A mixed bag from the new books shelf this week; just the way I like it!
I used to enjoy Marc Fennell’s enthusiastic movie rants on the revamped (and sadly shortlived) SBS Movie Show (you know, after Margaret and David jumped ship). Since then he has continued to provide his own brand of movie-mania across a variety of different television and radio shows, and this book manages to capture his endearing, if somewhat loopy, style; and I mean that in a nice way, of course! He’s a fan of two favourites of mine, Big Trouble in Little China and Silver Streak, so really that’s all you need to know….
This diverse collection of essays from 24 authors range from rock art and bark painting to photography and new media in the 21st century. Growing out of a 2008 international art history conference held at the University of Melbourne titled Crossing Cultures. Conflict, Migration and Convergence, these scholarly essays explore Australian art within a number of fascinating contexts.
The question of how art depicts the invisible is creatively dealt with in this beautiful “biography” of the wind. The author uses everything from classical monuments to mediaeval manuscripts to Renaissance paintings to contemporary sculpture and beyond to tell the life story of something we all take for granted, except when it turns nasty on us! Very clever.
If you’re a movie buff then this book will have an almost hypnotic appeal! The major Hollywood studios all created vast backlots during their heyday, and there was no studio more major than MGM and no backlot more vast. This profusely illustrated book is a virtual history of the studio told through the life and death of its extraordinary series of backlots, from the New York street scene, to the quaint French village, to the African jungle set, to the Roman amphitheatre, to Esther Williams swimming pool palaces, and beyond! This really is a lost world, overtaken by special effects and computer generated environments, and seeing it here in glorious black-and-white makes you marvel yet again at the remarkable achievement of the Hollywood studio system.