David Bordwell's website on cinema   click for CV




Perplexing Plots: Popular Storytelling and the Poetics of Murder

On the History of Film Style pdf online

Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling

Film Art: An Introduction

Christopher Nolan: A Labyrinth of Linkages pdf online

Pandora’s Digital Box: Films, Files, and the Future of Movies pdf online

Planet Hong Kong, second edition pdf online

The Way Hollywood Tells It pdf online

Poetics of Cinema pdf online

Figures Traced In Light

Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema pdf online

Exporting Entertainment: America in the World Film Market 1907–1934 pdf online


Hou Hsiao-hsien: A new video lecture!

CinemaScope: The Modern Miracle You See Without Glasses

How Motion Pictures Became the Movies

Constructive editing in Pickpocket: A video essay


Rex Stout: Logomachizing

Lessons with Bazin: Six Paths to a Poetics

A Celestial Cinémathèque? or, Film Archives and Me: A Semi-Personal History

Shklovsky and His “Monument to a Scientific Error”

Murder Culture: Adventures in 1940s Suspense

The Viewer’s Share: Models of Mind in Explaining Film

Common Sense + Film Theory = Common-Sense Film Theory?

Mad Detective: Doubling Down

The Classical Hollywood Cinema Twenty-Five Years Along

Nordisk and the Tableau Aesthetic

William Cameron Menzies: One Forceful, Impressive Idea

Another Shaw Production: Anamorphic Adventures in Hong Kong

Paolo Gioli’s Vertical Cinema

(Re)Discovering Charles Dekeukeleire

Doing Film History

The Hook: Scene Transitions in Classical Cinema

Anatomy of the Action Picture

Hearing Voices

Preface, Croatian edition, On the History of Film Style

Slavoj Žižek: Say Anything

Film and the Historical Return

Studying Cinema


Book Reports

Observations on film art

Unassigned reading

Tuesday | December 12, 2006   open printable version open printable version

DB here:

Thanks to the digital engineering efforts of Andy Adams, of Flak magazine, some older research articles of mine are now archived on the site. See the list on the left, or click here. The pieces range from discussions of particular filmmakers (Feuillade, Preminger) and film techniques (e.g., jump cuts) to more general questions about film theory, history, and criticism. Also included is Lingua Franca‘s profile of me. I’ve added some supplementary comments to give a little context. Andy will be adding a couple more essays in the week to come.

This spring my Poetics of Cinema collects other previously published essays, all revised. That collection includes several new pieces as well.

Also, I’ve added two new book reports, one on James Mottram’s The Sundance Kids, the other on Joe Eszterhas’s Devil’s Guide to Hollywood.

A great gift for the film fan on your holiday list: The wonderful book by Teruyo Nogami, Waiting on the Weather: Making Movies with Akira Kurosawa, trans. Juliet Winters Carpenter. This is a trip back to a golden era of Japanese cinema.

Ms. Nogami started as a minor functionary at Toho, shifted to Daiei, and then worked as scriptgirl for Kurosawa. As sharp, funny, and moving as any Japanese film of the 1940s and 1950s, her book gives an engrossing account of the social interactions around moviemaking. You get a sense of the desperate energy of Japanese film production in the late 1940s, when Tokyoites scrabbled for food. Film stock was scarce–directors sometimes could afford to make only one take–and people worked around the clock. To keep going during all-night shoots, crew members injected themselves with philopon (aka speed).

Of course Kurosawa stands at stage center, treated reverently but also with keen observation. You’ll want to read about his relations with producers, composers, cameramen, and tigers. But there are other featured players too. As a schoolgirl Ms. Nogami corresponded with the important 1930s director Mansako Itami, and she took sisterly care of his son Juzo, who would grow up to direct Tampopo and A Taxing Woman.

In all, a document of moviemaking’s many dimensions–technical, financial, artistic, and personal. Donald Richie contributes a warm foreword, and we should thank Marty Gross of Marty Gross Films for initiating the translation.

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