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Widely regarded as a turning point in American independent cinema, Steven Soderbergh's sex, lies, and videotape (1989) launched the career of its twenty-six-year-old director, whose debut film was nominated for an Academy Award and went on to win the Cannes Film Festival's top award, the Palme d'Or. The Philosophy of Steven Soderbergh breaks new ground by investigating salient philosophical themes through the unique story lines and innovative approaches to filmmaking that distinguish this celebrated artist.
Editors R. Barton Palmer and Steven M. Sanders have brought together leading scholars in philosophy and film studies for the first systematic analysis of Soderbergh's entire body of work, offering the first in-depth exploration of the philosophical ideas that form the basis of the work of one of the most commercially successful and consistently inventive filmmakers of our time.
Creatively spent and politically irrelevant, the American horror film is a mere ghost of its former self-or so goes the old saw from fans and scholars alike. Taking on this undeserved reputation, the contributors to this collection provide a comprehensive look at a decade of cinematic production, covering a wide variety of material from the last ten years with a clear critical eye.
Individual essays profile the work of up-and-coming director Alexandre Aja and reassess William Malone's muchmaligned Feardotcom in the light of the torture debate at the end of President George W. Bush's administration. Other essays look at the economic, social, and formal aspects of the genre; the globalization of the U.S. film industry; the alleged escalation of cinematic violence; and the massive commercial popularity of the remake. Some essays examine specific subgenres-from the teenage horror flick to the serial killer film and the spiritual horror film-as well as the continuing relevance of classic directors such as George A. Romero, David Cronenberg, John Landis, and Stuart Gordon.
Essays deliberate on the marketing of nostalgia and its concomitant aesthetic, and the curiously schizophrenic perspective of fans who happen to be scholars as well. Taken together, the contributors to this collection make a compelling case that American horror cinema is as vital, creative, and thought-provoking as it ever was.
The most comprehensive volume on one of the most controversial directors in American film history
A Companion to D.W. Griffith offers an exhaustive look at the first acknowledged auteur of the cinema and provides an authoritative account of the director’s life, work, and lasting filmic legacy.
The text explores how Griffith’s style and status advanced along with cinema’s own development during the years when narrative became the dominant mode, when the short gave way to the feature, and when film became the pre-eminent form of mass entertainment. Griffith was at the centre of each of these changes: though a contested figure, he remains vital to any understanding of how cinema moved from nickelodeon fixture to a national pastime, playing a significant role in the cultural ethos of America.
With the renewed interest in Griffith’s contributions to the film industry, A Companion to D.W. Griffith offers a scholarly look at a career that spanned more than 25 years. The editor, a leading scholar on D.W. Griffith, and the expert contributors collectively offer a unique account of one of the monumental figures in film studies.
- Presents the most authoritative, complete account of the director’s life, work, and lasting legacy
- Builds on the recent resurgence in the director’s scholarly and popular reputation
- Edited by a leading authority on D.W. Griffith, who has published extensively on this controversial director
- Offers the most up-to-date, singularly comprehensive volume on one of the monumental figures in film studies
By the end of the 1960s, the Hollywood West of Tom Mix, Randolph Scott, and even John Wayne was passé—or so the story goes. Many film historians and critics have argued that movies portraying a mythic American West gave way to revisionist films that influential filmmakers such as Sam Peckinpah and Robert Altman made as violent critiques of the Western’s “golden years.”
Yet rumors surrounding the death of the Western have been greatly exaggerated, says film historian Andrew Patrick Nelson. Even as the Wild Bunch and John McCabe rode forth, John Wayne remained the Western’s number one box office draw. How, then, could there have been a revisionist reckoning at a time when the Duke was still in the saddle?
In Still in the Saddle, Nelson offers readers a new history of the Hollywood Western in the 1970s, a time when filmmakers tried to revive the genre by appealing to a diverse audience that included a new generation of socially conscious viewers. Nelson considers a comprehensive filmography of releases from 1969 to 1980 in light of the visual tropes and narratives developed and reworked in the genre from the 1930s to the present. In so doing, he reveals the complexity of what is probably the most interesting period in Western movie history. His incisive reevaluations of such celebrated (or infamous) films as The Wild Bunch and Heaven’s Gate and examinations of dozens of forgotten and neglected Westerns, including the final films of John Wayne, demonstrate that there was more to the 1970s Western than simple revision. Instead, we see not only important connections between canonical and lesser-known films of the period, but also continuities between these and older Westerns. Nelson believes an ongoing, cyclical process of regeneration thus transcends established divisions in the genre’s history.
Among the books currently challenging the prevailing “evolutionary” account of the Western, Still in the Saddle thoroughly revises our understanding of this exciting and misunderstood period in the Western’s history and adds innovatively and substantially to our knowledge of the genre as a whole.
In Contemporary Westerns: Film and Television since 1990, Andrew P. Nelson has collected essays that examine the trends and transformations in this underexplored period in Western film and television history. Addressing the new Western, they argue for the continued relevance and vibrancy of the genre as a narrative form. The book is organized into two sections: “Old West, New Stories” examines Westerns with common frontier locales, such as Dances with Wolves, Unforgiven, Deadwood, and True Grit. “New Wests, Old Stories” explores works in which familiar Western narratives, characters, and values are represented in more modern—and in one case futuristic—settings. Included are the films No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood, as well as the shows Firefly and Justified.
With a foreword by Edward Buscombe, as well as an introduction that provides a comprehensive overview, this volume offers readers a compelling argument for the healthy survival of the Western. Written for scholars as well as educated viewers, Contemporary Westerns explores the genre’s evolving relationship with American culture, history, and politics.