Today I am back to doing a book recco and the book is Writers At The Movies; as the subhead says it’s 26 contemporary authors celebrating 26 memorable movies. So Julian Barnes writes about Madame Bovary. JM Coetzee’s chapter is about The Misfits. Jim Shepard — who also edited this book — writes about The 400 Blows.
Why is this fascinating? Because these are not movie writers. They are not full time critics. They write books and stuff. They are novelists. They are poets. And their engagement with the film comes from a slightly different dimension. As the editor puts it, what you see here is the best sort of intellectual play. The essays make you want to go out and see the movie or see it again. They make you want to read the writer’s work.
They suggest that fiction writers and poets are in some ways the ideal respondents for film— distanced enough for the required critical detachment and yet still fans—innocent enough about the critical apparatus to experience the emotions without analysis—and yet, aware enough about art that they can see how form produces meaning.
This series is not about asking you to buy a book or watch a movie. Of course, if you have access to the book or movie—through a library or maybe a friend has it—then great. But what I’m trying to do is say such a book exists, such a movie exists—this is what it’s all about—just file it away as information.
Watch the complete episode here: