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On the History of Film Style

On the History of Film Style

David Bordwell

ISBN: 9780674634299

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The study of cinematic style has profoundly shaped our attitude toward movies. Style assigns films to a tradition, distinguishes a classic, and signals the arrival of a pathbreaking innovation. David Bordwell now shows how film scholars have attempted to explain stylistic continuity and change across the history of cinema. Bordwell scrutinizes the theories of style launched by Andre Bazin, Noel Burch, and other film historians. In the process he celebrates a century of cinema, integrating discussions of film classics such as "The Birth of a Nation" and "Citizen Kane" with analyses of more current box-office successes such as "Jaws" and "The Hunt for Red October." Examining the contributions of both noted and neglected directors, he considers the earliest filmmaking, the accomplishments of the silent era, the development of Hollywood, and the strides taken by European and Asian cinema in recent years. "On the History of Film Style" proposes that stylistic developments often arise from filmmakers' search for engaging and efficient solutions to production problems. Bordwell traces this activity across history through a detailed discussion of cinematic staging. Illustrated with more than 400 frame enlargements, this wide-ranging study provides a new lens for viewing cinema.
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