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Cinema Today, by Edward Buscombe



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.

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