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Philip Kaufman

Philip Kaufman

Annette Insdorf
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Philip Kaufman
    Book Description:

    American director Philip Kaufman is hard to pin down: a visual stylist who is truly literate, a San Franciscan who often makes European films, he is an accessible storyteller with a sophisticated touch. Celebrated for his vigorous, sexy, and reflective cinema, Kaufman is best known for his masterpiece The Unbearable Lightness of Being and the astronaut saga The Right Stuff. His latest film, Hemingway & Gellhorn (premiering May 2012 on HBO), stars Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen._x000B__x000B_In this study, Annette Insdorf argues that the stylistic and philosophical richness of Kaufman's cinema makes him a versatile auteur. She demonstrates Kaufman's skill at adaptation, how he finds the precise cinematic device for a story drawn from seemingly unadaptable sources, and how his eye translates the authorial voice from books that serve as inspiration for his films. Closely analyzing his movies to date (including Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Wanderers, and Quills), Insdorf links them by exploring the recurring and resonant themes of sensuality, artistic creation, codes of honor, and freedom from manipulation. While there is no overarching label or bold signature that can be applied to his oeuvre, she illustrates the consistency of themes, techniques, images, and concerns that permeates all of Kaufman's works.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09397-5
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. An Eye for an “I”
    (pp. 1-128)

    Philip Kaufman’s cinema is stylistically and philosophically rich, but he has not received the kind of acclaim routinely showered on his peers. One reason is that the movies of directors such as Woody Allen, Robert Altman, or Quentin Tarantino are easier to categorize as belonging to one person. Because Kaufman’s versatility is greater than his recognizability, he is considered less of an auteur. But close analysis of his twelve films reveals a true auteur at work. They are connected first by formal majesty: if Flaubert invoked “le mot juste” (the exact word), Kaufman finds “l’image juste”—the precise cinematic device...

  5. Interview with Philip Kaufman
    (pp. 129-140)
    Philip Kaufman

    From the author’s onstage interview with Kaufman at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, December 9, 1993. (Additional portions are drawn from the author’s email correspondence with Kaufman and a letter of March 2, 2001.)

    ANNETTE INSDORF: In an early scene of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Donald Sutherland’s character finds a rat turd in an elegant French restaurant, and you get the sense that something is rotten in the state of California. This was 1977–78, and you took the 1956 images of conformism, making them all too appropriate for the pre-Reagan era and yuppie society. When you made...

  6. Filmography
    (pp. 141-146)
  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 147-150)
  8. Index
    (pp. 151-159)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 160-163)