmography. The volume on Brazilian veteran director Nelson Pereira dos Santos is the first study of his work to appear in English. Written by an academic (Sadlier is a professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Indiana University), it centers around dos Santos's neorealist, socially committed efforts, which are, according to Sadlier, "unified by a leftist political point of view and a desire to make his audience think as well as feel." Sadlier easily navigates through his body of work, discussing key issues that dos Santos, much like other Latin American filmmakers, must contend with (e.g., limited financial resources and occasional political censorship). Written by a filmmaker (Saeed-Vafa) and a recognized Chicago-based film critic (Rosenbaum), the study of Abbas Kiarostami's work has a more exterior focus, addressing not only Kiarostami's masterworks (notably the 1999 film The Wind Will Carry Us) but also the difficulty in doing independent, quality work in a revolutionary country such as Iran, which most Americans still view through the prism of the 1979-81 hostage crisis. The series is recommended for university film and literature collections and specialized film history archives, particularly those with an international slant.-Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.