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Life As We Show It: Writing on Film Paperback – June 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0872865259 ISBN-10: 0872865258

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Publishers (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872865258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872865259
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,485,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"These passionate, vibrant essays, fragments and meditations burrow energetically into a rich and underexplored subject-how movies intersect with and interfere with and alter and define and sometimes even become our autobiographies. Staking out its turf in the netherland where film criticism meets personal history, Life As We Show It is by turns poignant and raunchy, heartfelt and creepy, and almost always provocative and inspiring. You'll leave its pages with a long list of movies to watch and rewatch, and a wealth of new ways to look at them." -Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood --Mark Harris, author of Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of The New Hollywood

"Life as We Show It, an anthology of essays, screenplays, and stories about watching movies . . . has the virtue of not treating life and cinema as obvious antagonists . . . One of the pleasures of this collection is that writing about movie viewing produces a cheerful and salutary indifference to conventional judgements of a film's 'importance'. . . 'Phone Home,' [is] Dodie Bellamy's story of her preoccupation with E.T. when her mother was dying of lung cancer. To watch as cinema's most famous stranded alien becomes by turns a figure for the narrator's alienation from her mother's body through illness and age, the alienation of the able bodied from boys like Matthew De Meritt, the boy with no legs who helped bring E.T. to life by walking on his hands, and finally an opportunity to reflect on what alien technologies like cinema can do to repair these rifts--is to have one's own ideas about how and why films matter to us completely and productively overturned. " --Nicola Evans --Film Comment

". . . this isn't just a book on film and feelings, it's actually kind of haunting in strange and lingering ways, like a silent, but heavy presence in the room. . . It's all very surreal, and equally disconcerting and concrete. The pieces move like scenes and vignettes themselves, flickering and shimmering in the dark, shining in and out until one can almost hear the lead frames of the film monotonically whipping against the takeup reel in an otherwise silent room." -- Michael Louis, Fanzine --Michael Louis, Fanzine

"In these smart essays, plus a few short stories, a poem and a screenplay, 25 entries in all, contributors-smitten by cinema both contemporary and classic-cast a personal eye on a universal medium. They aren't reviewing films, though. Instead, these writers muse on how film and life are intertwined, how they find themselves on screen and how those screens in turn reflect them. Settle in with a box of Twizzlers and revel in the provocative thinking collected in this fresh take on popular culture." --Richard Labonte, Bookmarks

". . . these writers muse on how film and life are intertwined, how they find themselves on screen and how those screens in turn reflect them. Settle in with a box of Twizzlers and revel in the provocative thinking collected in this fresh take on popular culture." --Gay & Lesbian Times

"The connection between the movie and the viewer has grown more intimate than ever in recent years. No longer forced to leave the house to experience the great pleasures of the genre, viewers can now watch films--then watch them again and again--at their leisure. This collection of short stories, essays, and poetry compiled by Pera (Troublemaker) and Tupitsyn (Beauty Talk & Monsters) examines what it means to experience the world through the cinema. Starting by considering what kind of movies our lives are imitating, 25 authors, including Lynne Tillman, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Robert Gluck, show that movies have influenced the image of self and that what humans fear in movies reflects what humans fear in life. Exceedingly personal and usually provocative, the pieces included here represent our collective history with film. VERDICT: Recommended for film studies students and scholars as well as adventurous and creative film buffs." --Pam Kingsbury, Library Journal

"This cross-genre collection unites 25 writers and thinkers to explore the cinematic experience and the film-viewer relationship via short stories, essays, and poetry. The texts play with the idea that life imitates art by asking: If movie-watching has become a primary way of experiencing the world, what kind of movies are our lives imitating? Pera is an author as well as a film director. Tupitsyn is a fiction writer and cultural critic. There is no subject index." --Book News

"The movie has long since passed the book as the primary method of American storytelling. Life as We Show It: Writing on Film is a blend of fiction and ponderings on film from many well known writers who offer their ideas on the concept of life imitating art. The result is intruiging, thought-provoking and high entertaining. Brian Pera and Masha Tupitsyn have put together quite a volume, making Life as We Show It a uniquely recommended read." --Book News

"The movie has long since passed the book as the primary method of American storytelling. Life as We Show It: Writing on Film is a blend of fiction and ponderings on film from many well known writers who offer their ideas on the concept of life imitating art. The result is intruiging, thought-provoking and high entertaining. Brian Pera and Masha Tupitsyn have put together quite a volume, making Life as We Show It a uniquely recommended read." --Midwest Book Review

[Life As We Show It] uses cinema as a literary springboard. Movies are not so much the subject as they are the hook -- the departure point for authors with varied credentials (some are poets and novelists, others academics and armchair theorists) to offer up fiction and creative nonfiction . . . all ordered around their personal relationship with films as medium and filmgoing as practice." --John Semley, Cineaste

"Twenty-five writers discuss attachments they formed for certain movies -- ET, Shane and Rosemary's Baby acquire new significance and resonance after reading these inspired pieces of narrative nonfiction." --John McFarland, Shelf Awareness

