Next book


One of Europe's most distinguished screenwriters offers a philosophical rumination on his chosen medium, but those led by the title to expect a glimpse into the hidden world of filmmaking will be disappointed. Film is an art that has evolved at a highly accelerated rate. As Carriäre points out, movies have crammed into less than a century the same process of artistic development that led painting from the walls of the caves of Lascaux to the work of the great modern artists. The result, combined with the intense proliferation of television and videotape, is that we are bombarded relentlessly with images. Even film itself is moving faster, he writes, with quick-cutting moving from rock videos to the big screen at an alarming rate. Today, Carriäre argues, visual Muzak surrounds us constantly, and the image is increasingly devalued. Much of the book is taken up with his thoughts on this phenomenon, which he finds quite disturbing. Elsewhere, Carriäre talks about the ways in which film alters our sense of time, the subterfuges by which film editing expands or compresses ``real time'' into reel time. He also offers an essay on the process by which a screenplay becomes a film, but there is little of practical value here. The author is at his most engaging when he recalls his early apprenticeship under Jacques Tati and some moments from his 19-year collaboration with Luis Bu§uel. Unfortunately, his attempt at film history is filled with generalizations that won't stand up to serious scrutiny, repeating stories that have been disproved by the scholarship of people like Charles Musser and John Fell. Despite that, the book is engaging, and Carriäre's tone—witty, self-effacing, and concerned- -manages to be at once disturbing and soothing, a rare combination indeed. Deserves a place on a small shelf alongside such oddities as Bresson's Notes on Cinematography and Tarkovsky's Sculpting in Time, studies in the philosophy of film written by great practitioners of the art.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 1994

ISBN: 0-679-42116-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1994

Next book


This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

Next book



An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Close Quickview