As the leaves crunch underfoot and the wintry chill intensifies, you may realize: it’s time to think of a good gift for that friend of yours who’s already packed their shelves to the gills with Blu-rays and back issues of Cahiers du Cinéma. Have no fear. Covering books, home video, music, posters, and apparel, here are some gift ideas for the dearest cinephiles in your life.
BOOKS AND MAGAZINES
Fireflies Press recently published Pier Paolo Pasolini: Writing on Burning Paper: a beautiful set of two complementary volumes to honor the filmmaker’s centenary. The smaller book includes a revised translation of his poem “Poet of the Ashes,” while the larger volume includes tributes from 20 contemporary artists and critics, including Catherine Breillat, Jia Zhangke, Luc Moullet, Angela Schanelec, and Mike Leigh.
Written by Karen Han, Bong Joon Ho: Dissident Cinema is a mid-career monograph covering the Korean auteur’s features, shorts, and even music videos. The volume is beautifully designed by Little White Lies and includes an introduction from David Lowery.
The Cinema House and the World: The Cahiers du Cinéma Years, 1962-1981 is a vital new translation of writings by Serge Daney, only the second English-language collection of his work. As Jean-Luc Godard said, “Serge Daney was the end of film criticism as I understood it.” This edition from Semiotext(e) features a foreword from author and Baffler critic A.S. Hamrah. (Thomas Quist wrote on the volume for Notebook earlier this year.)
Maya Deren: Choreographed for the Camera, written by Mark Alice Durant, is the first full biography of Maya Deren: the result of years of research and interviews with her closest collaborators, and illustrated by a lovely selection of film stills and photographs.
Feminist film journal Another Gaze has launched a brand-new publishing imprint, Another Gaze Editions. You can gift a subscription, or bundle of their first two volumes: Marguerite Duras’s My Cinema, an extensive collection of writings by and interviews with Duras,and Lorenza Mazzetti’s The Sky Is Falling, long out-of-print since it was published in 1961.
“You are holding the Rosetta Stone for Cage,” writes Paul Scheer in a blurb for Age of Cage, a deep dive into the screen icon’s life by Keith Phipps. And who wouldn’t want to take the plunge?
At the Edges of Sleep: Moving Images and Somnolent Spectators by Jean Ma sets out to reconsider “moving images through the lens of sleep,” taking the work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul as a natural starting point. Along the way, the book touches on Georges Méliès, Andy Warhol, and Tsai Ming-liang. (And Freud to boot.)
For the deadpan humorist in your life, Camera Man: Buster Keaton, the Dawn of Cinema and the Invention of the Twentieth Century is an extraordinary new book by Dana Stevens, encompassing both the artist's biography and a cultural history of the 20th century.
Edited by Erika Balsom and Hila Peleg, Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image collects “intersectional, intergenerational, and international perspectives” on nonfiction filmmaking by women, with a particular focus on Trinh T. Minh-ha and Sarah Maldoror. The book encompasses original essays, conversations, and critical responses to archival texts by filmmakers (many of which are newly translated into English).
Gift a subscription to Outskirts, a brand-new, biannual English-language film magazine. The first issue, a beauty, included a dossier on Soviet filmmaker Boris Barnet, as well as writings on Alain Guiraudie, Albert Serra, and Judd Apatow. Read an excerpt from issue one on Notebook.
Delights abound in The Ghibliotheque Anime Movie Guide, shipping December 20: a vibrantly illustrated tour of Japanese animation by Michael Leader and Jake Cunningham.
For families with youngsters susceptible to cinephilia, ’Lil Cinephile (the creators of the card game, another good gift) published a trio of very sweet, colorful board books: My First Giallo Horror, My First French New Wave, and My First Film Noir.
BOOKS BY FILMMAKERS AND ARTISTS
Through the Billboard Promised Land Without Ever Stopping is the only work of narrative fiction written by Derek Jarman, stylishly published by Prototype. Through “anti-record label” purge.xxx, you can order the (fully illustrated) book along with a cassette of Jarman reading the book aloud.
Each edition of Letters Home by Jonas and Adolfas Mekas is “wrapped as a gift.” Collecting their missives to their mother in Lithuania, the book shows, as Hans Ulrich Obrist puts it, “the importance of writing as a way of memory-making.”
Quentin Tarantino’s first book, Cinema Speculation, is a smashing combo of film criticism and personal history. As he revisits his experiences as a young moviegoer in the 1970s, Tarantino “writes exactly as he speaks,” observes Xan Brooks in The Guardian, “fuelled by breathless enthusiasm and unexplained grudges.”
Co-written by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner, Heat 2 is both sequel and prequel to the 1995 film, a “bildungsroman for a world built on misdirection,” according to J.D. Connor in his Notebook review. In audiobook form, it’s appropriate for contemplative nights on the road in Los Angeles.
Another long-overdue translation is A Few Personal Messages, the memoir of Pierre Clémenti, whose status as a ’60s and ’70s European arthouse mainstay was disrupted by wrongful imprisonment. For Madeleine Wall, writing in Notebook, Claire Foster’s translation reveals a “stark and moving text…grounded in Clémenti’s radical politics and ethos as an artist. He is always a poet, even as prison takes away his language.”
