Auteurs and stuff
July 30, 2009 9:00 AM   Subscribe

Cinephile seeks THE book on early film, including dissections of films by Godard, Truffaut, Bergman, Fellini and the like. Lots o' pretty pictures are great, too. Can you help?
posted by heather-b to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Is this a book that you know already exists and can't remember the title of, or one you're hoping other people know about?
posted by elder18 at 9:03 AM on July 30, 2009

Do you mean early film or European film? I have a feeling it's the latter based on your examples.
posted by Morpeth at 9:09 AM on July 30, 2009

Best answer: Anything by David Bordwell is golden. I'd recommend Film History as a good place to start—there are chapters dedicated to European cinema, nouvelle vague, early Hollywood... anything and everything.
posted by reductiondesign at 9:13 AM on July 30, 2009

Best answer: Truffaut at Work, beautiful book.
posted by fire&wings at 9:20 AM on July 30, 2009

Best answer: Hitchcock-Truffaut
posted by Gungho at 9:27 AM on July 30, 2009

Response by poster: @elder18 - suggestions for THE book...
posted by heather-b at 10:46 AM on July 30, 2009

so, just to clarify - are you thinking like new wave era? because to my mind, 'early film' is about 30 years prior to the examples you listed
posted by Think_Long at 11:40 AM on July 30, 2009

Yeah, I had the same reaction as Think_Long. But if you really want early film, Kevin Brownlow's The Parade's Gone By, about the silents era, is excellent. Also seconding anything by David Bordwell--his Film History was required reading in film history class.
posted by scratch at 11:48 AM on July 30, 2009

Best answer: It's out of print and only covers American film, but if you want LOTS and LOTS of pictures, you should look for Richard Griffith's "The Movies".
posted by marsha56 at 11:54 AM on July 30, 2009

What others have said. Fellini, Godard, Bergman, etc., are not "early film".

I'll second The Parade's Gone By and third Bordwell.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 12:24 PM on July 30, 2009

Also, you mention auteurs in your title. That term was coined by the filmmakers you cite (Godard and Truffaut if I remember correctly) in Cahiers Du Cinema. They were referring to the American filmmakers who inspired them (Hawks, Ford, etc.). It was then argued about by American film critics Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael.

Their initial essays/arguments are probably online. Sarris was responding to (or explaining and agreeing with) the french. Kael was responding to Sarris. Then they went back and forth.

You can read about these writings here.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 12:45 PM on July 30, 2009

I can recommend lots of books, but you need to clarify what you mean. "Early film" is a specific term in film studies that refers to, approximately, the years 1895-1914. Is this what you're looking for?
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:56 PM on July 30, 2009

Response by poster: Geesh. Didn't want to haggle over the word "early," just want books about the filmmakers I mentioned.
posted by heather-b at 5:54 PM on July 30, 2009

Try not to get defensive; we're trying to help you understand that maybe you could use a bit of help in reframing how you're thinking about this question. For instance, I think you're making a mistake by looking for just one book when asking about filmmakers as diverse as Fellini, Godard and Bergman. That's just not how this stuff works. Each of them provoked varied reactions in a range of critics/viewers, and I'd suggest you can't get much that's deeply meaningful from the kind of general survey that would cover them all. You might want to rethink your initial desire for THE ONE book and loosen up the way you're approaching these directors. Hopefully someone can recommend a solid book on the French New Wave and another on post-WWII Italian film, but I'll just note that when I went on a recent 1960s Godard kick, I learned more from this old paperback collection of contemporary interviews and critical reactions to his then-current work than from any general survey. I recommend it for Godard.

Also, if you're looking for a single general spot for good introductory info, I recommend Senses of Cinema, particularly the "great directors" pages. The Godard overview and related pieces were particularly useful.
posted by mediareport at 7:56 PM on July 30, 2009

Best answer: Why are people so snide on here? She asked about a book about those directors, not a lecture. Please keep comments friendly. To the point: Read this, heather. It's a great book.
posted by bunny hugger at 6:17 AM on July 31, 2009

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