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Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber Hardcover – October 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
And then he wrote. Farber wrote in a way that no one else did.
Farber started writing in the 1940s. His early reviews are still interesting as starting points before seeing the films he discusses. He had an uncanny knack for separating the fluff from substance and stopping great films and great directors long before others did (Hawks, Preston Sturges, Sam Fuller, Fassbinder, Herzog, and Michael Snow to name a few directors Farber championed). And he moved past mere plot summary and analysis to reviewing films in a whole new way.
This collection lets the reader watch Farber grow over time in his understanding of movies and in his writing. By the 1960s, he is writing essays(like his famous and influential "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art). His later collaboration with Patricia Patterson, an artist and Farber's wife, resulted in pieces that are never short of brilliant.
Farber is at his best when he is pulling and pushing the reader through a maze of thoughts, imagines and word gymnastics to come out the other end of the essay with a whole new way of looking at things. To say that he is non-linear in this thought process is an understatement. Only a great writer like Farber can pull it off.Read more ›
Schopenhauer advised students not to let their teachers read their Kant for them. Unfortunately, many filmgoers do let their favorite critics watch their films for them. Many critics want to be authorities. Farber resists the regimenting of film experience and film tastes. He communicates the act and process of watching a film. I have learned more from him than any other film critic.
I discovered Farber when the anthology Negative Space was first published. At that time, Andrew Sarris was dominating the film scene in New York and possibly around the country. Sarris originized everything by cataloging good and bad director, major and minor films of each director, and a major and minor films by year. This game leads to people talking about films in broad categories rather than talking intelligently about what actually makes a film tick.
Farber probably will never gain the large following of critics who are looking for prestige but he deserves a wider audience simply because his much needed type of iconoclasm and his gifts of seeing each film anew might rub off on others.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Library of America is one of my favorite publishers, and film criticism one of my favorite things to read. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jose Pouso
I like Manny. I took a film class from him at UCSD. Entertaining and challenging. Got me interested on studying art.Published 18 months ago by Anne Martin