According to David Mamet, a film director must, above all things, think visually. Most of this instructive and funny book is written in dialogue form and based on film classes Mamet taught at Columbia University. He encourages his students to tell their stories not with words, but through the juxtaposition of uninflected images. The best films, Mamet argues, are composed of simple shots. The great filmmaker understands that the burden of cinematic storytelling lies less in the individual shot than in the collective meaning that shots convey when they are edited together. Mamet borrows many of his ideas about directing, writing, and acting from Russian masters such as Konstantin Stanislavsky, Sergei M. Eisenstein, and Vsevelod Pudovkin, but he presents his material in so delightful and lively a fashion that he revitalizes it for the contemporary reader.
From Library Journal
Noted playwright, screenwriter, and director Mamet offers his views on film directing taken, some in transcript form, from lectures and classes at Columbia. With only two films under his belt, Mamet is an odd choice to publish his opinions here, and his ideas are unsurprising. Although presumably being paid by Columbia, Mamet "suspects" film schools are "useless." Citing his heroes Eisenstein (story via cuts) and Hitchcock (pre-planning), he advises shooting scenes simply in the "least interesting way" possible and cutting everything extraneous to the story. He suggests reading in myth and psychology and watching a lot of animated cartoons. Refreshingly untheoretical, particularly regarding acting technique, this is fitfully interesting stuff, but a bit of an ego trip, too.- David Bartholomew, NYPL
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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