Review by Choice Review
After the recent blockbuster success of historical movies, such as Ben Affleck's Argo and Stephen Spielberg's Lincoln, this hefty anthology, which confronts the complexity of historical films, is a welcome addition to film studies. Rosenstone (California Institute of Technology) and Parvulesu (West Univ. of Timisoara, Romania) have gathered 26 essays written by senior scholars from a wide range of disciplines and cultures. The book is divided into seven parts: "History and the Medium of Film," "Filmmakers as Historians," "Telling Lives: The Biopic," "Cinema and the Nation," "Wars and Revolution," "Pre-modern Times," and "Slavery and the Postcolonial World." Each essay focuses on one or more feature films, with exemplary explication and extrapolation. Maria Pramaggiore's study of Barry Lyndon (1975) apprehends Stanley Kubrick's whole canon. Debra Ramsay adds a provocative study of the resources packaged in DVDs. Fred Zinnemann, Mark Donskoi, Andrzej Wajda, and the Italian masters are studied as director-historians. Guy Westwell analyzes US movies about the Iraq war to show how a film can be both a historical event and a depiction of one. The anthology is far too meaty to be digested in one or two seatings; this vital reference should be saved and savored. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. M. Yacowar emeritus, University of Calgary
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