...an essential volume for anyone interested in the director's work.
The Cinema of John Sayles: Lone Starby Mark Bould, Stuart Sim
John Sayles is an inspiration to independent filmmakers in America and beyond, both for his engaged political filmmaking and as living proof that directors can survive and thrive without the need for mainstream financing. His 1980s films were the counter-punch to the special effects and blockbuster aesthetics of the Star Wars and Spielberg era, and this volume… See more details below
John Sayles is an inspiration to independent filmmakers in America and beyond, both for his engaged political filmmaking and as living proof that directors can survive and thrive without the need for mainstream financing. His 1980s films were the counter-punch to the special effects and blockbuster aesthetics of the Star Wars and Spielberg era, and this volume closely follows his career with analysis of all of his directed works. Through discussion of films such as Return of the Secaucus 7 (1980), The Brother from Another Planet (1984), Matewan (1987) and Sunshine State (2003), this study uncovers themes of racial and sexual otherness, capitalist excess and the erosion of community in his work. With new distribution channels now enabling independent cinema to reach a wider audience than ever before, this timely volume will be of interest to left-wing thinkers, guerrilla filmmakers and all aficionados of independent film.
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This book offers a remarkably stimulating and insightful analysis of John Sayles' writing, screenplays and films. The author shows a nuanced understanding of vital theorists including Marx, Engels, Althusser, Gramsci, Bakhtin, Freud and Lukács, and applies each brilliantly in his probing analysis of Sayles' views on identity and community, history and storytelling, class and ethnicity, language and power. Bould's analysis celebrates Sayles' work through illuminating and exciting perspectives. He shows a thorough knowledge of current Sayles scholarship, answers Sayles' critics in helpful ways, and develops his own informative perspective. He is thoroughly conversant with modern and postmodern theorists, with ideas and debates concerning naturalism and realism, with genre and auteur studies, and with technical aspects of film composition. In every instance, Bould first clarifies ideas that have often been muddied in other writers' interpretation and application. He then astutely uses important concepts in his own analyses to open up productive avenues of thought on Sayles' work. This admirably coherent, clear, and scholarly work will stimulate a much greater understanding of Sayles' screenplays and films as well as fruitful discussion. -
Finally we have a full-length critical study of Sayles worthy of the films themselves. Bould's wide-ranging theoretical sophistication, his extensive scholarly research and his intelligent sensitivity to cinema as an art form and to the details of particular movies all combine to make this book a model of how to write about a director's oeuvre. This volume is an ideal vade mecum for those making their first acquaintance with Sayles' extraordinary films, but also has much to teach even those who have been following Sayles' career closely from the beginning.
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