In this new collection of reviews and essays, Jonathan Rosenbaum focuses on the political and social dynamics of the contemporary movie scene. Rosenbaum, widely regarded as the most gifted contemporary American commentator on the cinema, explores the many links between film and our ideological identities as individuals and as a society. Readers will find revealing examinations of, for example, racial stereotyping in the debates surrounding Do the Right Thing, key films from Africa, China, Japan, and Taiwan, Hollywood musicals and French serials, and the cultural amnesia accompanying cinematic treatments of the Russian Revolution, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam War. From Schindler's List, Star Wars, Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, The Piano, and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective to the maverick careers of Orson Welles, Jacques Tati, Nicholas Ray, Chantal Akerman, Todd Haynes, and Andrei Tarkovsky, Rosenbaum offers a polemically pointed survey that makes clear the high stakes involved in every aspect of filmmaking and filmgoing.
Jonathan Rosenbaum is film critic at the Chicago Reader, author of Moving Places (1995) and Placing Movies (1995), both published by California, editor of This is Orson Welles (1993), and a member of the New York Film Festival selection committee.
"I think there is a very good film critic in the United States today, a successor of James Agee, and that is Jonathan Rosenbaum. He's one of the best; we don't have writers like him in France today. He's like André Bazin."—Jean-Luc Godard
"Rosenbaum is unusually at home in the worlds of both academic film study and weekly film reviewing. There is great sophisticated intelligence without impenetrable high theory, and there is wonderful accessibility without cheerleading. This voice belongs to a true cosmopolitan, who makes movies matter on aesthetic and political grounds, who attends to major non-American films neglected in this country, and whose growing impatience with the contemporary Hollywood product retains a sense of humor."—Michael Rogin, author of Blackface, White Noise
"Rosenbaum is one of the few film reviewers with a deep understanding of film form, its sources in film history and theory, and even more its place as a twentieth-century art form. He refuses to embrace high-art intellectualism or pop-art fun exclusively and likewise refuses to forgo either. The unique quality of his reviews is their immediacy. He engages and argues with film audiences, filmmakers, and distributors, demanding a response to the standards he sets. It is in this sense that this collection is profoundly political."—Tom Gunning, author of D. W. Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film