Download PDF by Peter Biskind: Seeing Is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop

Download PDF by Peter Biskind: Seeing Is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop

By Peter Biskind

Seeing is Believing is a provocative, wise, witty examine the Hollywood fifties video clips all of us love-or like to hate-and the thousand sophisticated methods they mirror the political tensions of the last decade. Peter Biskind, former government editor of most suitable, is certainly one of our such a lot astute cultural critics. right here he concentrates at the motion pictures every body observed yet no one relatively regarded at—classics like Giant, On the Waterfront, Rebel and not using a Cause, and Invasion of the physique Snatchers—and exhibits us how videos that seem to be politically blameless in truth hold an ideological burden. As we see association males and rugged individualists, housewives and occupation girls, law enforcement officials and medical professionals, youngster angels and teen werewolves struggle it out around the reveal from suburbia to the farthest reaches of the cosmos, we needless to say we've been observing one lengthy dispute approximately the way to be a guy, a lady, an American—the conflicts of the interval in motion.

A paintings of very good research and meticulous conception, Seeing Is Believing bargains attention-grabbing insights into easy methods to learn motion pictures of any period.

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Sample text

The second notion concerns the relationship between cinematic practices (mediated by genial individual artists) and a legacy of nationally discrete developments in art history. Both conceptions significantly reduce the complexity of influences that German set design imported, synthesized, and in turn exported again to other film cultures. However, if German set design during the Weimar period, and its approach to mise-en-scène more generally, really was as nationally introspective and exclusive as both Kracauer and Eisner (as well as numerous subsequent studies) have claimed, why was this approach then so avidly copied by filmmakers elsewhere in Europe from the mid-s, and why was it that precisely the professions associated with set design became the most mobile work force in the European film industry in the late s and s?

However, as our case studies in this book suggest, these attempts and strategies of national containment and introspection provide only a partial understanding of the cinema of the s, and they were not necessarily always dominant. Instead they always competed (at least until the late s) with cosmopolitan practices, and these can frequently be located in popular cinema, and often in genres that emphasised spectacle through spatial cues. Bruno is very suggestive for these broader concerns of our book towards the end of Atlas of Emotion when she observes that conventional film histories tend to be ‘time’ rather than ‘space’-bound: It [film history] moves diachronically, progressing from period to period, and provides an essentially temporal history of the medium.

The effect of this practice on the set and its design can be documented in three significant ways. Firstly, the lighting assigned equal importance to all elements of the image, with the resultant refusal to privilege the actors against their background, heightening the presence and significance of the set. Secondly, what Thompson refers to as the set’s ‘conspicuous visibility’ required designers to construct backgrounds in a fairly naturalistic style, or rely totally on painted backdrops.  In addition to differences in stylistic paradigms, Thompson also notes the different working methods in German and American studios.

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