From the glossy monochrome of the classic Hollywood romance, to the gritty greyscale of the gangster picture, to film noir's moody interplay of light and shadow, black-and-white cinematography has been used to create a remarkably wide array of tones. Yet today, with black-and-white film stock nearly impossible to find, these cinematographic techniques are virtually extinct, and filmgoers' appreciation of them is similarly waning.
Terry Gilliam has been making movies for more than forty years, and this volume analyzes a selection of his thrilling directorial work, from his early films with Monty Python toThe Imaginarium of Doctor Parnussus (2009). The frenetic genius, auteur, and social critic continues to create indelible images on screen--if, that is, he can get funding for his next project. Featuring eleven original essays from an international group of scholars, this collection argues that when Gilliam makes a movie, he goes to war: against Hollywood caution and convention, against American hyper-consumerism and imperial militarism, against narrative vapidity and spoon-fed mediocrity, and against the brutalizing notion and cruel vision of the "American Dream."
Branigan effectively criticizes the communication model of narration, a task long overdue in Anglo-American circles. The book brings out the extent to which mainstream mimetic theories have relied upon the elastic notion of an invisible, idealized observer, a convenient spook whom critics can summon up whenever they desire to "naturalize" style. The book also makes distinctions among types of subjectivity; after this, we will have much more precise ways of tracing the fluctuations among a character's vision, dreams, wishes, and so forth. Branigan also explains the necessity of distinguishing levels of narration.
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