Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Douglas Messerli | Reading Films: My International Cinema

by Douglas Messerli

This book is now available in book form or on a PDF file from Green Integer.

Encompassing 200 international movies, Douglas Messerli's Reading Films is a highly personal but profound discussion of some of the most important cinematic achievements from the earliest of film history--including numerous silent films--to current movies in theaters at the time of this book's publication.

As Messerli reveals in his insightful essay, "Reading Films," his approach is not a mere evaluation of the films he has seen nor a passive appreciation or dismissal, but a deeper look into the structures of the works, the films' significance in society, and their directors' and actors' personal relationship to the created works. Messerli not only "sees" the movies on which he writes, but watches them over and over again, finally "reading" them as works of poetry and fiction, evaluating and comparing them in terms of other works of art.

Yet there is nothing academic about Messerli's readings, written from 2000 to the present. His short essays are filled with passionate prejudices and concerns that sometimes take him on tangents other reviewers would not have dared. The author is less concerned with audience approval or judgmental stances than he is with exploring the worlds which these vastly different filmmakers have created, elucidating the contradictions and the sometimes subtle problems these films create which might have gone unnoticed even by their creators themselves.

Writing in a lively, sometimes colloquial, occasionally idiosyncratic language, Messerli lays his heart on his sleeve, demonstrating his loves and dislikes in the art of filmmaking. Reading Films is a work any film lover--whether populist or admirer of art house fare--must read.

Noted editor and publisher Messerli is the author of eleven books of poetry, two works of fiction, and three volumes of plays (written under the pseudonym of Kier Peters). He has edited numerous collections and anthologies, most notably, From the Other Side of the Century: A New American Poetry 1960-1990 and, with dramatist Mac Wellman, From the Other Side of the Century II: A New American Drama 1960-1995. In 2000 Messerli began an annual series of cultural memoirs, My Year_____, which contain personal experiences and essays on poetry, fiction, dance, music, art, theater, performance, and film. The author is the editor of the online International Cinema Review and is a regular film critic for the British on-line magazine, Nth Position. In 2004 he was named Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.

No comments:

Post a Comment