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The New Biographical Dictionary of Film: Fifth Edition, Completely Updated and Expandedby David Thomson
Synopses & Reviews
For almost thirty years, David Thomsons Biographical Dictionary of Film has been not merely “the finest reference book ever written about movies” (Graham Fuller, Interview), not merely the “desert island book” of art critic David Sylvester, not merely “a great, crazy masterpiece” (Geoff Dyer, The Guardian), but also “fiendishly seductive” (Greil Marcus, Rolling Stone).
This new edition updates the older entries and adds 30 new ones: Darren Aronofsky, Emmanuelle Beart, Jerry Bruckheimer, Larry Clark, Jennifer Connelly, Chris Cooper, Sofia Coppola, Alfonso Cuaron, Richard Curtis, Sir Richard Eyre, Sir Michael Gambon, Christopher Guest, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Spike Jonze, Wong Kar-Wai, Laura Linney, Tobey Maguire, Michael Moore, Samantha Morton, Mike Myers, Christopher Nolan, Dennis Price, Adam Sandler, Kevin Smith, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlize Theron, Larry Wachowski and Andy Wachowski, Lew Wasserman, Naomi Watts, and Ray Winstone.
In all, the book includes more than 1300 entries, some of them just a pungent paragraph, some of them several thousand words long. In addition to the new “musts,” Thomson has added key figures from film history–lively anatomies of Graham Greene, Eddie Cantor, Pauline Kael, Abbott and Costello, Noël Coward, Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Gish, Rin Tin Tin, and more.
Here is a great, rare book, one that encompasses the chaos of art, entertainment, money, vulgarity, and nonsense that we call the movies. Personal, opinionated, funny, daring, provocative, and passionate, it is the one book that every filmmaker and film buff must own. Time Out named it one of the ten best books of the 1990s. Gavin Lambert recognized it as “a work of imagination in its own right.” Now better than ever–a masterwork by the man playwright David Hare called “the most stimulating and thoughtful film critic now writing.”
From the Trade Paperback edition.
For 25 years, Thomson's "Biographical Dictionary of Film" has been not merely "the finest reference book ever written about movies" (Graham Fuller, "Interview"), but also "fiendishly seductive" (Greil Marcus, "Rolling Stone").
A provocative, highly engaging essay on the art of pretending on the stage, on screen, and in daily life
A revealing look at the life and work of David Lynch, one of the most enigmatic and influential filmmakers of our time
Every frame of David Lynchand#39;s work, from the and#39;70s midnight movie Eraserhead to the groundbreaking TV series Twin Peaks, to the digital-video DIY feat Inland Empire, bears his unmistakable imprint.and#160;But the paradox of the Lynchian is that itand#39;s easy to recognize and hard to define.and#160;Lynch is a master of the inscrutable gesture, the opaque symbol. His career evades the usual categories:and#160;pop culture icon and subject of academic study, cult figure and industry outsider.and#160;Heand#39;s a Renaissanceand#160;manandmdash;musician, painter, photographer, carpenter, entrepreneurandmdash;and a vocal proponent or transcendental meditation.
Dennis Lim, the newly minted director of Cinematheque programming at Lincoln Center, is a skilled cinephile wary of over-interpretation. David Lynch preserves the strangeness of the Lynchand#39;s universe and offers a personal meditation on the most distinctive filmmaker in modern American culture. It leaves what Lynch likes to call andquot;room to dream,andquot;and#160;honoring the allure of the unknown and the unknowable.
Does acting matter? David Thomson, one of our most respected and insightful writers on movies and theater, answers this question with intelligence and wit. In this fresh and thought-provoking essay, Thomson tackles this most elusive of subjects, examining the allure of the performing arts for both the artist and the audience member while addressing the paradoxes inherent in acting itself. He reflects on the casting process, on stage versus film acting, and on the cult of celebrity. The art and considerable craft of such gifted artists as Meryl Streep, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Daniel Day-Lewis, and others are scrupulously appraised here, as are notions of “good” and “bad” acting.
Thomson’s exploration is at once a meditation on and a celebration of a unique and much beloved, often misunderstood, and occasionally derided art form. He argues that acting not only “matters” but is essential and inescapable, as well as dangerous, chronic, transformative, and exhilarating, be it on the theatrical stage, on the movie screen, or as part of our everyday lives.
About the Author
David Thomson has taught film studies at Dartmouth College, has served on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival, and is a regular contributor to The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, The Nation, Movieline, The New Republic, and Salon. He was the screenwriter on the award-winning documentary The Making of a Legend: Gone With the Wind. Thomson lives in San Francisco with his family.
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