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A LIBRARY OF FILM BOOKS

by Kenji
In a 2010 edition of the British film mag Sight and Sound, there was a poll of numerous critics’ 5 favourite film books. So i thought i’d add many of the books nominated to some of my own favourites and other notable books, towards a decent library. The Sight and Sound poll was dominated by Anglo-American opinion and books, and also French critics were held in high esteem, but generally it lacked a decent international spread (partly due to books not translated), and as so often, women are under-represented among both respondents and favourites. It is surely the case that fine writers from a wide range of countries have written excellent… Read more

In a 2010 edition of the British film mag Sight and Sound, there was a poll of numerous critics’ 5 favourite film books. So i thought i’d add many of the books nominated to some of my own favourites and other notable books, towards a decent library. The Sight and Sound poll was dominated by Anglo-American opinion and books, and also French critics were held in high esteem, but generally it lacked a decent international spread (partly due to books not translated), and as so often, women are under-represented among both respondents and favourites. It is surely the case that fine writers from a wide range of countries have written excellent books that deserve translation, distribution and attention. In the section for films underneath, I’ve listed some films covered well in the BFI Classics series of books and prominently elsewhere.

My favourites over the years (though most are now getting outdated):

Figures Traced in Light (David Bordwell)
This concentrates on 4 directors- with a packed chapter each-, who are masters of staging: Feuillade, Mizoguchi, Angelopoulos and Hou. Bordwell is an expert on details of how films are made and he also addresses and criticises Hollywood’s “intensified continuity” of recent years.

Flickers (Gilbert Adair)
100 film stills, each representing a year of cinema from 1895-1994. Adair’s prose is delightfully florid and snobbish, his style and article on Rope influenced my shorter review on Russian Ark here.

A History of Narrative Film (David Cook)
An astonishing achievement, Cook seems familiar with and master of a huge range of films and national cinemas.

Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema (Ashish Rajadhyaksha, Paul Willemen)
I don’t know if this has been updated since 1999 but it’s crammed with info on numerous films and contributors to Indian cinema, and with sharp insights both specific and panoramic

Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye (Andrew Robinson)
Impeccable bio: wise, sound, sufficiently in-depth, unpretentious job by Robinson whose knowledge and love for the subject shines through without any fanboy excess or blinkers

Top 100 Movies (John Kobal)
80 international critics pick their top 10s for an overall 100. Still a useful intro to many classics, this is the book that really got me hooked on world cinema in the late 80s, and introduced me to names i was unfamiliar with like Tarkovsky and Mizoguchi. And so the wonderful discoveries began, a time of heady excitement that sadly cannot be recaptured.

Gilbert Adair: Flickers: A History of the Cinema in 100 Images

James Agee: Agee on Film: Reviews and Comments

John Alton: Painting with Light

Dudley Andrew: The Major Film Theories

Dudley Andrew & Carole Cavanaugh: Sansho Dayu

Geoff Andrew: Directors A-Z
(ed) Film: The Critics’ Choice
The Film Handbook

Kenneth Anger: Hollywood Babylon

Jacques Aumont, Michel Marie: L’Analyse des Films

Charles Barr: Ealing Studios

André Bazin: Essays on Chaplin
What is Cinema?

Jennifer M. Bean, Anupama Kapse, Laura Horak: Silent Cinema and the Politics of Space

David Berry: Wales and Cinema: The First Hundred Years

Peter Biskind: Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

Audie Bock: Japanese Film Directors

Peter Bondanella: Italian Cinema: From Neo-Realism to the Present

David Bordwell: Figures Traced in Light
The Way Hollywood Tells It

David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson: Film Art: An Introduction
Film History: An Introduction

David Bordwell and Noel Carroll: Post Theory

Richard Boston: Boudu Saved from Drowning

Stan Brakhage: Film at Wit’s End: Essays on American Independent Film-makers

Robert Bresson: Notes on the Cinematographer

Andrew Britton: Katharine Hepburn: The Star as Feminist

Louise Brooks: Lulu in Hollywood

Kevin Brownlow: David Lean: A Biography
The Parade’s Gone By

Giuliano Bruno: Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture and Film

Luis Bunuel: My Last Breath

Noel Burch: Theory of Film Practice

Simon Callow: Night of the Hunter

Ian Cameron: The Book of Film Noir

Ray Carney: The Films of John Cassavetes: Pragmatism, Modernism and the Movies

Allan Casabier: Film Appreciation

Charles Chaplin: My Autobiography

Godfrey Cheshire: In the Time of Kiarostami

Michel Ciment: Kubrick

Jean Cocteau: Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film

David Cook: A History of Narrative Film

Shaun Considine: Betty and Joan: The Divine Feud

Pam Cook (ed): The Cinema Book

Roger Corman: How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime

Mark Cousins: The Story of Film

Mark Cousins, Kevin Macdonald (eds): Imagining Reality

Hamid Dabashi: Close Up: Iranian Cinema, Past, Present and Future
Masters and Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema

Serge Daney: Given the Increase in Handbag Thefts

Antoine de Baecque and Serge Toubiana: Truffaut

Guy Debord: The Society of the Spectacle

Gilles Deleuze: Cinema 1
Cinema 2

David Desser: Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to Japanese New Wave Cinema

Nathan Dunne (ed): Tarkovsky

Raymond Durgnat: Durgnat on Film
Films and Feelings
Jean Renoir
Nouvelle Vague: The First Decade
W.R.Mysteries of the Organism

