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Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film [Paperback]

Richard Barsam , Monahan , Dave Monahan

Price: 52.90 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Sep 2014 0393932796 978-0393932799 2 Pck Pap/
The Third Edition of Looking at Movies is as visually engaging and fun to read as previous editions, and now contains new material on film history, film genre, and cultural contexts, and even more help with film analysis. Supplementary materials, conceived and created by the authors, integrate seamlessly with the text. Two DVDs contain nearly four hours of film clips, frame sequences, short films, and animations to show what the text describes. The Looking at Movies student website provides an abundance of review and ancillary materials, including the Writing About Movies guide. The Looking at Movies package, including the text, DVDs, website, and writing guide, costs less than competing texts alone, making it an outstanding value for students.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Frequently Bought Together

Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film + A Dictionary of Film Studies (Oxford Paperback Reference) + How to Read a Film: Movies, Media, and Beyond: The World of Movies, Media, Multimedia: Language, History, Theory
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Product details

  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 2 Pck Pap/ edition (3 Sep 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393932796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393932799
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 24.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,006,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the Best General Introduction to Film (Text only) 7 Jan 2012
By T. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've been using Barsam's book for several years now in my film class, having chosen it to replace Giannetti's "Understanding Movies," and before that, Bordwell/Thompson's "Film Art: An Introduction." My current students like it and so do I (and my students who have used Giannetti's text and Pramaggiore's "Film: A Critical Introduction" in other classes say they prefer the Barsam to both of those).

Barsam covers all the requisite formal elements (narrative, cinematography, mise-en-scene, acting, editing, etc.), usually devoting a chapter to each topic--as do almost all film books of this type. But Barsam's book is better organized than most. Giannetti, by contrast, has a entire chapter on movement, whereas Barsam handles camera movement in his cinematography chapter and movement within the image in his chapter on mise-en-scene--which I think makes much more sense. And Barsam strikes a nice balance between academic rigor and accessibility (I stopped using the Bordwell/Thompson, which is often considered the standard, because undergraduate students found the tone too scholarly and the discussions too obtuse). The new 3rd edition of "Looking at Movies" adds a valuable and much-needed chapter on film history and expands the discussion of film technology, production and marketing. And of course, Barsam's book (like most others) is copiously illustrated, with helpful captions (and the layout and design is better in Barsam's than in most other texts of this sort). The writing is engaging, readable and informative. In short, a great text.

The new edition does have a few weaknesses, however--at least, in my opinion. Firstly, the book now takes an awfully long time to get going: Barsam has added and re-arranged material into three long wind-up chapters introducing film appreciation, film forms and film types. The better solution--I think--would have been simply to revise the old material and include the new material (as well as some of the original material) in other other chapters where it topically belongs (moving the discussion of genres, for example, into the chapter on narrative). As is, the reader (or teacher and student) either has to wade through all that preliminary discussion prior to getting to the really meaty material, or she has to jump around in the book and split up the reading so as to address everything that is topically related in one read. Secondly, Barsam now pays almost no attention at all to film theory and theorists, even in the film history chapter (Giannetti, by contrast, has an entire chapter on theory, while other authors cover theory piecemeal throughout their respective texts). The 2nd edition had an entire chapter on film theory and criticism. It was admittedly a bit clunky, but the better solution would have been to rewrite it, not remove it entirely--which leaves a gaping hole in what is otherwise admirable coverage of all the important topics. Lastly, Barsam has a quirky understanding of mise-en-scene, broadening the concept so much that it becomes almost synonymous with the movie per se, rather than restricting mise-en-scene to a focus on the image and its composition and constituent components--although, to his credit, Barsam admits as much to the reader and then proceeds to handle his actual analyses much as everyone else does.

It is possible to buy the text bundled with a small booklet on writing about movies (which is a pretty good treatment) and a truly excellent dvd with film shorts and some of the best tutorials (by David Monahan) available anywhere. The dvd alone is almost worth the purchase price of the book, and is an invaluable student resource.

