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June 2004, Week 5


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David Weininger <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 29 Jun 2004 16:16:07 -0400
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I thought readers of the Screen-L: Film and TV Studies Discussion List might
be interested in this book.  For more information, please visit  Thank you!


Three Philosophical Filmmakers
Hitchcock, Welles, Renoir
Irving Singer

Although Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Jean Renoir do not pontificate
about "eternal verities or analytical niceties," as Irving Singer remarks in
Three Philosophical Filmmakers, each expresses, through his work, his
particular vision of reality. In this study of these great directors, Singer
examines the ways in which meaning and technique interact within their
different visions.

Singer's account reveals Hitchcock, Welles, and Renoir to be not only
consummate artists and inspired craftsmen but also sophisticated theorists of
film and its place in human experience. They left behind numerous essays,
articles, and interviews in which they discuss the nature of their own work
as well as more extensive issues. Singer draws on their writings, as well as
their movies, to show the pervasive importance of what they did as dedicated

Hitchcock used his mastery of contrived devices not as mere formalism
divorced from content, Singer notes, but in order to evoke emotional
responses that are meaningful in themselves and that matter greatly to
millions of people. Singer's discussion of Hitchcock's work analyzes, among
other things, his ideas about suspense, romance, and the comic. Singer also
makes a detailed comparison of the original Psycho with Gus Van Sant's recent
remake. Considering the work of Welles, Singer shows how and why the theme of
vanished origins--"the myth of the past"--recurs in many of his films,
starting with the Rosebud motif in Citizen Kane and continuing much later in
his little-known masterpiece The Immortal Story. Expanding upon Renoir's
comment that his own films were "always the same film," Singer studies his
entire work as a coherent though evolving search for contact and
"conversation" with the audience. While recognizing the primacy of technique,
Renoir used cinematic artifice in the service of that humanistic aspiration.

Irving Singer is Professor of Philosophy at MIT and the author of many books.

6 x 9, 312 pp., 4 illus., cloth, ISBN 0-262-19501-1

David Weininger
Associate Publicist
The MIT Press
5 Cambridge Center, 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA  02142
617 253 2079
617 253 1709 fax

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