The Bookshelf

Article excerpt

The constantly increasing use of videography, both by professionals and amateurs, has led to the publication by the American Society of Cinematographers of the American Cinematographer Video Manual. Compiled by Frank Beacham, it is a notable companion piece to the indispensable American Cinematographer Manual and carries the same authoritative weight. The new manual is chock full of practical information and advice to videographers, with emphasis on the operation and manipulation of available equipment. Its thorough coverage includes lighting, lenses, exposures, luminance, color and other essential aspects of the craft. The book's flexible binding makes it a convenient field reference tool (ASC Press, Hollywood, $34.95).

In Reframing Japanese Cinema, Arthur Nolletti, Jr. and David Desser analyze the Japanese film industry's leading personalities, artistic styles and historical progress with remarkable insight (Indiana U. Press, Bloomington, $39.95/18.95). Japanese cinema under U.S. occupation (1945-52) is traced by Kyoko Hirano in Mr. Smith Goes to Tokyo, a scholarly study of the well-meaning but often misguided effort to "Americanize" native ways of life (Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C., $34.95).

Japanese director Nagisa Oshimas' Cinema, Censorship, and the State is an articulate statement of his struggle for artistic freedom. The author pinpoints In the Realm of the Senses, a film whose predicament stemmed as much from its sexual explicitness as from its production problems (MIT, Cambridge, MA, $35).

Prof. Philip M. Taylor's biography Steven Spielberg is a perceptive study that focuses on the director's creativity, his films and the diversity of their meaning. The author reserves special praise for Spielberg's deep awareness of film culture and film history (Continuum, NYC, $17.95).

A noted director's artistic stimuli are interpreted by Charles Champlin in George Lucas: The Creative Impulse. This amply illustrated large-format volume traces Lucas' career, crediting his visual imagination, his belief in the power of film, and his technological pioneering in such landmark films as Star Wars, Willow, and the Indiana Jones series (Abrams, NYC, $39.95).

The personal and artistic bonding between Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich has brought forth a significant book that transcribes their far-flung and searching conversations over a ten-year period. This is Orson Welles captures the uniqueness of a true Renaissance man whose versatility and multiple talents left a lasting mark. A four-hour audiotape cassette of the talks has been released simultaneously with the book (HarperCollins, NYC, $30/cassette $25).

Dealing with theatrical presentations, Susan Cole's Directors in Rehearsal offers insightful assessments of staging styles and effective methods of actor-handling that film and television directors will find most useful in their own fields (Routledge, NYC, $49.95/15.95).

A survey of theoretical critiques of cinema, Aesthetics of Film (by Jacques Aumont and a slew of other contributors) effectively summarizes a number of significant contributions to the field. …