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"A significant contribution to the field. Koresky is able to both chart the development of Davies' cinema, while convincingly conveying the coherence and continuity of both theme and style at the heart of this very singular auteur."-Duncan Petrie, author of Creativity and Constraint in the British Film Industry
"Michael Koresky, a staff writer for the American video distribution company The Criterion Collection, regards Terence Davies's work as "one of the richest, most idiosyncratic, and arrestingly experimental bodies of work put out by a narrative filmmaker", and his monograph in the University of Illinois Contemporary Film Directors series is both informative and insightful. An unusual life in many ways, it's the progress of a gay working-class Catholic autodidact from boyhood cinephile obsessed with popular, mainly Hollywood movies through to an adult arthouse cineaste of worldwide renown."-Philip French, Sight and Sound, 1st January 2015
Called the most important British filmmaker of his generation, Terence Davies made his reputation with modern classics like Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes, personal works exploring his fractured childhood in Liverpool. His idiosyncratic and unorthodox narrative films defy easy categorization; though they would seem to exist within the realms of realism and personal memory cinema, the films lay bare the director's personal pain in a daringly abstract way.
Film critic Michael Koresky explores the unique emotional tenor of Davies' work by focusing on four paradoxes within the director's oeuvre: films that are autobiographical yet fictional; melancholy yet elating; conservative in tone and theme yet radically constructed; and obsessed with the passing of time yet frozen in time and space. Through these contradictions, the films' intricate designs reveal a cumulative, deeply personal meditation on the self. Koresky also analyzes how Davies' ongoing negotiation of--and struggle with--questions of identity related to his past and his homosexuality imbue the details and jarring juxtapositions in his films with a queer sensibility, which is too often overlooked due to the complexity of Davies' work and his unfashionable ambivalence toward his own sexual orientation.
Michael Koresky is staff writer and associate editor at The Criterion Collection and cofounder of the online film magazine Reverse Shot.
University of Illinois Press
August 2014 184pp 21 black and white photographs, filmography 9780252080210 PB £15.99 now only £11.99* when you quote CSL215FILD when you order
"Bertellini is admirably succinct and evocative in discussing Kusturica's aesthetic management and no less insightful in discussing critical perspectives on the sociocultural, political thematic underpinnings of his major films."-Daniel Goulding, author of Liberated Cinema: The Yugoslav Experience, 1945-2001
Emir Kusturica is one of Eastern Europe's most celebrated and influential filmmakers. Over the course of a thirty-year career, Kusturica has navigated a series of geopolitical fault lines to produce subversive, playful, often satiric works. On the way he won acclaim and widespread popularity while showing a genius for adjusting his poetic pitch--shifting from romantic realist to controversial satirist to sentimental jester.
Leading scholar-critic Giorgio Bertellini divides Kusturica's career into three stages--dissention, disconnection, and dissonance--to reflect both the historic and cultural changes going on around him and the changes his cinema has undergone. He uses Kusturica's Palme d'Or winning Underground (1995)--the famously inflammatory take on Yugoslav history after World War II--as the pivot between the tone of romantic, yet pungent critique of the director's early works and later journeys into Balkanist farce marked by slapstick and a self-conscious primitivism.
Eschewing the one-sided polemics Kusturica's work often provokes, Bertellini employs balanced discussion and critical analysis to offer a fascinating and up-to-date consideration of a major figure in world cinema.
Giorgio Bertellini is an associate professor in the departments of screen arts and cultures, and romance languages and literatures, at the University of Michigan. He is the author of the award-winning Italy in Early American Cinema: Race, Landscape, and the Picturesque.
University of Illinois Press
December 2014 192pp 21 black and white photographs, filmography 9780252080449 PB £15.99 now only £11.99* when you quote CSL215FILD when you order
Francis Ford Coppola
"Well researched, well written, compellingly argued. Writing intelligently and coherently about an auteur as significant and complex as Francis Coppola in a short book is more of a challenge than doing so in a more expansive format. Menne proves up to the task."-Jon Lewis, author of Whom God Wishes to Destroy: Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood
Acclaimed as one of the most influential and innovative American directors, Francis Ford Coppola is also lionized as a maverick auteur at war with Hollywood's power structure and an ardent critic of the postindustrial corporate America it reflects.
However, Jeff Menne argues that Coppola exemplifies the new breed of creative corporate person and sees the director's oeuvre as vital for reimagining the corporation in the transformation of Hollywood.
Reading auteur theory as the new American business theory, Menne reveals how Coppola's vision of a new kind of company has transformed the worker into a liberated and well-utilized artist, but has also commodified individual creativity at a level unprecedented in corporate history. Coppola negotiated the contradictory roles of shrewd businessman and creative artist by recognizing the two roles are fused in a postindustrial economy.
Analyzing films like The Godfather (1970) and the overlooked Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) through Coppola's use of opera, Menne illustrates how Coppola developed a defining musical aesthetic while making films that reflected the idea of a corporation as family--and how his studio American Zoetrope came to represent a new brand of auteurism and the model for post-Fordist Hollywood.
Jeff Menne is assistant professor of screen studies and English at Oklahoma State University.
University of Illinois Press
November 2014 176pp 21 black and white photographs, filmography 9780252080371 PB £15.99 now only £11.99* when you quote CSL215FILD when you order
The Contemporary Film Directors series presents short, engagingly written, useful commentaries on living directors from around the world, including those who deserve greater attention in the English language. Each volume also includes an interview with the director, an annotated filmography, illustrations, and a bibliography. Follow the link below to view the whole series:
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