Thursday, October 15, 2009

BFI's New Star Wars Book

BFI (British Film Institute) has released Star Wars, the latest volume in its "Film Classics" series. Star Wars was announced years ago (2002 to be exact) and when it failed to appear I assumed the title had been canceled. Happily, the book (by Will Brooker) is finally available.

In case you don't know, the BFI books are compact, focused studies (usually around 100 pages) written by film scholars and accomplished critics. These reliable authorities deliver fresh insights into the thematic and aesthetic qualities of particular films and always provide convincing arguments for a film's "classic" status. For cinephiles, a BFI book is the place to go for quick (but substantive) analysis.

I haven't read Star Wars yet, but after a quick perusal it looks good. Here's a sample of what Brooker has to offer: "Star Wars reveals the clash between [George] Lucas's pleasure in the exterior, reflective surfaces of objects, and his enjoyment in taking them apart and customising them; his admiration for raw documentary and his obsession with polished high production values; his nostalgia for classical Hollywood adventure and his interest in abstract formalism." (p. 10)." If you like this kind of film analysis then this is the book for you!

There are a number of great books in the BFI library--studies on Blue Velvet, Blade Runner, Eyes Wide Shut, The Right Stuff (and my favorite, Groundhog Day). I recommend all of them. But there are still many great films that need the BFI treatment: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Magnolia, Apocalypse Now, The Natural and Adaptation (to name but a few). We may never see them but we can hope!

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