Read Instead…in Print

Read instead… in print is about a good book about cinema or filmmakers. No discursive, pretentious analyses, no verbose scrutiny. Because the idea is to invite you to read the book, not read about it here. But instead of using social media, I use my journal. Back to basics. Take it as a wish to break free of over-reliance on social media (even if it’s just for posting a photo of a good book) for presenting my work, cultural finds and interests. These are things to be enjoyed as stand-alone pieces in a more substantial and meaningful way than showing them in the black hole of Instagram thronged with an audience with a short attention span. This is also a look through my voluminous collection of books about film that I use as research in my adamant decision to rely less and less on the online and more on more on print materials.

Read instead…in print #18

Sidney Lumet’s Making Movies is the kind of book you can’t just leaf through. You read every word and you do it on one reading, just like the director says he always used to read the scripts – because “a script can have a very different feeling if reading it is interrupted”. And then you come back to read entire passages to be able to take it all in. I don’t like the word “review”. For books or films. I think you have to have a certain amount of arrogance in you to be able to do that. I don’t have it. Or you should know everything there is to know about films, more than the filmmakers making them. Nobody does, unless they are François Truffaut or Martin Scorsese. So I don’t analise movies. I talk about them. Quite passionately, quite often. Because I love films. So if you are a filmgoer, if you like movies just a little bit, if it is just one film that you’ve ever liked, then you should read this book. Roger Ebert said it best: “Invaluable… I am sometimes asked if there is one book a filmgoer could read to learn more about how movies are made and what to look for while watching them. This is the book.”

Directors take risks. The critics and the audiences don’t.


It’s all in the preparation. Do mountains of preparation kill spontaneity? Absolutely not. It’s just the opposite. When you know what you are doing, you feel much freer to improvise.


Dialogue is like anything else in movies. It can be a crutch or,
when used well, it can enhance, deepen, and reveal.


Good work comes from passion.


The reality of the movie insider has nothing to do with the
reality of an audience watching a movie for the first time.


Clothes are important.


Pictures are not made in the cutting room, which is the cliché
about editing, but they can be ruined there.


There is no way critics can know how well or poorly a film was edited.
Only three people know how good or bad the editing was:
the editor, the director, and the cameraman.


Sometimes an image is so meaningful
that it encompasses everything the movie is about.


The music must say something that nothing else in the picture is saying.
But when you can’t find a musical score that adds to the movie, don’t use one.
There was no score used in Dog Day Afternoon, The Hill, or Network.

Photos: (clockwise, from top right: “Twelve Angry Men”, 1957. MGM / “Network”, 1976. MGM, United Artists / Classiq Journal




Read instead…in print #14: Cassavetes on Cassavetes

Talking film costume: Faye Dunaway in “Network”

The short film is a space for infinite freedom:
Interview with filmmaker Nicolas Bianco-Levrin

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