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An Invention Without a Future: Essays on Cinema by James Naremore

By James Naremore

In 1895, Louis Lumière supposedly acknowledged that cinema is "an invention and not using a future." James Naremore makes use of this mythical comment as a place to begin for a meditation at the so-called loss of life of cinema within the electronic age, and as a manner of introducing a wide-ranging sequence of his essays on videos earlier and current. those essays contain discussions of authorship, variation, and performing; commentaries on Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Vincente Minnelli, John Huston, and Stanley Kubrick; and stories of more moderen paintings through non-Hollywood administrators Pedro Costa, Abbas Kiarostami, Raúl Ruiz, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. very important issues recur: the family among modernity, modernism, and postmodernism; the altering mediascape and loss of life of older applied sciences; and the necessity for powerful serious writing in an period whilst print journalism is waning and the arts are devalued. The booklet concludes with essays on 4 significant American movie critics: James Agee, Manny Farber, Andrew Sarris, and Jonathan Rosenbaum.

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Extra resources for An Invention Without a Future: Essays on Cinema

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One can make valid generalizations about Hollywood studios and genres, but every western and every film noir is not the same. ” These two individuals were themselves situated differently in history, and a study of their careers can produce a fine-grained understanding of both film style and the general culture. Echoing a statement by F. R. Leavis, Wood argues that it is “only through the medium of the individual that ideological tensions come into particular focus” (Hitchcock’s Films Revisited, 292).

As Huyssen puts it, “Pop in the broadest sense was the context in which a notion of the postmodern first took shape, and from the beginning until today, the most significant trends within postmodernism have challenged modernism’s relentless hostility to mass culture” (188). Huyssen doesn’t mention Godard or Truffaut, but the New Wave belongs on his list of postmodern developments. Godard’s early work is roughly contemporary with Pop and clearly draws inspiration from the American commercial scene.

Modernism was not only willfully difficult and formally “experimental,” it was also sexually scandalous, critical of progress, and offensive to the Babbitts and the Bovarys who supposedly made up the viewing audience. Thus, at the height of the classic studio system, when Hollywood was absorbing every kind of artistic talent and establishing itself as the very emblem of modernity, the Production Code Administration (PCA) began to engage in what Richard Maltby calls “a conscious ideological project” aimed at preventing what one of its leaders described as “the prevalent type of book and play” from becoming “the prevalent type of movie” (Maltby, “To Prevent the Prevalent Type of Book,” 81).

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