All things considered, then, (despite the puzzling loss of the theory chapter), Barsam's "Looking at Movies" is the best all-around choice for an introduction to film text, and I highly recommend it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the Best General Introduction to Film (Text + DVD + Booklet) 7 Jan 2012
By T. Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've been using Barsam's book for several years now in my film class, having chosen it to replace Giannetti's "Understanding Movies," and before that, Bordwell/Thompson's "Film Art: An Introduction." My current students like it and so do I (and my students who have used Giannetti's text and Pramaggiore's "Film: A Critical Introduction" in other classes say they prefer the Barsam to both of those).

Barsam covers all the requisite formal elements (narrative, cinematography, mise-en-scene, acting, editing, etc.), usually devoting a chapter to each topic--as do almost all film books of this type. But Barsam's book is better organized than most. Giannetti, by contrast, has a entire chapter on movement, whereas Barsam handles camera movement in his cinematography chapter and movement within the image in his chapter on mise-en-scene--which I think makes much more sense. And Barsam strikes a nice balance between academic rigor and accessibility (I stopped using the Bordwell/Thompson, which is often considered the standard, because undergraduate students found the tone too scholarly and the discussions too obtuse). The new 3rd edition of "Looking at Movies" adds a valuable and much-needed chapter on film history and expands the discussion of film technology, production and marketing. And of course, Barsam's book (like most others) is copiously illustrated, with helpful captions (and the layout and design is better in Barsam's than in most other texts of this sort). The writing is engaging, readable and informative. In short, a great text.

The new edition does have a few weaknesses, however--at least, in my opinion. Firstly, the book now takes an awfully long time to get going: Barsam has added and re-arranged material into three long wind-up chapters introducing film appreciation, film forms and film types. The better solution--I think--would have been simply to revise the old material and include the new material (as well as some of the original material) in other other chapters where it topically belongs (moving the discussion of genres, for example, into the chapter on narrative). As is, the reader (or teacher and student) either has to wade through all that preliminary discussion prior to getting to the really meaty material, or she has to jump around in the book and split up the reading so as to address everything that is topically related in one read. Secondly, Barsam now pays almost no attention at all to film theory and theorists, even in the film history chapter (Giannetti, by contrast, has an entire chapter on theory, while other authors cover theory piecemeal throughout their respective texts). The 2nd edition had an entire chapter on film theory and criticism. It was admittedly a bit clunky, but the better solution would have been to rewrite it, not remove it entirely--which leaves a gaping hole in what is otherwise admirable coverage of all the important topics. Lastly, Barsam has a quirky understanding of mise-en-scene, broadening the concept so much that it becomes almost synonymous with the movie per se, rather than restricting mise-en-scene to a focus on the image and its composition and constituent components--although, to his credit, Barsam admits as much to the reader and then proceeds to handle his actual analyses much as everyone else does.

It is possible to buy the text bundled with a small booklet on writing about movies (which is a pretty good treatment) and a truly excellent dvd with film shorts and some of the best tutorials (by David Monahan) available anywhere. The dvd alone is almost worth the purchase price of the book, and is an invaluable student resource.

All things considered, then, (despite the puzzling loss of the theory chapter), Barsam's "Looking at Movies" is the best all-around choice for an introduction to film text, and I highly recommend it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything I Ever Needed to Know in Life I Learned from the Movies 8 Dec 2011
By Lex Luthor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I needed this textbook for my Myth into Film class and almost died when I saw the ridiculous price my school wanted to charge me for it. Knowing that textbooks can be a dodgy thing, I decided to come here and look. Buying it here was well worth it. I got it for way less than half of the price the school wanted to charge and I didn't end up using it as much as I thought. This is a definite bargain and an interesting read for someone who is interested in the film industry and its history.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really helpful 22 Nov 2012
By QVguitarguy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Clear and concise, with perfect visuals needed to teach the subject. I loved the DVD that came with it. Came with great shorts.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DVD's are included FREE with text 23 Dec 2011
By Valleyboy17 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD-ROM
Look at a close up of the DVD cover. It plainly says "All FREE with the purchase of a new text", just like mine does.

They are selling the DVD's separately even though they are FREE with the text. What a ripoff !!!

Notice that a lot of the reviews for this product are actually reviews for the BOOK, not the DVD's.

Don't get ripped off ! Buy the DVD's somewhere else, like Abe Books.
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