The Magic Hour: Film at Fin de Siecle

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The "magic hour" is the name film-makers give the pre-dusk late afternoon, when anything photographed can be bathed in a melancholy golden light. A similar mood characterized the movies of the 1990s, occasioned by cinema's 1995-96 centennial and the waning of the twentieth century, as well as the decline of cinephilia and the seemingly universal triumph of Hollywood.

The Magic Hour: Film at Fin de Siècle anthologizes J. Hoberman's movie reviews, cultural criticism, and political essays, published in The Village Voice, Artforum, and elsewhere during the period bracketed by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the World Trade Towers. Demonstrating Hoberman's range as a critic, this collection reflects on the influence of Fritz Lang, as well as Quentin Tarantino, on the end of the Western and representation of the Gulf War, the Hong Kong neo-wave and the "boomerography" manifest in the cycle of movies inspired by the reign of Bill Clinton. As in his previous anthology, Vulgar Modernism: Writings on Movies and Other Media (nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award), Hoberman's overriding interest is the intersection of popular culture and political power at the point where the history of film merges with what Jean-Luc Godard called "the film of history. "

Author Biography: J. Hoberman is Film Critic at The Village Voice.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
In his new collection of criticism from The Village Voice and other publications, J. Hoberman comes across as one of the few film writers whose work has no expiration date. It may even be better read after the fact because he takes the long view every time. — Ted Loos
Library Journal
Although it mostly covers films and personalities from the era between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the destruction of the Twin Towers, this collection of previously published essays and articles references numerous earlier motion pictures as well. The always readable Hoberman, film critic of the Village Voice, wittily discusses-and often skewers-a range of better- and lesser-known films, from Vertigo and Kiss Me Deadly to Schindler's List and Mulholland Drive. Of equal interest are his thoughts on the 1990s political scene, especially Bob Dole, George Bush Sr., and Bill Clinton, whom he dubs the "Show Biz President." He also writes insightfully on the cultural history of the final years of the 20th century, the future of the cinema, and the ongoing role of the film critic. Completing this interesting m lange are Hoberman's often quirky choices for the ten best films of each year between 1991 and 2000. Recommended for larger libraries and cinema collections.-Roy Liebman, California State Univ., Los Angeles Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566399951
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Series: Culture and the Moving Image Ser.
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: All as it Had Been 1
I Pulp Fictions 9
II Adventures in Dreamland 41
III Once and Future Vanguards 83
IV The History of Film, the Film of History 123
V Our Rock 'n' Roll President 181
The Film Critic of Tomorrow, Today 229
App Ten "10 Best" Lists, 1991-2000 241
Index 257
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