Selected Film Essays and Interviews
About This Book
“Readers who care sincerely about movies will learn from and be challenged by the work of Bruce Kawin.” —Roger Ebert
“This book is a splendid introduction to an influential writer you may not have had the opportunity to read previously. Kawin emerges as the quintessential cinema academic, a writer of (mostly) concise opinion imbued with an understanding of the technicalities of the medium and a real adoration for its possibilities; a unique overview of cinema as a multi-faceted artistic expression.” —Jez Owen, “Film International”
“In admirably clear language, Kawin is adept at exploring both the formal and the literary dimensions of filmmaking and directing our attention to out-of-the-way works that detonate fresh general ideas. His probing essay on Faulkner, film, and modernism is a tour de force, bolstered by an illuminating interview with Howard Hawks on working with the writer.” —Morris Dickstein, CUNY Graduate Center
This engaging collection of Bruce F. Kawin’s most important film essays (1977–2011) is accompanied by his interviews with Lillian Gish (1978) and Howard Hawks (1976). The Hawks interview is particularly concerned with his work with William Faulkner and their friendship. The Gish interview emphasizes her role as a producer in the 1920s. The essays take up such topics as violence and sexual politics in film, the relations between horror and science fiction, the growth of video and digital cinema and their effects on both film and film scholarship, the politics of film theory, narration in film, and the relations between film and literature.
Kawin’s film essays and reviews have appeared in “Take One,” “Film Quarterly,” “American Book Review” and elsewhere. Until the publication of this volume, most of them were out of print and unavailable online. Among the most significant articles reprinted here are “Me Tarzan, You Junk,” “The Montage Element in Faulkner’s Fiction,” “The Mummy’s Pool,” “The Whole World Is Watching,” and “Late Show on the Telescreen: Film Studies and the Bottom Line.” The book includes close readings of films from “La Jetée” to “The Wizard of Oz” and reviews of films from “Full Metal Jacket” to “The Fury.”
The essays take up some of the most interesting aspects of film, from the effect of film violence on viewers to the changes brought by digital cinema, while remaining readable and free of jargon. As critic Howie Movshovitz says in the Foreword, “his writing is utterly, utterly clear.” Original and independent, the book is free of attachment to any school of criticism or theory, and is dedicated to the fresh and open-minded appreciation of movies.
Bruce F. Kawin is Professor of English and Film at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His books include “Telling It Again and Again: Repetition in Literature and Film,” “Mindscreen: Bergman, Godard, and First-Person Film,” “The Mind of the Novel: Reflexive Fiction and the Ineffable,” “Faulkner’s MGM Screenplays,” “How Movies Work” and “Horror and the Horror Film.” He is also the co-author of the last seven editions of “A Short History of the Movies.”
Howie Movshovitz teaches film at the College of Arts and Media at the University of Colorado at Denver. He has been a film critic on Colorado Public Radio since 1976 and has reported on film subjects for National Public Radio since 1987.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Howie Movshovitz; Preface; 1. VIOLENCE AND POLITICS: Me Tarzan, You Junk; The Whole World Is Watching; Violent Genres; Wild Blueberry Muffins; 2. HORROR AND SCIENCE FICTION: The Mummy’s Pool; Time and Stasis in “La Jetée”; “Carnival of Souls”; 3. REVIEWS: “Welcome to L.A.”; “The Fury”; “Piranha”; “The Elephant Man”; 4. INTERVIEWS: Lillian Gish; Howard Hawks; 5. LITERATURE AND NARRATION: The Montage Element in Faulkner’s Fiction; Horton Foote; An Outline of Film Voices; Dorothy’s Dream: Mindscreen in “The Wizard of Oz”; 6. GETTING IT RIGHT: Creative Remembering and Other Perils of Film Study; Late Show on the Telescreen: Film Studies and the Bottom Line; Video Frame Enlargements; Three Endings; Acknowledgments; Index of Names and Titles