The Bookshelf

By George, George L | American Cinematographer, November 1991 | Go to article overview

The Bookshelf


George, George L, American Cinematographer


Twenty Far Eastern countries are included in John A. Lent's extensive survey of The Asian Film Industry Probing the intricate production/distribution links in Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, India and other movie-producing lands. Lent examines their industries' structures, the effects of censorship and the impact of foreign imports on native filmmaking (U. of Texas Press, Austin, $32.50/14.95).

In Germany On Film, Hans Gunther Pflaum analyzes and interprets a number of complex and ideographic films by Fassbinder, Syberberg, Kluge and Herzog. Their ambiguous themes and content, Pflaum claims, caused foreign audiences to confuse image with reality, and aesthetically motivated distortion with factual truths (Wayne State U. Press, Detroit, $27.50).

In The Great German Films, Frederick W. Ott reflects upon 90 years of German cinema history. His detailed and perceptive assessment of 45 notable movies, from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Blue Angel to The Boat, highlights the social aspects of German films and their essential cultural identity (Citadel/Carol, NYC, $15.95).

Paul Coates' The Gorgon's Gaze (its title refers to the mythological monster that turned onlookers to stone) is a challenging volume that explores Germany's expressionistic horror films. Coates knowledgeably traces Oreyer's Vampyr and Murnau's Nosferatu, classics of the genre, to Orson Welles' dark noir classic Touch of Evil and Ingmar Bergman's broody The Silence (Cambridge U. Press, NYC, $49.50).

Denise J. Youngblood's informative study Soviet Cinema in the Silent Era offers a striking assessment of film's role as the "dynamic art form of the proletarian masses" in the years following the 1917 Russian revolution. The book reviews the work of Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Kuleshov and other Soviet filmmakers in a comprehensive coverage of an intensely creative period (L). of Texas Press, Austin, $14.95).

Drawing on the unique poster collection of Moscow's Lenin Library, Nina Baburina has selected 200 remarkably diverse and intensive examples of Soviet graphic art, reproduced in full color, in The Soviet Arts Poster. Examples are culled from the worlds of advertising, film, theater, ballet and the circus (Penguin, NYC, $24.95).

John Canemaker's Felix recounts the twisted history of Felix the Cat, a cartoon character that preceded Mickey Mouse by 10 years and marked a new era in American animation. Drawn by Otto Messmer and produced by Pat Sullivan, Felix enjoyed an immense popularity fully documented in Canemaker's amply illustrated and engaging volume (Pantheon, NYC, $30).

A sensitive and searching biography, Woody Alien by Eric Lax delves into the psychological recesses of a confusing and diffident artist's persona while chronicling his multifaceted achievements in the entertainment world. Quotes from Allen's films, stage routines, articles and comments offer considerable insight into his unique brand of comedy (Knopf, NYC, $24). …

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