Stolen Glimpses, Captive Shadows: Writing on Film, 2002-2012 by Geoffrey O'Brien

By Geoffrey O'Brien

]“We watch what's relocating speedy from a platform that also is relocating fast,” writes Geoffrey O’Brien first and foremost of Stolen Glimpses, Captive Shadows. This collection—gathering the simplest of a decade’s worthy of writing on movie via certainly one of our so much bracing and inventive critics—ranges freely during the last, current, and way forward for the flicks, from the primal visible poetry of the silent period to the dizzying variations of the merging electronic age.

Here are 38 looking essays on modern blockbusters like Spider-Man and Minority record; contemporary cutting edge triumphs like The Tree of Life and Beasts of the Southern Wild; and the intricacies of style mythmaking from chinese language martial arts movies to the horror classics of Val Lewton. O’Brien probes the visionary artwork of vintage filmmakers—von Sternberg, Fod, Cocteau, Kurosawa, Godard—and the consequences of such varied fresh paintings as Farenheit 9/11, The ardour of Christ, and The Sopranos. every one of those items is alert to the always-surprising intersections among monitor lifestyles and genuine lifestyles, and how that movie from the start has formed our experience of reminiscence and history.

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Extra resources for Stolen Glimpses, Captive Shadows: Writing on Film, 2002-2012

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Whereas in the political event there are shared and agreed (even if not desired) definitions of the situation, in the catastrophic personal event, the definition of the situation is fractured. Consequently, the heaviness of a film like The Lady and the Duke is replaced with a pervasive sense of irony. At a couple of places in The Marquise of O, there is a chorus of doubters who are either sceptical or incredulous about the story that is unfolding before them; such a chorus never appears in The Lady and the Duke because the French Revolution made everything extremely lucid.

It is the miracle as a catastrophe that is political because it sucks in any, and potentially every, man and woman, and thus unravels without regard to the person. For example, at the beginning of the film the Duke of Orleans is a hero of the Revolution and later votes for the execution of the King, but he is soon forced to understand that, as he says to Grace Elliott, ‘I am no longer master of my name or my person’. What happens in the course of the tragedy is that, just like the Duke, Grace Elliott is transformed from bystander into agent and, as the Revolution becomes a catastrophic event beyond the control of persons, she becomes an object waiting to be consumed.

More strongly yet, it might be said that everyday life can never be satisfying except in the most illusory and deceptive of ways. The point about the miracle is that because it is an event that can be lived through to its end, it points towards the fulfilment that is called real life. But, and this is the root of tragedy, that real life involves so intense a suffusion of meaning into the everyday that ‘no one would be able to bear it, no one could live at such heights – at the height of their own life and their own ultimate possibilities.

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