In 1975, David Thomson published his Biographical Dictionary of Film, and few film books have enjoyed better press or such steady sales.
Now, thirty-three years later, we have the companion volume, a second book of more than 1,000 pages in one voice--that of our most provocative contemporary film critic and historian.
Juxtaposing the fanciful and the fabulous, the old favorites and the forgotten, this sweeping collection presents the films that Thomson offers in response to the question he gets asked most often--"What should I see?" This new book is a generous history of film and an enticing critical appraisal written with as much humor and passion as historical knowledge. Not content to choose his own top films (though they are here), Thomson has created a list that will surprise and delight you--and send you to your best movie rental service.
But he also probes the question: after one hundred years of film, which ones are the best, and why?
"Have You Seen . . . ?" suggests a true canon of cinema and one that's almost completely accessible now, thanks to DVDs. This book is a must for anyone who loves the silver screen: the perfect confection to dip into at any point for a taste of controversy, little-known facts, and ideas about what to see. This is a volume you'll want to return to again and again, like a dear but argumentative friend in the dark at the movies.
Film critic Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film) gives cinephiles and film novices alike a comprehensive yet personal list of 1,000 must-see films. Arranged alphabetically--a chronological index is included--Thomson's tome opens with a slapstick American comedy (1948's Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein) and closes with a social critique from talented Italian director, Antonioni (Zabriskie Point from 1970). For Thomson, films are products of both their time and our own, and the act of watching (and re-watching) reminds us that film is a medium where the past perpetually enhances the present. It can't be a coincidence that the oldest entry (1895's L'Arrosseur Arrosse) and the newest (2007's No Country for Old Men) are both twists on the revenge epic helmed by innovative brothers (the Lumieres and the Coens, respectively). As Thomson points out, Story is as long and twisty as a hose. It goes on forever. (Oct. 15)
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October 12, 2008
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