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Iain Quinlan "Iain Quinlan" (Scotland)

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The Cinema Book
The Cinema Book
by Pam Cook
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good if a bit academic, 19 Nov. 2007
This review is from: The Cinema Book (Paperback)
I would agree with the other reviewers that this is a model of its kind.
It's obviously aimed mainly at students on film courses but unlike a lot of those books can be read by 'general readers' (like me!) without any difficulty. Some of the sections appealed to me more than others (the more theoretical parts are surely of less interest to non-academics). But the best part about the book is that the sections you are interested in reference other books and resources on those topics. So it is well worth picking up as a guide to future exploration- especially if you can pick up a reduced copy .

Recommended if you're interested in cinema in general and curious about the more academic way of analysing films. But just because this is mainly for students it does have a bit of a textbook feel and should definitely not be confused with a Film Guide like Halliwells or Time Out!

100 British Documentaries (BFI Screen Guides (Paperback))
100 British Documentaries (BFI Screen Guides (Paperback))
by Patrick Russell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a typical list book. But is original and interesting, 19 Nov. 2007
'BFI Screen Guides' is one of the BFI's better series but the individual books do vary not just in what they're about (everything from westerns to videogames), also their different approaches to the format of '100 films'. Theyre usually more imaginative than other publishers' film guides and this is no exception.
'100 British Documentaries' compromises between listing essential films and list-making to present a more broader or a more personalised view, and if anything leaned more towards this. The choices and opinions sometimes verge on eccentric. I'd only heard of about half the films which in one way makes the book more interesting but a higher quota of recognisable films might have made it more attractive to potential readers. I was a bit surprised by no John Pilger and irritated that neither of Peter Watkins famous films from the sixties (The War Game and Culloden) was included.

So not a typical list book. But, once I grasped what the book is doing I got alot out of it. You cant accuse it of not being eclectic and I got a convincing sense of how broad documentary really is.
Sometimes a bit wordy and there's the odd typo but apart from that very well written - jargon-free but not dumbed down and very passionate about the subject. Lots of information and opinion in quite a short space- not just on the films but social history too.

Biggest criticism is that you want to watch the films at the same time as reading about them and it's not obvious where to find them- although there are websites listed a lot of the films I couldn't find. Some info on DVD and web availability at the bottom of each entry would have helped (even better a DVD with the book). This goes for other volumes in this series too incidentally.

Recommended - 4 stars rather than 5 because it's a bit too individualistic to work as a beginners introduction but the flipside of that is it's quite original and thought provoking.

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