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The Rough guide to film
Armstrong, Richard B.
Adult Nonfiction PN1998.2 .R66 2007

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From Library Journal:

An unsigned introduction, ostensibly by the four main writers, states that the goal of this volume is to "present the world of cinema through the lens of its leading directors" because they are "the people whose artistic vision is often what ultimately determines a film's value." The four principal authors are certainly well qualified to make such judgments, as all have written extensively on this medium: Lloyd Hughes and Jessica Winter are responsible for Gangster Movies and American Independent Film, two previous titles in the "Rough Guide" series; Armstrong has written for periodicals like Film International and Film Quarterly; and pieces by Tom Charity appear frequently in the pages of Sight & Sound, Cinema Scope, and Total Film. An additional 17 contributors back them up; these 21 individuals together wrote the approximately 835 entries. Each entry consists of a heading that lists the director's name, country, and birth/death dates, followed by a biographical sketch of variable length that places his or her work under a microscope. The coverage is impressive, both chronologically, ranging from such pioneers as D.W. Griffith to today's Young Turks like Quentin Tarantino, and geographically, profiling directors from Hollywood to Bollywood to such lesser-known corners of filmdom as Senegal and Turkey. Features include 49 shaded boxes sprinkled throughout the text, which highlight some genre ("The Western: Destiny to Demise") or special aspect of film creation ("Jazz in the Movies"). A guide titled "Essential Films and Filmmakers" is like an amped-up table of contents and makes for a great browsing tool. Ditto for the "Index of Film Reviews" at the end of the book. While one could argue that much of this information is available free online (check out, for example, for movie reviews or for director bios), it can be difficult, if not impossible, to establish the credentials of those who create web content. BOTTOM LINE One always gets what one pays for, and this authoritative book is a good compromise between single-volume works such as Visible Ink's The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, which does not do justice to the subject matter, and comprehensive multivolume sets like Gale's four-volume International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, which are beyond the budgets of many libraries. Compact, accessible, and well organized, this book gives quite a bit of bang for your library buck. [Available in print only.]-Michael Bemis, Washington Cty. Lib., Woodbury, MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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