What Goes around Comes Around: The Films of Jonathan Demme


This superb study by Michael Bliss and Christina Banks is the first book-length work to critically address the films of Jonathan Demme, from his first major work in 1974, Caged Heat, to his most recent, Philadelphia. In tracing the themes and techniques that Demme has developed and perfected through two decades, Bliss and Banks point out the distinctive qualities of a Demme film: his sensitive and sympathetic treatment of characters; his use of wry humor, which aids his audience in appreciating human shortcomings; and his sense of joy in the filmmaking process. A graduate of what might be called the Roger Corman School of Filmmaking, Demme quickly managed to outgrow his exploitation film background and establish himself as a director whose concerns for humanistic issues, use of the newest and finest strains in contemporary music, and fascination with darker subjects in the midst of an often comic vision mark him as an impressive cinematic force. Demme is more interested in interpersonal relationsand feelings than in deeds, an attitude complemented by his focus on issues of sexual equality and justice. Allowing for the kinds of fictional conclusions involving renewal and hope that exemplify the true mythos of comedy, Demme's films exemplify a statement that occurs in both Something Wild and Married to the Mob: "What goes around comes around".

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Carbondale, IL
Publication year:
  • 1996


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