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The award-winning film Dont Look Back (1967) captures Bob Dylan on tour and on the cusp of change in 1965. Dylan was rapidly shedding his image as a folk musician and being reborn as a rock persona – and D. A. Pennebaker was there to record this fascinating transformation. This insightful book charts the ways in which Pennebaker revised aspects of observational 'direct cinema', a style of film-making that he helped to pioneer, in order to represent in innovative ways Dylan's onstage performances and backstage actions. Keith Beattie's perceptive and nuanced analysis explains the relationship between 'pose' and the performative presentation of 'persona', which forms the basis of the film's portrayal, and explores Pennebaker's relationship with Dylan in the film-making process. In doing so, the book highlights many remarkable moments from Dont Look Back and demonstrates how this landmark film eschewed the informationalism of the documentary form, revealing a captivating portrait of its beguiling subject.
Part thinking-man s fan crush, part crazily inspired remix of the most beloved of film genres, this book will force scholars and film lovers alike to view film noir afresh"
Fifty years after its release, The Sound of Music (1965) remains the most profitable and recognisable film musical ever made. Quickly consolidating its cultural authority, the Hollywood film soon eclipsed the German film and Broadway musical that preceded it to become one of the most popular cultural reference points of the twenty-first century. In this fresh exploration, Caryl Flinn foregrounds the film's iconic musical numbers, arguing for their central role in the film's longevity and mass appeal. Stressing the unique emotional bond audiences establish with The Sound of Music, Flinn traces the film's prehistories, its place amongst the tumultuous political, social and cultural events of the 1960s, and its spirited afterlife among fans around the world.
The release of Star Wars in 1977 marked the start of what would become a colossal global franchise. Star Wars remains the second highest-grossing film in the United States, and George Lucas's six-part narrative has grown into something more: a culture that goes far beyond the films themselves, with tie-in toys, novels, comics, games and DVDs as well as an enthusiastic fan community which creates its own Star Wars fictions. Critical studies of Star Wars have treated it as a cultural phenomenon, or in terms of its special effects, fans and merchandising, or as a film that marked the end of New Hollywood's innovation and the birth of the blockbuster. Will Brooker's illuminating study of the film takes issue with many of these commonly-held ideas about Star Wars. He provides a close analysis of Star Wars as a film, carefully examining its shots, editing, sound design, cinematography and performances. Placing the film in the context of George Lucas's previous work, from his student shorts to his 1970s features, and the diverse influences that shaped his approach, from John Ford to Jean-Luc Godard, Brooker argues that Star Wars is not, as Lucas himself has claimed, a departure from his earlier cinema, but a continuation of his experiments with sound and image. He reveals Lucas's contradictory desires for total order and control, embodied by the Empire, and for the raw energy and creative improvisation of the Rebels. What seemed a simple fairy-tale becomes far more complex when we realise that the director is rooting for both sides; and this tension unsettles the saga as a whole, blurring the boundaries between Empire and Republic, dark side and light side, father and son.
The liveliest and best account yet of Spielberg's greatest masterpiece.
Tracing the history of the documentary from the first Lumiere films to Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, Chanan addresses topics such as the documentary before documentary, how documentary film language works, the veracity of the image, the problems of the soundtrack, the migration of documentary to television, political documentary, censorship, first-person film-making, and the relations of the archives to history and memory. Focusing on the vital contribution of documentary to the public sphere--the space in which ideas are debated, public opinion is formed and those in authority are held to account--Chanan argues that, without documentary, the public sphere is unable to function.