It seems fitting that straight after the 15th Shanghai International Film Festival concludes, a new book launch at the end of the month is giving film fans a chance to take a closer look at the movie industry.
The Chinese edition of Flashback: A Brief History of Film has been translated by the Taiwanese film scholar and filmmaker Peggy Chiang (Jiao Xiongping). "If you don't know Georges Melies, and A Trip to the Moon, or Louis and Auguste Lumiere, and The Great Train Robbery, how can you enjoy the film Hugo made by Martin Scorsese? And if you have no idea of the tragedy that some silent film stars faced with the arrival of talkies, how can you fully appreciate the beauty of The Artist?" explains Chiang in the preface of the book.Signature works
Louis Giannetti penned Flashback: A Brief History of Film with Scott Eyman back in 2001.
Giannetti is a noted American film theorist and critic, and also a professor of English and Film at Case Western Reserve University. His signature works include Masters of the American Cinema and Understanding Movies. American writer Scott Eyman is a regular contributor to The Palm Beach Post and The New York Observer, and is famous for his biography, Print the Legend - The Life and Times of John Ford.
"Flashback is now in its sixth edition and has been very well received," Chen Zhongyao, editor of the Post Wave Publishing House (the publisher of the Chinese edition), told the Global Times. "And we had already published the Chinese edition of Giannetti's Understanding Movies which made us confident of his ability."
The book traces the very beginnings of the film industry, and its development over the next 100 years. Each decade is given a chapter, and each explores Hollywood, European and Asian films during those eras.
Each chapter begins with a chronicle of achievements in the fields of society, culture and technology during that time period, giving readers a better understanding of the context in which contemporaneous films were made.
The sixth edition has been fully updated and includes information about films made after 2000 such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood and Batman 2: The Dark Knight.
Translator Chiang is a former chairwoman of the prestigious Golden Horse Film Festival in Taiwan. She points out although Giannetti expresses an "accurate and incisive perspective" on American films, he has "blind spots" or is guilty of "superficial readings" when it comes to appreciating some European and Asian films.
(from Global Times | 2012-6-20 By Li Yuting)