Synopses & Reviews
With ruminations on drawing, colour and caricature, on the political meaning of fairy-tales, talking animals and human beings as machines, Hollywood Flatlands
brings to light the links between animation, avant-garde art and modernist criticism.
Focusing on the work of aesthetic and political revolutionaries of the inter-war period, Esther Leslie reveals how the animation of commodities can be studied as a journey into modernity in cinema. She looks afresh at the links between the Soviet Constructivists and the Bauhaus, for instance, and those between Walter Benjamin and cinematic abstraction. She also provides new interpretations of the writings of Siegfried Kracauer on animation, shows how Theodor Adorno’s and Max Horkheimer’s film viewing affected their intellectual development, and reconsiders Sergei Eisenstein’s famous handshake with Mickey Mouse at Disney’s Hyperion Studios in 1930.
... is about much more than the House of Mouse, tracing with a deft hand the aesthetic precursors of film animation in the work of Hans Richter, Walter Ruttman and Dziga Vertov.
Once in a long while, a book appears that meets all the high standards of scholarship. In the field of animation, Leslie's Hollywood Flatlandsis that work ... groundbreaking.
"[a] vital new book." ASIFA
"In an age when the Walt Disney Co. … is completely lost to sober cultural debate, it is not insignificant to remember that, quite recently, the opposite was the case." Los Angeles Times
A lively exploration of animation and the avant-garde in the twentieth century.
Brings to light the links between animation, avant-garde art and modernist criticism.
Brash and erudite, Hollywood Flatlandstreats animated cartoons as an avant-garde taste and anti-illusionism as a Modernist problematic.Perceptive and elegant.Once in a long while, a book appears that meets all the high standards of scholarship. In the field of animation, Leslie's Hollywood Flatlandsis that work ... groundbreaking.
About the Author
Esther Leslie is a lecturer in English and Humanities at Birkbeck College, London. She is the author of Walter Benjamin: Overpowering Conformism and sits on the editorial boards of Historical Materialism, Radical Philosophy and Revolutionary History.