Post-Classical Cinema

I've written at various points about post-classical cinema, but I want to highlight a recent book that I've found useful in thinking through the subject. Eleftheria Thanouli's Post-Classical Cinema: An International Poetics of Film Narration (Wallflower Press, 2009 | press website) tries to define what postclassicism is. As the subtitle suggests, its main intervention is a) continuing the Bordwell-style history of style approach of generalizing about formal systems as historical artifacts and b) understanding post-classicism not simply (or even primarily) as a tendency of blockbuster Hollywood but also a style that cuts across national cinemas. Thanouli uses 14 films (a few examples: Amelie, Trainspotting, and Million Dollar Hotel) to identify key changes in story construction, spatial construction, temporality, and narration. Despite some lit-review-heavy writing style, the strength of the book is that provides both a broad model for understanding the historical shifts and specific case studies with an inductive eye. I might quibble with some of the observations but in all find the account quite persuasive.

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