It’s been a fantastic year for books on cinema, here’s a round-up of our favourites.
Camera Historica: The Century In Cinema, Antoine de Baecque. In his ambitious volume encompassing the whole breadth of the cinema, former Cahiers du cinéma editor de Baecque marks the occasion of the mediums centenary with a proposal for a new form of film analysis: one based in historical context and the nature with which the cinema screen interweaves with the real. Refreshingly de Baecque’s approach, which was initially published in France in 2008 and finally translated in to English this year, is not bound by the conventions of the typical approach to form for this kind of tome, with whole sections dedicated to single figures whom de Baecque deems to have had an especially prevailant effect on cinema, such as Jean-Luc Godard and Peter Watkins. Click here for more information.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy: The Last Masterpiece, Raymond Foery. It’s only appropriate that in this year of celebration of the career of Alfred Hitchcock that one book ought to feature in a list of this ilk. Ignoring the BFI’s impressive compendium of essays The 39 Steps To The Genius Of Hitchcock in favour of this more focussed monograph on his penultimate directorial outing, nigh on every section of Foery’s treatise is a revelation. Click here for more information.
Zona: A Book about a Film about a Journey to a Room, Geoff Dyer. With Zona Geoff Dyer, a writer one might not ordinarily associate with straight film theory produced the most mischievous and downright entertaining book on cinema of the year. While Dyer’s approach might not suit everybody, the everyman honesty (he professes to having never really liked L’avventura) and breezy tone of the book makes for a fun read. Click here for more information.
French Cinema from the Liberation to the New Wave, 1945-1958, André Bazin. Released to no fanfare (we stumbled across it by accident) over the Summer months, this collection of André Bazin’s writings on the French cinema of the post-War, pre-Nouvelle Vague period makes for a valuable time capsule. So influential was Bazin that many of the thoughts expressed in this volume helped shape the entire cinema of the second half of the century. Click here for more information.
Film After Film: Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema?, J. Hoberman. The year could have started better for J. Hoberman, whom, after a career spanning several decades, was let go from his post at the Village Voice as a part of cost cutting measures. In Film After Film Hoberman expands upon an essay originally published in ArtForum magazine, and applies his thesis to the real-world history of the United States during the Bush years. If any book captures the cinema of 2012 in a single bound volume, then this is it. Click here for more information.