Practical Film Criticism - An Enlightened Approach to Moviegoing Volume One

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These two volumes are an attempt to grapple with the nature of film art through the evaluation of vital and representative instances of that art, created throughout the world, from 1993 to 1998. The essays contained herein are acts of analysis and interpretation, they are neither windy theoretical musings nor impenetrable scholarly tracts. In addition, there are two translations of visionary articles by prominent international directors; an extended interview with an esteemed American movie critic, a speculative piece on the relationships among theatre, fiction, and film; an overview of the careers of the Vittorio De Sica and Woody Allen; and a long, polemical introduction. Generously illustrated.


"In his introduction, Cardullo writes that he is not a film reviewer, buff, scholar, or theorist; he is a critic: reviewers are journalists; critics write personal essays about film. This volume includes longer versions of 11 "Film Chronicles" published in The Hudson Review from 1993 to 1998. Devoted to practical criticism, and writing within the humanist tradition of the Western world, Cardullo derives his methodology from the once-fashionable new criticism of literature, which results in practical criticism in the form of close readings of the films under consideration. Also included is "The Film Generation and After," a long interview with the distinguished film critic and reviewer Stanley Kauffmann. Cardullo provides notes, a list of films mentioned in the Kauffmann interview, and a collection of stills ... useful to audiences ranging from beginning undergraduates to faculty" - CHOICE

“Bert Cardullo’s work is one of the brightest beacon lights in the world of film criticism, and this wide-ranging new collection makes that light shine even more brightly.” – Stanley Kauffmann

“Bert Cardullo is a fabulous viewer of movies. He practices a kind of film criticism that gives first place to one’s instinct for seeing possibilities in films and for identifying films to see possibilities within. This selection of essays is remarkable for its range and masterful in its use of language.” – Dudley Andrew

“The film writings of Bert Cardullo are fresh and lucid, in addition to being revelatory of his belief that the study of cinema is a sacred calling. I marvel at Cardullo’s profound perceptiveness about the exemplary meaning as well as the ultimate magic of the movies.” – Andrew Sarris

“Bert Cardullo’s articles and reviews are invariably intelligent, original, and highly informed. I have been a sturdy admirer of his work; he’s a solid writer and an equally solid judge. Because of his vast knowledge of the movies, not to speak of the theatre, Cardullo is able to make fascinating connections in showing how different works – sometimes from widely varying times and places – throw a light on one another.” – Richard Gilman

“He writes short readable reviews, and a lot of what he has to say about world cinema of the 1990s would be interesting to a very wide audience. . . . Cardullo’s writing is densely packed, and all the more impressive for the fact that he studiously avoids the generalizations and simplifications that lazy reviewers too often blame on space constraints. . . . his reviews are written with great seriousness and attention to both aesthetic and social detail. He is someone with an impressive and stimulating command of the difficult dance of the film review.” – Canadian Journal of Film Studies

Table of Contents

Preface, Introduction, List of Illustrations
Part I: Long Takes (Eleven Film Chronicles)
The Comfort of Strangers: The Comfort of Strangers and La Belle Noiseuse
Men at Work: Riff-Raff and Mac
Rubies in Paradise: The Piano and Ruby in Paradise
Swindler’s Mist: Schindler’s List and The Slingshot
Family Affairs: Spanking the Monkey and Ladybird, Ladybird
Bread and Poetry: Il Postino
A Girl and Two Women: The White Balloon and Mina Tannenbaum
Secrets and Lies: Angels and Insects and Secrets and Lies
Dangerous Liaisons or Sex, Lies and Burlesque: Chasing Amy and In the Company of Men
Life and Nothing But: Ponette and Maborosi
High Infidelity: Prisoner of the Mountains and La Promesse
Part II: Two-Shot (One Interview)
The Film Generation and After: Stanley Kauffmann in Conversation with Bert Cardullo

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