A Critical Cinema

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It is widely understood that writing can discuss writing, but we rarely consider that film can be used as a means of analyzing conventions of the commercial film industry, or of theorizing about cinema in general. Over the past few decades, however, independent cinema has produced a body of fascinating films that provide intensive critiques of nearly every element of the cinematic apparatus. The experience of these films simultaneously depends on and redefines our relationship to the movies.

Critical Cinema provides a collection of in-depth interviews with some of the most accomplished "critical" filmmakers. These interviews demonstrate the sophistication of their thinking about film (and a wide range of other concerns) and serve as an accessible introduction to this important area of independent cinema. Each interview is preceded by a general introduction to the filmmaker's work; detailed filmographies and bibliographies are included. Critical Cinema will be a valuable resource for all those involved in the formal study of film, and will be essential reading for film lovers interested in keeping abreast of recent developments in North American cinema.

INTERVIEWEES: Hollis Frampton, Larry Gottheim, Robert Huot, Taka Iimura, Carolee Schneeman, Tom Chomont, J.J. Murphy, Beth B and Scott B, John Waters, Vivienne Dick, Bruce Conner, Robert Nelson, Babette Mangolte, George Kuchar, Diana Barrie, Manuel DeLanda, Morgan Fisher.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As he did in the first volume of this projected trilogy, MacDonald profiles and interviews 19 independent filmmakers whose works interrogate and criticize conventional film in a variety of ways, whether by fracturing conventional narrative or by eschewing traditional plots altogether in favor of more impressionistic, visual concerns. MacDonald has used this volume to fill in crucial gaps from the first, including such prominent pioneers of independent film as Michael Snow, Robert Breer (who speaks amusingly about his disastrous attempt to go mainstream by making a documentary for David Brinkley for network television) and Bruce Baillie, in order to give ``a chronological overview of independent filmmaking since 1950, especially in North America.'' Equally important, he has given over much of this volume to women filmmakers, including such seminal figures as Yoko Ono (who speaks at length about her early work with the dadaist Fluxus group and her film collaborations with John Lennon) and Yvonne Rainer. MacDonald is a near-ideal interviewer--well-informed, concise and unobtrusive--and his subjects are good talkers. The filmographies and bibliographies included are especially welcome. The resulting book is a valuable contribution to the history of independent film in the U.S. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Library Journal
With its antecedents, A Critical Cinema (Univ. of California, 1988) and A Critical Cinema 2 (Univ. of California, 1992), this book gives a detailed look at independent filmmaking. The filmmakers in these volumes strive to create new kinds of imagery, narratives, and audiences that challenge Hollywood norms. Here, MacDonald (film studies and American literature, Utica Coll.) expands the geopolitical range of the previous volumes, treating independent filmmaking as an international and multiethnic undertaking. Interviews with filmmakers from such countries as Armenia (Arthur Peleshian), Austria (Valie Export, Martin Arnold), India (Mani Kaul), and the Philippines (Nick Deocampo) are supplemented by a concise, informative overview of each filmmaker, together with film/videographies and selected bibliographies. British filmmaker Sally Potter (Orlando) is singled out for extensive attention. As with its predecessors, this volume belongs in all undergraduate and research libraries that support film studies.Neal Baker, Ball State Univ. Lib., Muncie, Ind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520058019
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 10/26/1988
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 422
  • Product dimensions: 0.94 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott MacDonald has written for Film Quarterly, October, Afterimage, Millenium, Film Culture, Artforum, and other journals. He teaches at Utica College.

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Table of Contents


Kenneth Anger
Tony Conrad

Nathaniel Dorsky
Peggy Ahwesh
Alan Berliner
Robb Moss
Phil Solomon
James Benning

J. Leighton Pierce
Matthias Müller
Sharon Lockhart
Jennifer Todd Reeves
On Chronic and The Time We Killed
Kano Shiho
Ernie Gehr

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