A photo of a good book about cinema. 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.
Camille Paglia’s essay on Hitchcock’s The Birds, a booklet part of the BFI Film Classics, is a superb piece of writing about cinema, and the best and most comprehensive I have read about the film itself. It’s beautiful how Camille Paglia objectively redeems Hitchcock’s heroines and especially Tippi Hedren’s place among the Hitchcock heroines (as when driving her Aston Martin free, liberated, driving “as a vivacious expression of her combative personality”), especially in a time when so much effort has been put into criticising Hitchcock’s female depiction. It’s a compelling character analysis that extends to the other protagonists as well, including the ruggedly masculine Rod Taylor, which I have always considered the most modern of Hitchcock’s male characters. May I also say that it’s liberating to read someone’s disliking of a character, as is the case here with Veronica Cartwright’s Cathy Brenner? The author considers every aspect of filmmaking, from aesthetic to technical elements, and her visual, cinematographic writing style makes the reading very engaging, and I particularly appreciated how she highlights the way costume fundamentally relates to the study of film narrative and mise-en-scène. Oh yes, the mise-en-scène, with its center stage the boat-dotted harbour of the tranquil fishermen’s village, so particularly comforting… until it is not.
Ruggedly masculine: Rod Taylor in The Birds
Read instead…in print: Unquiet, by Linn Ullmann
The undesigned outfit, the new symbol of American maleness:
Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire