School Library Journal11/01/2014
Gr 5–8—Written in a snappy, journalistic style, these texts offer rich, nuanced views of the filmmakers' lives. They especially shine when spotlighting the ways in which failures can lead to successes. For example, James Cameron believes he gained wisdom from a low point in his life when working as a school janitor, and Sofia Coppola feels that her acting—panned by critics—helped her become a better director. The Kathryn Bigelow book is especially full of winning and unexpected details; for instance, she once lived in a bank vault and drove a taxi. We learn that one of her artistic influences was Jackson Pollock, whose paintings are reproduced here. This series is more text-heavy than others, but the images included are knockouts. Students will come away with a strong cultural understanding both of film and the other art forms that shape it.