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The History of Cinema for Beginners (Writers and Readers Documentary Comic Book) Paperback – December, 1998


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Product Details

  • Series: Writers and Readers Documentary Comic Book
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Writers & Readers; illustrated edition edition (December 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0863162754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863162756
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,707,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By rareoopdvds VINE VOICE on February 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read about 25 of these Beginners book by Writers and Readers, and have thoroughly enjoyed them, regardless of whether I liked one better than the other, or found one a bit more shallow. Unlike the other books, the History of Cinema for Beginners gives a full course on the introduction towering the other Beginner Books at 375 pages. Which is quite a book for beginners. As a typical cinema history book would begin, at the beginning with the pre-projectors of the Zoetrope and the MAgic Lantern. The from Edison to the Lumiere Brothers. Once passing into the wave of cinema and displaying the revolutonaries of Eisenstein and Griffith. The sorting into sections, coutries and movements. This book covers not just cinema, but also foreign cinema, America, Russian and just about every country that released a film. Maybe a bit overwhelming for beginners as the juxtaposition of movements, countries and styles may seem all too confusing. The author, Jarek Kupsc, may have wanted to express his depth of knowledge within the world of cinema, and came off a bit brash. Yet, besides this detail, I found this text complete in its account for the history of cinema. There is nothing new in this book that one will not find in other cinema history books, however for the beginner, this may be the route to go in the end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "ag@finkadelic.com" on June 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
The author of this Beginners book, unlike most in that series, not only has a real love of the subject, but a comprehensive understanding of its history. It takes a great deal of knowledge to create such simple gestures. The book is filled with terse encapsulations of a vast number of films from the nineteenth century to 1998 including hundreds of hilarious little cartoons. Those along make the book worth checking out. This book is an ideal introduction for students of film or even anyone looking for a great viewing list!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Captain Crunch on November 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
Obviously, the reviewer who calls himself "A Customer" has never attempted to teach a introductory course in film history. Thompson and Bordwell are important scholars in the field, and their film history book is a valuable resource to film students. Yet, their substantial film history tome is far too massive to teach reasonably in one semester, or even two, to beginning film students. Kupsc, on the other hand--though woolly at times--plants the seeds of enthusiasm and fascination in first-time students in an engaging, humorous way, which nimbly invites them into further, more meaningful research later in upper level film courses (when they are also finally ready to pay what it costs to purchase books like Thompson and Bordwell's). Kupsc's book is excellent for its uninhibited charm, for its enlightened breadth of coverage in a manageable way (during a single semester), and for its fidelity to its title ". . . for Beginners." It does not pretend to be an exhaustive treatise on film history (and its countless "anxieties of influences") like so many other texts try to do. For a beginning film history course, anyway, Kupsc works well if the instructor is knowledgeable and lively enough to fill in the gaps for students.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One might expect that the "graphic novel" style of this series would lend itself to discussing film history, but this book isn't a very good example of that.

Aside from the fact that I didn't much care for the art as art, it's used very sparingly to illustrate what is essentially a very long list (more below) interspersed with a few essays. The art generally draws on an element of one of the films discussed on that page, but rarely adds much to the discussion. There could have been detailed discussion of types of shot, editing, art direction, etc. that would use illustrations in an important way, but there's little of that here. most of the art has a kind of goofy quality to it as well that is probably intended to make the book appear accessible, but for me it just felt like the author didn't really take the subject very seriously.

In addition the text quickly devolves into a list of notable films with a sentence or two about why they're important. This quickly gets to be a pretty dull read. It's largely chronological, but sub-grouped by country and director (wwhich actually works quite well as far as that goes). There are a few independent essays inserted along the way (mostly at the beginning) that discuss independent topics. These are a bit better written, but aren't enough to salvage the book.

It does cover quite a wide range of films and it did point me at some very interesting things to watch, but overall it was pretty disappointing.

I highly reccommend A History of Narrative Film by David Cook (pick up an older edition for cheap) which goes into depth on all sorts of things and uses actual film images to illustrate its points.
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3 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
What a terrible book! It reads like the author just cribbed from other film books, having no insights of his own. In addition, the author only seems to have an interest in films made in the past ten years - anything before 1960 is given only the most cursory mention - and many filmmakers and films not mentioned at all! To leave out most of the silent era and German expressionism in particular is stupidity of the highest order. (not a mention of Pabst, for example, or his Pandora's Box or Threepenny Opera). Instead he blathers on about the most obscure independent films by bad American filmmakers that were done in the past five years - this book is little more than a laundry list of directors that can be garnered from any history of film book. Skip it.
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