Will Pascoe – Noam Chomsky on the World: The Chomsky Sessions (2008)

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One of the most respected intellectuals of the 20th century, Noam Chomsky has had a long and prolific career as a linguist, philosopher, and political activist. Undoubtedly, though, he is best known as the quintessential American dissident. Chomsky’s criticism of U.S. foreign policy began with the Vietnam War and continued over the span of the next 40 years. Continue reading

Elmo Nüganen – Nimed marmortahvlil AKA Names Engraved in Marble (2002)

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A friend lent me this film a number of years ago and I remembered liking it very much, but as years went by I was never sure if I liked it because it was a good film or because of fond memories of the friend. I recently got hold of it once again and, have seen it again, realise this is a fine film that deserves to be much better known that it is.

The film is set in Estonia in 1918, as the country fights for indepedence. My guess is that knowledge of the conflict might add more enjoyment to the film, but it’s not essential. The film follows a group of students who volunteer to fight for their country. The narrative concentrates on Henn Ahas, one of the students but not the leader, who is played in a wonderful performance by Priit Voigemast. In fact the performances are all uniformly superb, and the script is tight and switches effectively between scenes of war and more human elements of the story. This is a fine film, which works both as a moving story of comradeship and as a military drama. Continue reading

John Carpenter – Masters of Horror: John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns (2005)

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“I know what you want, you want to see the movie.”

John Carpenter directs this unsettling installment of the “Masters of Horror” series, following one man’s search for the holy grail of horror cinema. Hired by a millionaire collector (Udo Kier) to retrieve the infamous Le Fin du Monde — a violent movie that reportedly causes viewers to turn into homicidal maniacs after they watch it — an unsuspecting theater owner (Norman Reedus) begins to fall under the film’s spell. Continue reading

Howard Hughes – Stagecoach to Tombstone: The Filmgoer’s Guide to Great Westerns (2008)

British author Howard Hughes charts the development of the modern Western movie in this insightful, informative volume published in 2008 by Tauris & Company. By examining 27 movies he views as key, Hughes shows the evolving nature of the genre. Western fans are in for an interesting ride since the films range from classics like ‘Stagecoach’ to B-oaters such as ‘Ride Lonesome’ to misfires like ‘One-Eyed Jacks.’ Continue reading

Marijke de Valck – Cinephilia: Movies, Love and Memory (Film Culture in Transition) (2005)

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Publisher description for Cinephilia : movies, love and memory / edited by Marijke de Valck and Malte Hagener.

They obsess over the nuances of a Douglas Sirk or Ingmar Bergman film; they revel in books such as François Truffaut’s Hitchcock; they happily subscribe to the Sundance Channel—they are the rare breed known as cinephiles. Though much has been made of the classic era of cinephilia from the 1950s to the 1970s, Cinephilia documents the latest generation of cinephiles and their use of new technologies. With the advent of home theaters, digital recording devices, online film communities, cinephiles today pursue their dedication to film outside of institutional settings. A radical new history of film culture, Cinephilia breaks new ground for students and scholars alike. Continue reading