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The Girl Who Fell to Earth: A Memoirby Sophia Al Maria
Synopses & Reviews
Before movie costumes become the actors' second skin, they exist in the mind of the costume designer. It is his or her job to render illustration after illustration, bringing the characters to life on page with watercolor, paint, and pencil before committing to one stitch or cut of fabric. Many an era of film or singular look of a particular actor or actress is defined by the costume designer's deft hand, sweeping vision, and creative intuition.
Who is Marilyn Monroe without the billowing white dress of The Seven Year Itch or the candy-pink silk number from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? Both dresses were created by Travilla, who preferred to score lines on canvas first, and then on fabric, to visually maximize his ideas of where the sweep should be. Every costume designer has his or her own signature technique or sense of style and artistry. In Divine Design: A Century of Motion Picture Costume Illustration, author and Academy Award-nominated costume design expert Deborah Nadoolman Landis opens the doors to the dynamic world of costume illustration, revealing the world's most sumptuous illustrations and behind-the-scenes stories of the most beloved costumes of all time.
As the follow-up volume to Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design, Landis showcases the work of one hundred of Hollywood's most accomplished, provocative, and pioneering costume design artists of the last century. Drawing on years of extensive research, Landis has discovered a wealth of never-before-seen, original sketches and full-color illustrations from some of the biggest names in the biz-Adrian, Pauline Annon, and Cecil Beaton, for example-to the lesser well-known but equally important-Bonnie Cashin, Joe De Yong, Charles LeMaire. This book is singular in its form-a deluxe, oversized, luxuriously produced package-and its content, making it a stand-out on the shelf as the perfect gift book for anyone interested in film, fashion, and costume design history.
Featuring a comprehensive introduction that contextualizes the rigors of costume illustration as well as highlights the individual contributions each of the featured artists made to the history of the art form itself, this book is authoritative yet accessible in tone, and contains a dazzling array of first-person anecdotes that inform and further enhance the images. The artists are presented alphabetically; each entry contains a thorough biography and a gallery of images that best highlight the artists' work over the ages.
Deborah Landis is the curator of London's the Victoria & Albert Museum's fall 2012 exhibition Hollywood Costume, which explores the central role costume design plays in cinema storytelling. It will bring together more than 100 of the most iconic movie costumes from across a century of film-making revisiting unforgettable and beloved characters like, Indiana Jones, Scarlett O'Hara, Jack Sparrow, Holly Golightly and Darth Vader. The exhibition opens October 20, 2012, and is the perfect tie in for this book as well as the earlier Dressed. The exhibition will travel to Malbourne, Austrailia in February 2013.
"In this funny, insightful memoir, artist, filmmaker, and writer Al-Maria chronicles being raised by an American mother from rural Washington State and a Bedouin father from Qatar. After immigrating to America, marrying the author's mother and building a life, Al-Maria's father returns to Doha. Soon Al-Maria and her mother follow. Both have trouble settling into their new way of life. 'Now that I knew there were two authorities in my life, Ma's rules and the tribe's rules, assimilation equaled rebellion.' When Al-Maria's father takes a second wife, Al-Maria and her mother return to America. But tensions mount when the author enters fifth grade and becomes quite curious about sex, culminating with Al-Maria being sent back to her father in the Arabian Gulf. During high school her confusion mounts, causing what Al-Maria calls 'cultural whiplash: 'My situation had been thrown glaringly into focus by the proximity of my American and Arab worlds, which existed within a few roundabouts of each other.' Al-Maria's narrative is laced with keen observations on Bedouin culture, class distinctions, sexual rules, and everyday life in the Middle East and America. Her story is a satisfying trek through a complex cross-cultural landscape toward a creative and satisfying life." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
When Sophia Al-Maria's mother sends her away from rainy Washington State to stay with her husband's desert-dwelling Bedouin family in Qatar, she intends it to be a sort of teenage cultural boot camp. What her mother doesn't know is that there are some things about growing up that are universal. In Qatar, Sophia is faced with a new world she'd only imagined as a child. She sets out to find her freedom, even in the most unlikely of places.
Both family saga and coming-of-age story, The Girl Who Fell to Earth takes readers from the green valleys of the Pacific Northwest to the dunes of the Arabian Gulf and on to the sprawling chaos of Cairo. Struggling to adapt to her nomadic lifestyle, Sophia is haunted by the feeling that she is perpetually in exile: hovering somewhere between two families, two cultures, and two worlds. She must make a place for herself—a complex journey that includes finding young love in the Arabian Gulf, rebellion in Cairo, and, finally, self-discovery in the mountains of Sinai.
The Girl Who Fell to Earth heralds the arrival of an electric new talent and takes us on the most personal of quests: the voyage home.
Award-winning filmmaker and writer Sophia Al-Marias The Girl Who Fell to Earth is a funny and wry coming-of-age memoir about growing up in between American and Gulf Arab cultures. With poignancy and humor, Al-Maria shares the struggles of being raised by an American mother and Bedouin father while shuttling between homes in the Pacific Northwest and the Middle East. Part family saga and part personal quest, The Girl Who Fell to Earth traces Al-Marias journey to make a place for herself in two different worlds.
About the Author
Sophia Al-Maria is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. She studied comparative literature at the American University in Cairo, and aural and visual cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work has been exhibited at the Gwangju Biennale, the New Museum in New York, and the Architectural Association in London. Her writing has appeared in Harper's, Five Dials, Triple Canopy, and Bidoun.
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