New Book Releases / April 2019
On April 5, a new book on Wang Bing has been published. In Wang Bing, un geste documentaire de notre temps, each chapter is dedicated to a number of his films, up until Dead Souls (2018). Antony Fiant, a film professor and contributor to Trafic and Positif, explores the filmmaker’s principal preoccupations and the aesthetic and dramaturgical practices underlying his work. You can order the book and access its table of contents and a bibliography on Wang Bing on the website of publishing house Warm. Last year, Sabzian helped to compile and edit the publication Wang Bing: Filming a Land in Flux, of which most of the texts and conversations are available on the website, among other articles on his work.After eight years as an online magazine, Débordements have published their first issue on paper. The core of this almost 300-page publication is dedicated to the work of The Wire’s David Simon. This 134-page dossier tries to get a hold of the paths and modulations of a coherent and exceptionally rich body of work. With equal attention payed to his mini-series (e.g. The Corner) as to the series (The Wire, Treme, The Deuce), this constitutes the first monographical study of the television auteur. The second focus of this inaugural issue revolves around filming public space, especially during manifestations or protests. It also contains a long interview with filmmaker Philippe Faucon on the “audiovisual politics of the city”. You can read the issue’s editorial and the introduction of the David Simon dossier on the website of Débordements, where you can also find the table of contents and buy the publication.Speaking of a golden age of television, Volker Pantenburg has compiled a dossier that traces the sense of experimentation at the West German public service broadcaster, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), around the mid-1970s. Commissioning editors like Werner Dütsch at the film unit, Angelika Wittlich and the series Telekritik, but also those at the department ‘Language and Literature’ made it possible for critics and filmmakers like Harun Farocki to explore essayistic formats and programmes. The dossier includes a retrospective essay by Werner Dütsch, who passed away at the end of last year and to whom Courtisane Festival also dedicated this year’s edition, but also several archival documents from Farocki and Wittlich, and a helpful contextualising essay by Pantenburg. By the end of April, these articles disappear behind the paywall of the journal Critical Studies in Television, so save your copies now.Two former editors-in-chief of Cahiers du cinéma, Jean-Michel Frodon and Emmanuel Burdeau, both have a new director study out. In Treize Ozu, 1949 – 1962, Frodon goes against the approach to look at a filmmaker’s full body of work and instead returns to Yasujirō Ozu's last thirtheen films, one by one, in a series of short texts, showing the singularity of each of the works. You can find the graphically designed table of contents and order the small, richly illustrated and modestly priced book on the website of publishing house 202 Éditions.
In his forthcoming study, Gravité – sur Billy Wilder, Burdeau looks at the American director as the ultimate filmmaker of gravity in that his films all seem to carry a certain weight, be it in their movements, discourses, laughs or politics. The author not only considers Wilder in his “material” but also in his “historical gravity”, analyzing him as a historian of the origins and evolutions of American society or a Germany marked by nazism. You can consult the table of contents and will be able to order the book on the website of the publisher, Lux Éditeur.In the well-established book series they jointly edit with Synema, the Austrian Film Museum just released the first English-language monograph on the work of Viennese filmmaker Ruth Beckermann (The Dreamed Ones, The Waldheim Waltz). The book includes an original essay by Nick Pinkerton, an in-depth conversation with the artist and a detailed filmography. You can order the publication and find the table of contents on the website of the Austrian Film Museum.
First published in 1994, Yves Lavandier's renowned La dramaturgie: L'art du récit is now available in a new and revised edition. An English translation of the book, Writing Drama, has been published in 2005. You can read an extract, including the table of contents, and order the book on the website of the publisher, Les Impressions Nouvelles. Below you can read an excerpt from a review of the book by Jan Baetens (KU Leuven).
“Considered [as] the screenwriter’s bible, the one and only that actually deserves this title: Yves Lavandier’s Dramaturgy [is] a seven hundred (large) page book that revisits the fundamentals of storytelling as defined by Aristotle in his Poetics, and that rethinks, enlarges, deepens, and illustrates them with examples of contemporary narrative from different media (theater, cinema, comics, television, fantasy, etc.). [...] Of all the (yes, countless) books on scriptwriting and storytelling and how to do it, this is by far the best one I know of, and frankly the only one I have on my desk when asking questions about the relative qualities and problems of specific plot structures. Lavandier's major aim is to help writers, professional as well as non-professional ones, to solve the many questions that emerge when one tries to tell a good story. [...] Lavandier is not afraid of drawing our attention to what goes wrong in this or that scene of, for instance, Lubitsch’s To Be or Not To Be (which is also praised as an example of nearly perfect dramaturgy), what could have been improved in this or that sequence by Hitchcock or Spielberg, or which detail or plot element should have been removed, modified, or simply used differently by Truffaut, Brecht or Chaplin. Dramaturgy is not a must-read: it is a must-use, for starting as well as for experienced writers. One of the many lessons one can learn from it, is that storytelling remains both very simple and highly mysterious.”
You can find an overview of all the ‘New Book Releases’ Notes here.