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Totally, Tenderly, Tragically Paperback – October 20, 1998
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These are not, then, so much reviews--although Lopate happily discusses the strengths and weaknesses of his chosen films--as they are meditations. In his best pieces, such as his essays on Godard's Contempt (the film from which this collection derives its title) and Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, Lopate performs extended readings that tease out the richness of the films' texts with delicate intricacy. But this artful approach can only be carried so far--not even Lopate can quite redeem Jerry Lewis's Three on a Couch, which the most ardent Lewis fans acknowledge as a lesser work, no matter how earnestly he probes it for Freudian subtext. Folks who simply want to enjoy the movies may find the high culture assumptions of Totally, Tenderly, Tragically, including Lopate's overwhelming emphasis on foreign directors, a bit much, but if even one reader is inspired to seek out a film by Luchino Visconti, Kenji Mizoguchi, or Yazujiro Ozu on the basis of the descriptions herein, Lopate's efforts at conveying the artistic value of film will have been a success. --Ron Hogan
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Lopate's excellent collection of essays on film and on a life in which filmgoing is central serves as an exemplar for criticism in this vital sense: criticism as engaged self-reflection as much as it is aesthetic contemplation. I loved reading this book, maybe because it validates my own obsessions, but mostly because it shows how to raise obsession with quality filmmaking to the level of art. Particularly valuable to me were his reflections on the "essay film" - because there is very little written on that subject and I find Lopate's thoughts to be the most insightful I've encountered. Highly recommended for those who can't do without good cinema and who value good writing.