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Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde, 1943-2000, 3rd Edition Paperback – October 3, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

Review


Praise for previous editions of Visionary Film: "Without question it is the first such book on the avant-garde film--the first one that probes this field in such depth, with such perspective and vision, with such insight and intelligence."--Jonas Mekas, The Village Voice


"Extremely informative and dense with associations that give it an importance and interest beyond the immediate subject matter."--Vincent Canby, The New York Times


"It is an event of no small importance that a work has now appeared on personal film that ranks as a first-rate work of critical analysis, bearing comparison with the best criticism in more traditional media. This book signals a coming of age for the literature of personal film.... For those who have never been able to see the films discussed, Visionary Film creates a powerful motivation to do so."--Afterimage


About the Author

P. Adams Sitney is Professor of Visual Art at Princeton University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 3rd edition (October 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019514886X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195148862
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.7 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason Murphy on June 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
Quite simply, anyone interested in the history of avant-garde film and its major filmmakers needs to pick "Visionary Film" up. It's one of the first, and still one of the finest, major texts to be published on the subject. Sitney has dedicated the majority of his life to the study of American avant-garde filmmaking, and it shows; he brings to his work both a breadth of knowledge and a depth of insight that are pretty much unparalleled.

It's quite a dense text, and some of the films discussed in the book can be very difficult to see, due to any number of distribution issues and the fact that many of the filmmakers discussed here have only exhibited their works on film. Still, you shouldn't let either of these things dissuade you from reading it; it's incredibly rewarding regardless.

One Note: The subtitle to the third edition here is somewhat misleading, since the book, originally published in 1974 (with a 2nd Ed. in 1979), focuses primarily on filmmakers and films from the early 1940s to the late 1970s. The final chapter of the third edition essentially acts as a brief summation of trends in the avant-garde from the end of the 1970s up to the end of the 20th century. It's certainly informative, but cursory compared to the rest of the book. Those disappointed by this, or anyone looking for a more detailed study of major avant-garde filmmakers and works during this time period should also take a look at Sitney's latest book, "Eyes Upside Down," which I am currently working my way through; so far, it too is exceptional.
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This book goes into depth with the American Avant-Garde filmmakers listed of the time on the cover. Sitney explains what he thinks while comparing filmmakers, which is a bit tricky to understand which is which. I enjoyed reading about the directors themselves commenting on their films and what they did to achieve their idea of what films should be filmed and how they should be filmed. It is best to read before watching the movies listed in Sitney's text, then reread what Sitney and what the filmmakers had to say.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Homeyer on March 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
book is great... if your at all interested in alternative cinema, i highly suggest that you check this out. it boils down some very pretentious and overbearing works so they are at the least understandable.
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