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Richard Gilman referred to How to Read a Film as simply "the best single work of its kind." And Janet Maslin in The New York Times Book Review marveled at James Monaco's ability to collect "an enormous amount of useful information and assemble it in an exhilaratingly simple and systematic way." Indeed, since its original publication in 1977, this hugely popular book has become the definitive source on film and media.
Now, James Monaco offers a special anniversary edition of his classic work, featuring a new preface and several new sections, including an "Essential Library: One Hundred Books About Film and Media You Should Read" and "One Hundred Films You Should See." As in previous editions, Monaco once again looks at film from many vantage points, as both art and craft, sensibility and science, tradition and technology. After examining film's close relation to other narrative media such as the novel, painting, photography, television, and even music, the book discusses the elements necessary to understand how films convey meaning, and, more importantly, how we can best discern all that a film is attempting to communicate. In addition, Monaco stresses the still-evolving digital context of film throughout—one of the new sections looks at the untrustworthy nature of digital images and sound—and his chapter on multimedia brings media criticism into the twenty-first century with a thorough discussion of topics like virtual reality, cyberspace, and the proximity of both to film.
With hundreds of illustrative black-and-white film stills and diagrams, How to Read a Film is an indispensable addition to the library of everyone who loves the cinema and wants to understand it better.
I. Film as Art
The Nature of Art
Ways of Looking at Art
Film, Recording, and the Other Arts
The Structure of Art
II. Technology: Image and Sound
Art and Technology
Video and Film
III. The Language of Film: Signs and Syntax
IV. The Shape of Film History
V. Film Theory: Form and Function
The Poet and the Philosopher: Lindsay and Munsterberg
Expressionism and Realism: Arnheim and Kracauer
Montage: Pudovkin, Eisenstein, Balazs, and Formalism
Mise en Scene: Neorealism, Bazin, and Godard
Film Speaks and Acts: Metz and Contemporary Theory
VI. Media: The Middle of Things
Print and Electronic Media
The Technology of Mechanical and Electronic Media
Radio and Records
Television and Video
VII. Multimedia: The Digital Revolution
The Digital Revolution
The Myth of Multimedia
The Myth of Virtual Reality
The Myth of Cyberspace
"What is to be Done?"
Film and Media: A Chronology
Reading About Film and Media
Posted November 19, 2010
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