Volume 14, Issue 7 / July 2010

Books in Review

Offscreen casts its gaze at the wonderful written word…always cinema of course, but books about our favorite art. As it turns out the four featured theme articles couldn’t have more disparate subjects, evidence of just how vast the discourse of cinema is. Not only is there a film to suit every taste, but there is someone who has written on it too. Daniel Garrett gets the issue started with a review of two books that ostensibly deal with cinephilia, one from the exhibitors perspective, specifically the history of the New Yorker theater, The New Yorker Theater: And Other Scenes From a Life at the Movies by Toby Talbot, and the second from the perspective of a seasoned film viewer reminiscing about his encounters with ‘classic’ cinema, Warning Shadows: Home Alone with Classic Cinema by Gary Giddins. The next two articles are review essays on studies of National Cinemas, Israeli cinema and Japanese cinema. The first, by first time writer Meryl Suissa, tackles the thorny issue of Queer Masculinity, Zionism and issues of Nationalism in Israeli cinema, as discussed in the book by Raz Yosef, Beyond Flesh: Queer Masculinities and Nationalism in Israeli Cinema. The second, by Alireza Vahdani, deals with a more manageable but no less complex subject, the Japanese Period film, analyzed in depth in Sybil Anne Thornton’s The Japanese Period Film: A Critical Analysis. Although both Suissa and Vahdani have minor reservations with the respective books, they also acknowledge the two books as important contributions to the areas of Israeli and Japanese cinemas. The fourth and final thematically linked piece is my own broad and slightly personal overview of the interview format book. Garrett concludes the issue with a standalone piece that surveys a group of recent American films which are loosely linked by a concentration on human character. (Donato Totaro, ed.)

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