FILM: THE CREATIVE PROCESS by John Howard Lawson

FILM: THE CREATIVE PROCESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Lawson's history of the cinema was begun a few years back at Moscow and finished up recently at Yalta. The scene sets the slant. One doesn't mind Eisenstein, Dovzhenko and Pudovkin placed in the author's particular pantheon, nor does one balk (much) at numerous rehashings of the trio's aesthetics in regard to montage, sequence, sound, documentation and so forth. But the disingenuous asides are Too Much. How wobbly those insinuations that Hollywood and the West, controlled by Moneyed Interests, are limited in artistic freedom, while the socialist lands are not! Leaving aside the question of a totalitarian ideology, hasn't Lawson read, for instance, K's recent Culture speech or Tertz' On Socialist Realism? He is affronted by HUAC, but why not a word on the Purges? Lawson trills over Meyerhold; does he know what happened to the man? Ballad of Soldier is better than Wild Strawberries. Chukhrai and Co. are excessively explored; Kurosawa, Cocteau, Bresson, Lean- you name 'em- get passing mention. The New Wave doesn't show alienation's environmental roots; the Larger Meanings- meaning Social Consciousness, Commitment, Significance- are lacking. Etc., Etc., Etc. Even the New Left's more sophisticated than this. Lawson- a '30's playwright, an SWG founder, one of the Unfriendly Ten- also includes professional reminiscences. There are some interesting observations on the silents and early talkies, intelligent discussions of Resnais and Bunuel, Chaplin and Griffith, some standard stuff on structure and technique. That's about it.

Publisher: Hill & Wang