Sergei Eisenstein: Film Form and Film Sense
Method

Lotte Eisner: The Haunted Screen

Thomas Elsaesser: Fassbinder’s Germany
Weimar Cinema and After

Robert Evans: The Kid Stays in the Picture

Manny Farber: Negative Space: Manny Farber on the Movies

Hollis Frampton: On the Camera Arts and Consecutive Matters: The Writings of Hollis Frampton

Marc Fursteau: The Film Theory Reader

Tag Gallagher: John Ford: The Man and his Films

Louis Giannetti: Understanding Movies

Jean-Luc Godard: Godard on Godard

Peter Hames: The Czechoslovak New Wave

James Harvey: Romantic Comedy in Hollywood: From Lubitsch to Sturges

Hasumi Shigehiko: Kantuko Ozu Yasujiro

Ronald Haver: David O Selznick’s Hollywood

Andrew Horton (ed): The Last Modernist: The Films of Theo Angelopoulos

Guillermo Cabrere Infante: A 20th Century Job

Joris Ivens: The Camera and I

Alexander Jacoby: A Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors

Randal Johnson, Robert Stam: Brazilian Cinema

Pauline Kael: Reeling

Elia Kazan: A Life

Ehsan Khoshbakht: Celluloid Architecture

John Kobal: Top 100 Movies

Siegfried Kracauer: From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film

Kyung Hyun Kim: The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema

Mikhail Lampolski: Intertextuality and Film

Mark le Fanu: The Cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky
Mizoguchi and Japan

Jay Leyda: Kino: A History of the Russian and Soviet Cinema

Jacques Lourcelles (ed): Dictionnaire du Cinéma

Sidney Lumet: Making Movies

Derek Malcolm: A Century of Films

James Roy McBean: Film and Revolution

Millicent Marcus: Italian Film in the Light of Neo-Realism

Todd McCarthy: Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood

Alberto Mira (ed): The Cinema of Spain and Portugal

Jean Mitry: The Aesthetics and Psychology of the Cinema
Semiotics and the Analysis of Film

James Monaco: How to Read a Film

Michel Mourlet: La Mise-en-Scene Comme un Langage

Laura Mulvey: Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema

James Naremore: More than Night: Film Noir in its Contents

Bill Nichols: Movies and Methods
Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary

Geoffrey Nowell-Smith (ed): The Oxford History of World Cinema

Oshima Nagisa (et al): Cinema, Censorshop and the State: the Writings of Oshima Nagisa

Robert Parrish: Growing up in Hollywood

Gregor Patalas: Geschichte des Films

Gilberto Perez: The Material Ghost: Films and their Medium

V.F.Perkins: Film as Film

Michael Powell: A Life in Movies

Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willemen: Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema

Satyajit Ray: Our Lives, Their Lives

Jean Renoir: My Life and my Films

Donald Richie: A Hundred Years of Japanese Film
Ozu

Andrew Robinson: Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye

Jonathan Rosenbaum: Placing Movies: the Practice of Film Criticism
Essential Cinema: The Importance of Film Canons
(ed) This is Orson Welles

Jonathan Rosenbaum and Mehrnaz Saeed Vafa: Abbas Kiarostami

Richard Roud (ed): Cinema: A Critical Dictionary
A Passion for Films

Raul Ruiz: Poetics of Cinema

Catherine Russell: The Cinema of Naruse Mikio: Women and Japanese Modernity

Georges Sadoul: Dictionary of Film

Andrew Sarris: The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929-68
Confessions of a Cultist
You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet

Sato Tadao: Currents in Japanese Cinema
Mizoguchi Kenji and the Art of Japanese Cinema

Thomas Schatz: The Genius of the System: Hollywood Film-Making in the Studio Era

Paul Schrader: Transcendental Style in Film

Martin Scorsese: A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies

Alexander Sesonske: Jeaen Renoir: The French Films, 1924-39

Ella Shohat, Robert Stam: Unthinking Eurocentricsm

Douglas Sirk: Sirk on Sirk: Interviews with Jon Halliday

P.Adams Sitney: Visionary Film

Josef von Sternberg: Fun in a Chinese Laundry

Howard Suber: The Power of Film

Roger Tailleur: Viv®e le Cinéma

Andrei Tarkovsky: Sculpting in Time

David Thomson: A Biographical Dictionary of Film
Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1000 Films

Pete Tombs: Mondo Macabro: Weird & Wonderful Cinemas around the World

Trinh T.Minh-ha: When the Moon Waxes Red: Gender and Cultural Politics

Francois Truffaut: The Films in my Life
Hitchcock

Noel Vera: Critic After Dark : A Review of Philippine Cinema

Amos Vogel: Film as a Subversive Art

Virginia Wexman: A History of Film

Richard Williams: The Animator’s Survival Kit: A Manual of Methods, Principles, and Formulas for Classical, Computer, Games, Stop Motion, and Internet Animators

Peter Wollen: Signs and Meanings in the Cinema

Robin Wood: Hitchcock’s Films
Personal Views: Explorations in Film

Yoda Yoshikata: Memories of Mizoguchi

Yoshimoto Mitushiro: Kurosawa

Zhang Yingjin: Chinese National Cinema

Zhen Ni: Memoirs of the Beijing Film Academy

Mitchel Zukoff: Robert Altman: The Oral Biography

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(Yoda’s is a little pocket book i like to turn to, only translated into French not English)

Other recommendations very welcome, especially from or about neglected countries, and recent ones as I’m not so up on them

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