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Film: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Kindle Edition]

Michael Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Film is considered by some to be the most dominant art form of the twentieth century. It is many things, but it has become above all a means of telling stories through images and sounds. The stories are often offered to us as quite false, frankly and beautifully fantastic, and they are sometimes insistently said to be true. But they are stories in both cases, and there are very few films, even in avant-garde art, that don't imply or quietly slip into narrative.
This story element is important, and is closely connected with the simplest fact about moving pictures: they do move.

Even the older meanings of the word 'film' - a membrane, a covering, a veil, an emanation - now seem to have something to do with moving pictures. Many people believe films are an instrument of illusion, an emphatic way of seeing what is not there; and this capacity has been both celebrated and condemned. 'Like a movie' mostly means like some sort of fairy-tale. But what about the reverse proposition: that more than any other invention film brings us close to the world as it actually is?
'Photography is truth', a character says in a film by Jean-Luc Godard. 'And cinema is the truth twenty-four times per second'. The same claim is made every day, albeit less epigrammatically, by newsreels and surveillance cameras.

In this Very Short Introduction Michael Wood provides a brief history and examination of the nature of the medium of film, considering its role and impact on society as well as its future in the digital age.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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This is an excellent short guide that manages to cram in a vast amount of information into a very small space. It never pretends to offer a history of film but is a superb resource for getting students to think about film as a medium, and to think about what makes film distinct as a means of conveying information, emotion, ideas at the same time as generating wonder, admiration, controversy, or ire. An unrivalled introduction to thinking about film as a medium. / Matthew Woodcock, University of East Anglia

About the Author

Michael Wood is Charles Barnwell Start Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature, Princeton University. He has published many books including America in the Movies (Basic Books and Secker & Warburg, 1975), The Magician's Doubts: Nabokov and the risks of fiction (Chatto and Windus, 1994); Belle de Jour ( BFI Film Classics, British Film Institute Publishing, 2001); and The Road to Delphi: the Life and Afterlife of Oracles (Chatto & Windus, 2004).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 624 KB
  • Print Length: 153 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0192803530
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (26 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006JHRY5C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #415,713 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of Film 3 Mar. 2012
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER
Film is my favorite art form, and I consider myself somewhat of a cinephile. I have a wide range of tastes, and I can enjoy a variety of genres - from the blockbuster action flicks, to cerebral art-house works. I am not a snob when it comes to watching films, and can appreciate a good film no matter what its intended audience may be. I fully believe that true artists can make art with almost any kind of constraints on their work. Hence I was really pleased to read "Film - A Very Short Introduction." Michael Wood seems to share my own enthusiasm for Film in all of its forms, and has managed to convey much of this enthusiasm in this small book.

The topic of Film is so vast and heterogeneous that it is almost impossible to do it justice in such a little volume. Any such book would require significant cuts and exclusions, and a very judicious choice of material for inclusion. In my opinion, Wood has largely succeeded in achieving the right balance of covering as wide a collection of material as possible with this format, while managing to go in depth with several important and intriguing topic. The book heavily emphasizes the American, European, and to some extent Japanese cinemas, which is understandable considering that these cinemas have traditionally had the widest cultural impact. However, it would be interested in reading more about the "world" film, and I hope that OUP comes out with one such VSI volume in the near future. Wood also emphasizes the "classic" films, especially in the period up to the 1960s. There is a good reason for this, as many of those films have defined genres and the film language for the rest of the film history, but again, would have liked to see more discussion of the "modern" film in an upcoming VSI volume.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What are movies for ? 14 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A truly accessible book about film. His message is basically have your ears and eyes open and have your wits about you at the cinema and take what you want from movies, it's not that difficult.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very technical introduction. 12 Sept. 2012
By JCCAM - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have read a number of these "A Very Short Introduction" books,and this is the worst of them.
Too technical and heavy duty. Written by an academic, who can't write for a broad range of readers.
A book by a mainstream knowledgeable film reviewer maybe more useful.
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