Cinema of Loneliness

Cinema of Loneliness : Penn, Kubrick, Coppola, Scorsese, Altman

3.92 (205 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$19.95

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks

Product details

  • Hardback | 410 pages
  • 137.16 x 208.28 x 27.94mm | 635.03g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 34ill.
  • 0195025881
  • 9780195025880

Review Text

Critical closeups of five directors whose films, though "formally adventurous, structurally coherent and challenging," nonetheless "only perpetrate the passivity and aloneness that have become their central image." Kolker, as you may have already gathered, is a "cinema" (as opposed to "movie") man - academic, Marxist, Europhile. (He laments that the U.S. film tradition seems unable to produce a Godard or Fassbinder.) So these essays, though often strong on technical analysis and film-lit cross-references, are lumbered by a dependence on Cahiers du Cinema vocabulary (virtually everything becomes a variant of "film noir") and a heavy auteur approach. Kolker is weakest on Arthur Penn, concentrating on the influential violence in Bonnie and Clyde and attributing Penn's decline to his convention-bound American-ness: "He must define his characters by action and, inevitably, by violence." Stanley Kubrick (especially Dr. Strangelove) is admixed for a Welles-ian "realization of cinematic space" and a Ford-ian narrative structure - but though these emotion-charged techniques "force us to come to terms with our perceptions," the near-Brechtian result is still "a reinforcement of our passivity and impotence." F. F. Coppola's Godfathers are marvels of manipulative craftsmanship, and they may go a bit further "in exposing the brutality and limitations of capitalism; but they hedge by allowing us simple responses to familiar categories." Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver gets slightly higher marks: it's "responsible - responsible in the sense that it offers . . . the lack of clarity and the lack of definition that characterize solitude and madness." And Robert Altman, though he too finds no "response" to the "lies" he satirizes, comes closest to encouraging us to overcome "the prison that our contemporary cinema seems dead set on insisting we inhabit." Wearying didacticism - but wary film students (who'll keep Kolker's jargon and bias in perspective) Will appreciate the less pretentious pages here - especially the frame-by-frame analyses of point-of-view. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

205 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 28% (57)
4 45% (93)
3 19% (38)
2 8% (17)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X