Monday, December 28, 2009

The Story of Film

Author: Mark Cousins
Published: 2004

Pavilion Books
Amazon Link: Click Here

This is a very well written jargon-free history of cinema. Readers interested in knowing about the finer aspects of film making will find it very enjoyable.
In this book the author a film critic, producer and documentary director has dealt with film personalities, technological advances and changes in production, well supported by discussions on the groundbreaking scenes from the films. He describes how film makers influenced each other and how contemporary events influenced them. As per the author the film makers who questioned established techniques and traditions are the ones who truly enhanced the medium of cinema.
The Story of Film goes beyond the confines of the Hollywood cinema and English films. It adequately covers the art of film making practiced in the countries like Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, India, China, Iran, Egypt etc.
There are more than 350 stills (both in Black and White and in Color) from the films to support the points made by the author.
The chapters in the book are classified under three eras of the cinema - Silent, Sound and Digital.
Silent (1895 - 1928): This part deals with how the first filmakers devised shots, cuts, close-ups and camera moves; the emergence of Hollywood, the star system and the first great directors; mainstream filmmaking and its dissidents in Germany, France America and the Soviet Union.
Sound (1928-1990): This part deals with movie genres, Japanese and Italian masters; the spread of realism in world cinema; international melodrama and new,early-modernist directors;breakdown of romantic cinema and the coming of modernism in 1950s; political cinema around the globe and the rise of blockbuster in America; the influence of video and MTV; challenging films made in non-Western countries.
Digital (1990 -2004): This part deals with how computerization took cinema beyond photography to discover new possibilities in film making.
A must read for all the serious lovers of cinema who want to develop the art of film appreciation.
It can be a very good introductory text book on history of cinema.
I consider myself very lucky to find this 500 page excellently produced and well-written book at a bargain price of Rs 450 (approx. $10) in Strand Book Exhibition, Bangalore.

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