Film Production Theory (SUNY Series, Cultural Studies in Cinema/Video) Paperback – 31 Mar 2000
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"This is a sharply observed, altogether brilliantly written study. I like the originality, the daring, and the sweep of Geuens' argument. As a theorist on the subject of film production, Geuens ranks with such critical thinkers as Baudrillard and Metz in his astute analysis of the field." Gwendolyn Foster, author of Captive Bodies: Postcolonial Subjectivity in Cinema
"Not only is the study of film production significant, but Geuens' study, Film Production Theory, is very significant, specifically as a kind of mentoring text for aspiring directors, actors, producers, and technicians. After reading this book, I feel like going out to a non-soundstage location and shooting my own film!" Paul Matthew St. Pierre, Simon Fraser University"
About the Author
Jean-Pierre Geuens teaches film in Los Angeles.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
...and it certainly opened my eyes.
This is a book for filmmakers, film critics, and those with a deep interest in film.
It does NOT tell you HOW to make a movie. It provides food for thought about the major production decisions that the Producer and/or Director considers when making a motion picture.
It is an extremely "thinky" book. Moored in the French New Wave, American Zoetrope and to a lesser extent Spanish and Italian cinema. It praises experimentation and asks the reader to consider the effect of everything that they will put into the film. Likewise, the author derides "Hollywood" for sacrificing the potential of the motion picture as art form in order to accumulate as much money as can be made. While this feeling is prevelant throughout the text, it is refreshingly not overbearing.
The book reads like a series of lectures about film theory on such topics as Film School, Writing, Directing, Framing, Lighting, Sound and Editing. In this format it is digestible in small chunks and allows the reader to process what they have read before taking on the next topic.
As an Independent Producer, I found the points in this book to be worthy of consideration as I develop, plan, shoot, and finish my projects. I don't agree with everything he says, but he says it in such a way as to help me understand the impact of my decisions (e.g. to shoot on location vs. on a soundstage). I could easily see myself skimming through this text before any project to help me frame my approach. This is as much a testament to its depth and density as it is to its worth.
Geuens questions this traditional method of filmmaking, and asks us to follow the example of more experimental modes of filmmaking, such as the French New Wave. We must critically analyze the reasons for why we are making a film, and also how we make the film. What I found most interesting about Geuens' work is that it reveals how ultimately constrictive and creatively inhibiting the Hollywood method of filmmaking is. If we can once again learn to make films free from the constraints of capitalist consumption, then perhaps we can once again make real films. We need more books about film like this from Geuens, as opposed to all the How To Make It In Hollywood junk that is sold on bookstore shelves.
This book is divided into chapters that each focus upon one production aspect: lighting, editing, directing, etc. These chapters consist of critiques of the decisions made my particular filmmakers in addition to well organized problematizations of film theory relating to the examples. There is no "final word" provided in these sections; conflicting philosophies of film are at times presented side-by-side in a thought-provoking manner.
The author has set himself to taking the Hollywood system--indeed, any "cookie cutter" style--to task, and in my opinion, he has succeeded in asserting the primacy of a film's ultimate artistic value. Perhaps most importantly of all, this book is inspirational; how refreshing it is to be reassured that just because an individual artistic style has not yet been presented to the public does not mean that we should not be true to ourselves and pursue our visions with alacrity.
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