The Power of Film

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America's most distinguished film professor provides the definitive A to Z course on the intricacies of film. Each entry in this remarkable book, which represents a lifetime of teaching film, has already inspired and educated several generations of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers and writers. This book examines the patterns and principles that make films popular and memorable, and will be useful both for those who want to create films and for those who just want to understand them better. Advance Review Quotes: "Howard Suber's understanding of film storytelling fills the pages of this wise, liberating book. Much of it is surprisingly contrary to what 'everyone knows.' A remarkable work." Francis Ford Coppola

America's most distinguished film professor provides the definitive A-to-Z course on the intricacies of film. Each entry in this remarkable book, which represents a lifetime of teaching film, has already inspired and educated several generations of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers and writers.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Using a list of popular films as his guide, veteran UCLA film school teacher Suber attempts to discern patterns and principles that make each work memorable. His book is basically a series of rambling observations arranged alphabetically under such dubious headings as "Goofy," "Intentionality," and "Simultaneity." Suber acknowledges that the entries, each of which ranges from a couple of sentences to several pages in length, "may feel like the punch lines of jokes that I've forgotten to give you the setup for" (e.g., Hollywood is described as "a mythical kingdom that millions of people seek to enter but once they do, will never admit they're a part of"). Readers are likely to be disappointed by the lack of specific film references. Unfortunately, this book is neither provocative nor valuable as a film reference tool. Libraries needing something along these lines would be better off purchasing Pauline Kael's 5001 Nights at the Movies, an A-to-Z listing and evaluation of specific films that works as a unified vision of film history and criticism. Stephen Rees, Levittown P.L., PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932907179
  • Publisher: Wiese, Michael Productions
  • Publication date: 11/25/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 683,044
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Suber has taught more than 65 different courses in 40 years at UCLA's celebrated film schoo. He has been a consultant to every major film studio, and his former students are currently active throughout the world.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2006

    Zen for Film

    THE POWER OF FILM is zen. Spare, but overflowing. This is one book on film that respects the reader. It does not tell you what to think or impose ¿expert¿ opinions. Rather, Howard Suber¿s THE POWER OF FILM gives you his observations then allows the reader to understand and experience for him/herself. Even better, it¿s fun. Don¿t read this book on the subway, in a coffee shop, or when you¿re pretending to work at your desk. The giveaway will be your yelped aha¿s piercing the ambient din. Suber has sculpted a monumental body of knowledge into an accessible, quickly referenced work that¿if it were a film¿would haunt you with those epic images and classic dialog that make memorable films part of us all. Suber knows Film. That means the making, the money, the heartache, but most of all that Film with a capital F is an overarching phenomenon, not merely merchandise. It affects our lives. We live through it, we use it as a touchstone. It is this psychological aspect¿the slippery intangibles of our interactions with film¿that Suber wrestles with, and wins. As a psychologist before I was a screenwriter, I was trained to study behavior as a complexity to be approached with respect, the scientific method, an armload of tests to be interpreted and, oh yes, billed for. Tests like the Rorschach are called ¿projective¿ for a reason: we supposedly hurl our subconscious fears, desires and emotions onto an ambiguous stimulus¿an inkblot that can be a car crash, or mom. Suber applies this to how we fling ourselves onto film. He uses Kuleshov¿s famous experiment where the actor Mozukhin who stares blankly at the camera was perceived as having specific, strong emotions depending on what images he was intercut with, like a coffin or a bowl of soup or an older woman assumed, baselessly, to be mom. It swiftly makes Suber¿s case that the audience is an ¿an active collaborator¿ in interpreting what is on the screen. Audiences come to film looking for themselves. Filmmakers and other artists make themselves crazy worrying that the audience is thinking about them. No, the audience is thinking about themselves: their relationships with their families, their lovers, their friends and enemies, all to the extent that the work touches them. So what Suber nudges us to discover is really the bottom line. What makes a film memorable and popular is based on ¿principles that deal not so much with style and technique as with the psychology of storytelling, which is ultimately the psychology of human beings.¿ THE POWER OF FILM speaks volumes. It is a book you can dip into and come away awash in aha¿s. Evocative and provocative, it impels you to think about film in new ways. THE POWER OF FILM is lean, accessible, vivid¿like those scenes you carry with you from your favorite films¿ memorable. --Roberta Degnore, Ph.D.-filmmaker/ psychologist [New York, Los Angeles]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2009

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