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A Cinema of Loneliness: Penn, Stone, Kubrick, Scorsese, Spielberg, Altman [Paperback]

Robert Kolker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 July 2000
In the twentieth anniversary edition, Kolker continues and expands his inquiry into the phenomenon of cinematic representation of culture by updating and revising the chapters on Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Robert Altman, and Steven Spielberg to include their most important works since 1988 and re-examine their earlier films. Kolker writes a shorter profile of Arthur Penn's career followed by a new comparative study of Oliver Stone, who mirrors Penn's earlier works such as "Bonnie and Clyde" by examining the political-social milieu of the '80s and '90s and drawing his films out of historical and ideological currents. Kolker analyses '90s films which have made important advances in the directors' careers and cause for rethinking the films that precede them. This edition includes a new preface, updated filmography and 48 images from various films discussed through the text.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 502 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA; 3 edition (13 July 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195123506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195123500
  • Product Dimensions: 2.6 x 23 x 15.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 514,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"An excellent work of film criticism, and as such, demands response and debate....Kolker's analyses of each director's work...are stimulating, provocative, insightful and passionate, models of film analysis."--San Francisco Review of Books

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 70s cinema In-Depth 12 Aug 2004
By A Customer
Kolker's in-depth analysis of five major directors of the 70s (and beyond) is a fascinating academic read. For fans of that era of cinema it could be the perfect companion to Biskind's 'Easy Riders, Raging Bulls'. Recommended for any student of cinema.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good 26 Feb 2013
By Keller
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good and standart product sent very quickly, with not so much time of waiting.So you can definitely trust this sellerThanks
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books about post-studio system U.S. cinema 17 July 2000
By DPK - Published on
Although I missed the very first edition of this book in 1980, its second edition has been among my favorite film books for a decade. This is despite the fact that most of the film-makers discussed within (especially Scorsese & Altman) had made numerous films since the last ones featured in that edition. Now I have the joyful experience of catching up on their films with one of the finest writers on the topic of American film ever and his third edition of one of the finest books on American film ever published.
Kolker has gone back to his earlier editions and used the newer films to both confirm and refute his earlier evaluations. Many fans of film in general (and some of these directors, in particular) will not agree with many of Kolker's points. What makes this book so wonderful, though, is that you don't have to agree to enjoy it. Kolker understands that film criticism is meant to be a lively art, rather than a process of emalming great works of art. I may not agree with his assessment of each Scorsese picture but his analysis of Scorsese's significance is right on the money. At the same time, his newly added discussion of Oliver Stone is the first writing about the controversial director that gave a fair picture of his artistic strengths (there are many) and weaknesses (fewer but still significant).
Deserving of special note is the book's section on the late Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick's passing makes him the only film-maker in the book whose body of work is completely finished, a matter which Kolkee addresses in a special epitaph. It is indicative of both the quality and bold approach of the book that the author uses Kubrick's final film, "Eyes Wide Shut" as a springboard to ponder how Kubrick's work will fit into the history of cinema in the years to come. He does not make pat, easy judgements but rather admits that the still vital medium is ever shifting and even old works can take on new meanings in hindsight. It's almost enough to make me eager for the fourth edition.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart, exhaustive, pretentious, engaging 3 Jan 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Kolker's lengthy opinions sometimes suffer from tunnel-vision -- ideas that support his over-arching theories are stressed while other influnces on/aspects of the films are ignored. But his over-arching theories are penetrating nevertheless, and a lot of light is shed on the filmmakers he discusses. His treatment of Kubrick, whose work lends itself so well to intelluctual deconstruction, is especially good. The discussion of Spielberg is interesting but a little too high-minded for the relatively simple pleasures of Spielberg's movies. Most interesting of all are the author's comparisons of the filmmakers with each other, the culture of their times, and various narrative forms and goals. (Kubrick fans should also check out Michael Herr's "Kubrick", which reveals a human side to the legendarily chilly and cerebral director).
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Specific Work Of Film Criticism I've Ever Read 1 Aug 2011
By J. Baker - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
As a film student I've never ran into a more specifically informative work on the details of a director's body of work (much less on the details of multiple directors). Well worth the price.

Grant it, the book sometimes drifts into pretentious assumptions about the philosophical implications of a director's stylistic choices... But it never does so without a considerable amount of validity and insight (even if the assuption is off target).

I recommend this book along with Hitchcock/Truffaut, Notes On Cinematography by Bresson, and Sculpting In Time by Tarkovsky as the greatest works on film I've read.
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