Review by Jack Foley
FILM buffs really ought not to waste any time in buying Cinema
Today, a pictoral survey exploring the history of cinema post-1970,
which represents a glorious homage to some of the finest moments
committed to film in recent years.
Edward Buscombe's book begins by examining the moment at which
the modern blockbuster was born, taking in the likes of MASH,
The Godfather and, of course, Jaws, in the early Seventies, and
noting how they transformed the economic climate of Hollywood.
The book goes on to identify how social and economic change influenced
the development of films, and assesses the impact of emerging
new waves of cinema (such as world cinema) on Hollywood and its
reaction to these changes.
Needless to say, influential directors, such as George Lucas,
Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese feature prominently
early on, as do the emerging likes of David Fincher, before Buscombe
moves on to consider the unique style of film output from Australasia,
Africa, India, the Middle East and South America, as well as Europe.
Specific film genres and trends are also highlighted and discussed,
as well as the impact of art house cinema, French and Japanese
extremes and the highly-rated Mexican horror genre, which has
catapulted many a promising director into the Hollywood limelight.
And if that's not enough of a recommendation, the pictures are
well-chosen and perfectly illustrate the text, providing a nice
counter-balance between coffee table and intellect, which means
that it can appeal to both.
Needless to say, not everyone will agree with its dicussions,
or its choice of images (given how many it had to select from),
but there is no denying the passion for film displayed in Buscombe's
prose, or some of the enduring images which sit nicely alongside
some not so obvious choices.
And the decision to give a large portion of the book over to
independent and international films is also a nice touch, making
this a book which the ardent film buffs can take just as much
from as the popcorn fans.
Something for everyone, then, and an ideal Christmas stocking
filler - if only it would fit! Perhaps under the tree is a better
place for it, instead.