Truffaut, Kar Wai, Film Noir and …

The Films in My Life Francois Truffaut 
… Mistletoe. Happy New Year everyone! May it be a good year! Now, this being the week of the Golden Globes, let’s talk movies, shall we? Or better said, books about film (the newest additions to my alarmingly fast growing collection) for today, followed by a blog post later in the week, covering my favourite films of 2016, at least those I’ve had the chance to see so far.

First, I would like to say that these are not actual book reviews, from the simple fact that I seldom read film books da capo al fine over a short period of time, especially, surprisingly, good film books, unless it is a biography. I like to take my time with them, pick them up from time to time, let the information sink in in between. It can also be about the mood I am in or about the films I am watching. Truffaut’s The Films In My Life, for example – it’s the kind of book I like to pick up after I have watched a film that intrigued me in search of a trusted opinion to compare mine with, or to check out film titles I haven’t yet watched. But, of course, it is much more than that. This is one of the best books on film ever written (and let’t not forget that Truffaut was the author of yet another one of the best, Hitchcock). I love his pragmatism, his intelligence, reasonable enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for making, watching and talking movies. A fascinating read.
 
Film Noir book 
Film Noir. 100 All-Time Favorites, by Paul Duncan and Jürgen Müller, is a book I didn’t expect to enjoy that much (I am very particular about film noir, it being my favourite genre). But the truth is that this is a great book and what I probably like the most about it is not the plot descriptions and the reviews (no complaint, I just prefer my own), but the fact that this is indeed a great and very varied selection of films noir. European, American and Asian. Because film noir did not originate in Hollywood (appearantly, this still has to be reminded) and does not resume to Hollywood. It is obvious that this is the work of true movie lovers with an open mind. And, finally, I do prefer flipping through a book when I want to check out something instead of browsing online.
 
Film Noir book

Film Noir book
 
WKW : The Cinema of Wong Kar Wai is another wonderful book. One of those books that are the exception from the rule I was talking about above, because once I started it I wanted to keep reading and finish it in one standing. What I love about Kar Wai’s films is that they are beautiful, emotional, distinctive and cinematic. As the author, John Powers, says in the first part of the book (the second part is a lengthy interview he conducted with Kar Wai, going through each of his movies – such an impressive and valuable look into the director’s filmography and into cinema making, that kind of cinema that is meant to last),

“Yet, in trying to explain why I love his work so much, I find myself beginning with beauty and ending with emotion. These qualities only lay at the heart of the cinematic experience, which was designated to pull us out of ourselves and take us into a world richer and more magical than our own. […] Wong understands the romantic appeal of movie stars, and knows how to capture their aura on screen; yet he also has a forward-looking belief that cinema isn’t ultimately about plots and dialogue but about capturing evanescent moments of poetry, truth and emotion, about expressing that which can’t be reduced to words – spring light piercing through the ordinary and leaving it transfigured.”


 
The Cinema of Wong Kar Wai

photos by me


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