Volume 19, Issue 12 / December 2015

Book and Film Reviews

After a sequence of issues with long and detailed essays Offscreen ends 2015 with an issue of lighter (i.e. shorter in length) film/Blu Ray and book reviews. Michael Sooriyakumaran opens with the most recent film, from first-time Hungarian director László Nemes, the World War 2 Holocaust story, Son of Saul. Interestingly, with all this talk about the end of film, Nemes stuck to his guns by insisting to shoot his film in 35mm and in full old Academy ratio, 1.33:1, a technical decision which, as Sooriyakumaran notes, may have had a negative affect on the film’s potential box-office. A new book from prolific publishing label Intellect on Sam Peckinpah, edited by Fernando Ganzo, is given a close reading by self-confessed Peckinpah devotee Mark Penny. Tom Stempel returns to Offscreen pages with, surprisingly, not a review on screenwriting or about screenwriters, but on two new books on directors (which does not mean Tom has become a Sarrisian auteurist!). Nathaniel Carlson reviews the new Blu Ray from label Film Movement on Lilliana Cavani’s Francesco; and Garrett gives a studied look at Elia Kazan’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, noting how Kazan changed aspects of the novel by placing more of a concentration on the contemporary aspects of the story. Garrett also notes how Steinbeck’s reputation has been slightly tarnished in literary circles over the passing years, and offers some thoughts on why that may be so. (Donato Totaro, ed.)

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