"At the core of Life as We Show It is the paradox of the viewer, who is at once passive and intrusive, detached and yet profoundly affected by the viewed scene. The writers embrace that paradox, using it, Tupitsyn says, 'as an ingredient for narrative impetus -- for writing, for imagining, and for thinking.' Taken as a whole, the collection provides a glimpse of where the brave new media -- saturated world may be taking the ancient art of storytelling." --Maria Browning, Chapter 16

"We'd like to note the excellent 'Outtakes' by Lidia Yuknavitch, who offers a rewriting of 'La Fureur de vivrer' by Nicholas Ray; 'Phone Home' by Dodie Bellamy juxtaposes her own fiction with Spielberg's vision for E.T.; . . . 'The Elizabeth Taylor Puzzle' by Wayne Kostenbaum takes apart and puts back together the body of Elizabeth Taylor; 'Hysteresis' by Elizabeth Hatmaker develops around the film Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff by Marvin J Chomsky; and 'Behind the Scenes' (1982) by Masha Tupitsyn focuses on John Travolta in Grease and Blow Out. . . . A cross-genre work to consume without restraint." --Tina Magazine

"In Life As We Show It: Writing on Film, Dodie Bellamy immerses herself in thoughts of E.T. while coping with her mother's dying. Wayne Koestenbaum riffs on the gender "puzzle" that is Elizabeth Taylor. Bard Cole considers both the veiled porn implicit in mainstream movies featuring young men, and the life of erotica icon Joey Stefano. Richard Grayson exhumes the film screens of his Florida youth. Abdellah Taia, sitting with his dozing mother in a darkened Moroccan room, recalls finding sexual self-realization watching a queer French movie on TV. Rebecca Brown overlays her own life with imagery from classic Westerns. In these smart essays, few short stories, a poem and a screenplay, 25 entries in all, contributors obviously smitten by cinema both contemporary and classic cast a personal eye on a universal medium. They aren't reviewing films, though. Instead, these writers muse on how film and life are intertwined, how they find themselves on screen and those screens in turn reflect them. Settle in with a box of Twizzlers and revel in the provocative thinking contained this fresh take on popular culture. Richard Labonte, Bookmarks Review

From the Back Cover

"Even in this age of universal cool, we're just as smitten by the movies as the kids who went to see them fifty, sixty, eighty years ago. Indeed, we may be even deeper into them than people used to be; for, as America disintegrates, and our real world(s) collapse and disappear, the movies, more and more, don't just stand out more vividly among our other memories, but permeate those memories, merge with them, become them; so that it's getting harder to be sure exactly where the movies stop and you begin.

So how, in so bewildering a borderland, does one write truthfully about the movies? In this rapturous anthology, many writers demonstrate the possibilities, making bold forays across generic borders of all kinds. Life As We Show It offers dazzling passages of memoir, drama, poetry, fiction and film history, philosophical suggestion and delirious analysis, and other writings that defy a handy name. Thus this remarkable collection helps us see where both we and the movies are today, and where we're going." -Mark Crispin Miller, Professor Media, Culture and Communication at NYU and author of Boxed In: The Culture of TV and Seeing Through Movies


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Format: Paperback
Life As We Show It is a unique collection of essays, imagined scripts, and personal reflections by more than 20 writers on how film has shaped much of their lives and their opinions. Not all of the cited films are blockbusters, and the influential titles are not meant to gather a "best of" collection like you'd find on A&E. Rather, these movies are personal touchstones, relevant in ways that are unique and sometimes perplexing. Some titles are virtually unknown, and the focus isn't so much on the film but the viewer's reaction to it or to the memories it evokes.

The standout essay for me was Rebecca Brown's title "My Western", a fascinating and multi-layered investigation into several western movies, her own family's history, and the concept of 'happily ever after'. Her signficant film is Shane, the western classic that is mostly known for its lines "Come back! Shane, come back!" The young boy is brokenhearted watching Shane leave. Brown combines both plot details and anecdotes from the real-life actors with events of her own life, particularly that of her father. She finds parallels in the lives and deaths of both her father's disappearance and Shane's. The effect is stunning, making the film seem more personal, and notes the synchronicity between real life and film that is often forgotten. With Shane and other westerns, she connects that usually unspoken need we have for a hero.

She writes: "A classic western sunset and a stranger on a horse is passing through. We fall in love. With him and with the stories we imagine he could tell but won't. We fill his secret past with our desires and the things we are afraid we cannot do. We do not want to know what he is not. The stories we will tell of him will save us from our lies.
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Format: Paperback
The movie has long since passed the book as the primary method of American storytelling. "Life As We Show It: Writing on Film" is a blend of fiction and ponderings on film from many well known writers who offer their ideas on the concept of life imitating art. The result is intriguing, thought-provoking and high entertaining. Brian Pera and Masha Tupitsyn have put together quite a volume, making "Life as We Show It" a uniquely recommended read.
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