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on June 16, 2008
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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on June 20, 2013
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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on June 3, 2014
informational book on the history of avant-garde films. It was interesting but the structure was a little of a mess. So much of it and there's it gets hard to follow at times. Still, if you want to learn about how to see these types of art films, it helps.
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on March 10, 2009
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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on April 2, 2013
I like that I saved money but not having page numbers on my kindle application on my first generation ipad has made the semester a little stressful... I really wish it had page numbers, not percentages of the amount read.
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on October 20, 2007
Proffesor Stiney has a unique vision and perception of experimental film. This text has some interesting ideas and good points but I believe somewhat limited in scope. I would recomend this text as a good primer for many interested in avante garde and experimental film and video.
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