For more fiction, Semiotext(e) has published the first complete collection of stories by underground actress Cookie Mueller. Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black couples the original 1990 book with previously unpublished writings.
Over Time brings together experimental American filmmakers James Benning and Sharon Lockhart into a “collaborative, almost stream-of-consciousness text,” showing how each artist informed and inspired the other.
Devotees of La Grande Bouffe can replicate the positive aspects of that film—that is, they can whip up a wonderful feast—with the aid of actor Ugo Tognazzi’s book The Injester, serving up behind-the-scenes tales and recipes aplenty.
To accompany the reissue of Kier-La Janisse’s book House of Psychotic Women, Severin and Janisse collect “four of the strongest and strangest explorations of onscreen delirium and hysteria” for this box set, the first time these films have been released on American Blu-ray. Among them, Elizabeth Taylor in Identikit (adapting Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat) and the Polish vampire-comedy I Like Bats.
The Criterion Collection has released a new box set from Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project, collecting such previously hard-to-see masterworks as Sarah Maldoror’s Sambizanga and Mohammad Reza Aslani’s Chess of the Wind.
Cinema Guild’s sleekly designed new Hong Sang-soo box set comprises Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, Our Sunhi, and Oki’s Movie, along with a booklet of newly commissioned essays and a few featurettes of full-length talks by Hong himself.
Available through Vinegar Syndrome, the American Genre Film Archive is releasing three limited-edition Doris Wishman box sets—as the label aptly puts it, Wishman “created collisions between surrealism and exploitation that feel like they materialized from an alternate universe.” New restorations and plentiful special features are presented in three volumes: The Twilight Years, The Moonlight Years, and The Daylight Years.
From A24, a double-feature Blu-ray set including both parts of Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir. Goodies include Hogg’s Tilda Swinton-starring graduate thesis film Caprice, a booklet with an essay by Elif Batuman, and production sketches and writings from Hogg’s prose outlines.
We plugged Volume One of Arrow’s Shawscope in last year’s guide, and this year, you can complete the set with Volume Two. Luxuriate in ten more discs of freshly restored action classics, with tons of “eighties excess” from the final years of the Hong Kong studio.
Fans of Jocelyn Pook’s eerie score for Eyes Wide Shut may be interested to learn that she composed only one additional film score prior to that point, for Blight by British experimental filmmaker John Smith. A limited-edition vinyl release of this score—newly remastered and with an additional, extended track—is available through purge.xxx.
Tiger Lab Vinyl offers a wide range of scores from the golden age of anime, with many a marbled vinyl to adorn your turntable. (Above: the score for Death Note.)
Sure to delight the Claire Denis fan in your life is Past Imperfect, a compilation spanning the 30-year work of the “mavens of intimate and expansive mood-song” Tindersticks.
Nosferatu: The Call of the Death Bird is a newly-commissioned score for Nosferatu by lutist and frequent Jim Jarmusch collaborator Jozef van Wissem. A limited-edition LP is available through van Wissem’s Bandcamp page.
Grasshopper Film continues to press beautiful soundtracks for their releases. Among our favorites is the seafoam-vinyl score for Sky Hopinka’s małni - towards the ocean, towards the shore and this sound collage album emerging from the production of The Works and Days, featuring selections by Eliane Radigue, Tony Conrad, and Bill Frisell.
La bête noire/Paris n’existe pas compiles two previously unreleased scores by orchestral French funk/psych maestro Jean-Claude Vannier, the chief arranger of Histoire de Melody Nelson. A true gem from Finders Keepers, who are doing vital work as archivists of global pop. (You can opt for either the red or the yellow “beast” edition of the record.)
POSTERS, APPAREL, AND HOME GOODS
Posteritati offers a treasure trove of movie posters and memorabilia, shipping internationally from their New York gallery. Browse new arrivals, like the Japanese chirashi for David Cronenberg’s The Brood or the stylishly typeset Spanish poster for Downhill Racer.
“Look at me like a human boy!” Charles Grodin implored boy-menace Martin Short in Clifford (1994). Simply don the apparel of Human Boy Worldwide and you’ll never have to beg for such validation again. We’re smitten with the surprise portrait on the back of the A Nos Amours tee, as well as the Crossing Delancey shirt.
“It’s goofy and counterintuitive, the idea of Jacques Derrida, so profoundly skeptical of the ability of language to capture true meaning, giving way to gushing, unguarded enthusiasm as he chows down on banana bread,” writes Mark Asch in Screen Slate on the philosopher's on-the-record love of Film Forum's banana bread. The New York cinema has made a limited-edition t-shirt to honor Derrida's rave review of their concessions.
If you enjoyed watching Oliver Sim’s Hideous on MUBI earlier this fall, the XX vocalist has collaborated with Japanese streetwear company BEAMS on a capsule collection tied to his debut solo album.
All products featured on Notebook are independently selected by our editors. However, if you purchase a book through a retail link to Bookshop.org, we may earn an affiliate commission.