A Line of Sight, by Paul Arthur

story  Michael Betancourt, July 8, 2005 all rights reserved.


Paul Arthur's new book collects his essays on avant-garde film from the past thirty years into a single volume. This book is a much needed survey of American work since 1965 that was written at the time of the events being discussed, rather than a historicizing volume written from a singular contemporary viewpoint.

What is especially good about this book is the mixture of approaches that gives the book a shifting view of the work covered, and allows a degree of internal dialogue between different essays. Of particular interest are the later chapters covering more recent developments, a critical look at the present that is common in other arts, but too often lacking with movies.

The Appendix may prove to be the most important section in what is clearly an important book. It collects distribution and screening information on a number of well-known movies, allowing an analysis of the social networks that are too-often ignored when avant-garde film is studied as an art form. The general availability of such a database creates new opportunites for critical study and examination.

Copyright © Michael Betancourt  July 8, 2005  all rights reserved.

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