978-1-55652-366-3 / 9781556523663

The Director's Vision: A Concise Guide to the Art of 250 Great Filmmakers


Publisher:Chicago Review Press



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About the book:

In a refreshingly literal examination of "moving pictures," Geoff Andrew, film editor of London's Time Out magazine, explores the work of 250 filmmakers, one frame at a time. Andrew's approach is akin to yelling "Freeze!" in the middle of a movie, and then analyzing the frozen image as if it were a stand-alone photo. His technique is enormously successful, revealing the individual elements of composition--background, staging, lighting, body positioning, facial expression--that when compiled add up to the overarching feeling a film transmits to viewers. Dissecting a single frame also has the effect of sparking immediate appreciation for the countless factors a great director must not only be aware of but also give constant attention to.

Following the hilariously self-mocking foreword by Joel and Ethan Coen (which eliminates any possibility of the book being labeled stodgy or high-falutin), Andrews admits in the introduction that his selection process was difficult. He focuses on only those directors with a "recognizably distinctive visual style," and the selected stills are those that are "somehow representative of the filmmaker in question, which is not the same as saying it is the most beautifully visual image (let alone the most familiar) from his or her finest or most famous film."

In addition to the meticulously chosen stills, Andrew's text demands your involvement in the picture. He begins each explanation with a description of the shot: "Sex, violence, fear: a chanteuse has forced an innocent youth she's found watching her from the closet to strip and make love to her at knifepoint; but is someone now watching them?" Continuing his analysis, he illustrates how this scene fits into the director's vision for the film, and how it relates to his or her complete body of work. Insightful, incisive, and intelligent, Andrew makes clear to movie fans what skilled directors must know in their very being--if one picture paints a thousand words, a film is capable of millions. --Brangien Davis

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