Monday, 8 July 2013

Pelican Time:
The Cinema as Art
by Ralph Stephenson
& J.R. Debrix


(Cover design by Germano Facetti.)

Though it never ventures far beyond the established canon of ‘classic cinema’ (a canon that admittedly must have seemed a bit fresher in 1965 than it does today, with the addition of such recent bomb-shells as ‘Knife In The Water’ (1965) and ‘Cléo de 5 à 7’ (1962)), ‘The Art of Cinema’ is nonetheless a fine read, and to this day remains a good introduction to the basics of what is taught the world over as ‘Film Studies’. In classic Pelican style, Ralph Stephenson and the excellently named J.R. Debrix strike a careful balance between the abstract and the practical, waxing lyrical about the majesty and power of cinema’s greats, before calming down and telling us about precisely how they achieved the effects they did, right down to the nuts and bolts of where to put the camera, how to get the best lighting and how to work things out in the cutting room.

Reflecting this dual-purpose approach, I find that many of the images and captions in the book’s illustrated section take on a rather poetic quality, which I hope you’ll be able to get a taste of via the scans below.

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