Reel World

Reel World : An Anthropology of Creation

3.64 (17 ratings by Goodreads)
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Reel World explores what happens to life when everything begins to look and feel like cinema. Drawing on years of fieldwork with Tamil filmmakers, artists, musicians, and craftsmen in the south Indian movie studios of "Kollywood," Anand Pandian examines how ordinary moments become elements of a cinematic world. With inventive, experimental, and sometimes comical zeal, Pandian pursues the sensory richness of cinematic experience and the adventure of a writing true to these sensations. Thinking with the visceral power of sound and image, his stories also broach deeply philosophical themes such as desire, time, wonder, and imagination. In a spirit devoted to the turbulence and uncertainty of genesis, Reel World brings into focus an ecology of creative process: the many forces, feelings, beings, and things that infuse human endeavors with transformative potential.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 360 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22.86mm | 635g
  • North Carolina, United States
  • English
  • 51 illustrations, incl. 1 in color
  • 082235957X
  • 9780822359579

Table of contents

Foreword / Walter Murch ix

Note to the Reader, also a Listener and Seer xvii

1. Reel World 1

2. Dreams 21

3. Hope 37

4. Space 53

5. Art 69

6. Love 85

7. Desire 99

8. Light 107

9. Color 121

10. Time 135

11. Imagination 151

12. Pleasure 167

13. Sound 181

14. Voice 199

15. Rhythm 205

16. Speed 219

17. Wonder 237

18. Fate 251

19. An Anthropology of Creation 267

Acknowledgments 285

Notes 289

Bibliography 313

Index 329
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Review quote

"[A]n engaging text that introduces the reader to the film industry of a distinct cultural landscape in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu." -- Aparna Sharma * Critical Inquiry * "Pandian's writing simulates the formal properties of cinema, conjuring the sounds and sights of films many of us may never see, but feel as though we have seen through his writing, while intimating that much of our apprehension of the world is already irrevocably cinematic." -- Stephanie Spray * Somatosphere * "Pandian interweaves the insights of an exceptional variety of thinkers, from medieval Indian poets, European philosophers, and anthropologists to South Asianists, film scholars, and critics.... [O]ne of the book's delights remains the frolic across time, genre, discipline, field, and emotions that these many references gather and synthesize." -- Sara Dickey * American Ethnologist * "In this book, which follows the various paths through which Tamil films are made, another kind of dream emerges-one that allows us to re-envision the anthropological (by which I mean the human) project as one concerned with learning to open oneself to the wild world beyond what we think we can control." -- Eduardo Kohn * Somatosphere * "Reel World is probably unlike any book on cinema production you have read. It takes seriously the felt reality of the myriad of writers, directors, producers, assistants, art directors, painters, ADR artists, lyricists-name the craftsperson-that collectively bring to the screen 800 or so films annually out of 'Kollywood.' . . . The book sifts expertly and enigmatically across all three levels: daily life, cinematic life and life in the universal. Reel World is actually Pandian's anthropological paean to creation." -- Ritesh Mehta * MovieMaker * "Pandian delivers an adventurous and boldly written pursuit of how ideas become the sights, sounds, stories, emotions, and realities that flicker onscreen in a movie." -- Bret McCabe * Johns Hopkins Magazine * "[A] delightful combination of thought and description is a unique ethnographic account that is both autobiographical and participant-observational. ... In this book, we are made privy to this enigmatic and elusive interface between the creator and the nothingness that confronts him/her in the act of creation." -- C.S. Venkiteswaran * Frontline * "Decoding the phantasmagoria on-screen while navigating the labyrinthine networks of India's Tamil cinema calls for inspired writing. Thankfully, the cicerone who takes us through these oneiric protean worlds can reconcile the recondite with the banal, the sublime with the quotidian, and the real with the mythological... The taut prose, the espial documentation, and cogitations make Reel World a work of superfluous quality." -- Kumuthan Maderya * PopMatters *
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About Anand Pandian

Anand Pandian teaches anthropology at Johns Hopkins University. His books include Crooked Stalks: Cultivating Virtue in South India, also published by Duke University Press.

Walter Murch is an Academy Award-winning film editor and sound designer, and the author of In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing.
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Rating details

17 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 12% (2)
4 41% (7)
3 47% (8)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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