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The Cinema of Richard Linklater

The Cinema of Richard Linklater: Walk, Don't Run

Rob Stone
Series: Directors' Cuts
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    The Cinema of Richard Linklater
    Book Description:

    From Slacker (1991) to The School of Rock (2003), from Before Sunrise (1995) to Before Sunset (2004), from the walking and talking of his no/low-budget American independent films to conversing with the philosophical traditions of the European art house, Richard Linklater's films are some of the most critical, political, and spiritual achievements of contemporary world cinema. Examinations of Linklater's collaborative working practices and deployment of rotoscoping and innovative distribution strategies all feature in this book, which aspires to walk and talk with the filmmaker and his films. Informed by a series of original interviews with the artist, in both his hometown and frequent film location of Austin, Texas, this study of the director who made Dazed and Confused (1993), A Scanner Darkly (2006), and Bernie (2011) explores the theoretical, practical, contextual, and metaphysical elements of these works along with his documentaries and side-projects and finds fanciful lives and lucid dreams have as much to do with his work as generally alternative notions of America, contemporary society, cinema, and time.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-85040-7
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: Walk, Don’t Run: The Cinema of Richard Linklater
    (pp. 1-6)

    Is it the place or is it the time in which nothing is happening? In the films directed by Richard Linklater there is often a sense that life (as preternaturally prescribed by social pressures, familial expectations and the economic imperative to deploy one’s education profitably) is elsewhere. Indeed, the most enduring criticism of Linklater remains that of the passer-by in his debut film Slacker (1991), who spots him shooting apparently aimless twenty-somethings on a sidewalk and pointedly proclaims: ‘Ain’t no film in that shit!’ However, this accusation is ignorant of all that has made Linklater one of the most consistent,...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Locating Linklater
    (pp. 7-38)

    Independent cinema feels right at home in Austin. Born of a revolution, Texas resisted the union of its Lone Star state with the rest of America for almost a decade, and even then and ever since its capital city of Austin has symbolised resistance to exploitation by the incursive forces that surround it. Americans come from all over the world they say, but Texans come from Texas. Its capital city was named after Stephen F. Austin, a cautious and peaceful sort who led the colonisation of the region by settlers. Fortunes from steers, cotton and oil sponsored the construction of...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Crafting Contradictions
    (pp. 39-72)

    Revellers in Linklater’s Dazed and Confused kidnap bronze figures playing pipe and drum from a memorial to the American War of Independence and paint their faces black and white to resemble members of KISS, an American rock band of the 1970s whose image was based on this carnivalesque trademark. Strapped to the back of a truck and adorned with fireworks, they are a monument to irreverence in the midst of the Moon Tower keg party that commemorates the last day of school in May 1976.¹ However, by 1983 KISS had abandoned their face paint to seek credibility. It was not...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The Form and Content of Slack
    (pp. 73-104)

    Modernist novels that explore the multiform potential and limitations of the written word such as James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), Douglas Coupland’s Generation X (1991) and Julio Cortázar’s Rayuela (Hopscotch, 1963), which effects a stream of consciousness that includes changing languages and has chapters that can be read in any order whatsoever, are often pronounced unfilmable. While the attempt at fusing form and content to create film meaning is a creative pursuit, attempts at true Modernism may collapse into the kind of complex, self-referential relationship between form and content that results in the pastiche of Postmodernism. However, the Danish Dogme movement...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR American Art House
    (pp. 105-137)

    Whether hanging out in the real Austin (Slacker, Waking Life and the project known as Boyhood), a metaphorical one (Dazed and Confused, SubUrbia, A Scanner Darkly) or the metaphysical ones of Vienna (Before Sunrise) and Paris (Before Sunset), walking and talking is what characters in the cinema of Richard Linklater do best. Out of several themes that are common to the most emblematic films, including the impossibility of distinguishing between what is real and what is not, dialogue is the most determinant factor in their form, content, meaning, making and marketing. Dialogue is also crucial to the way in which...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Dreamstate, USA: The Metaphysics of Animation
    (pp. 138-165)

    Rotoscoping? ‘It was one of those magical marriages of technology and ideas,’ asserts Linklater.¹ Which begs the question of exactly what ideas could best be betrothed by tracing over live action footage, colouring it in and animating it on a computer. Crudely psychedelic and at the same time languorously mundane, rotoscoped imagery evokes a dream whose lucidity insists upon its reality while simultaneously suggesting that its monsters are being barely kept at bay. Its history can be traced by a series of shortcuts through that of screen animation, but perhaps a more telling antecedent might be plate 43 of 80...

  10. CHAPTER SIX The Spaces In Between
    (pp. 166-192)

    By definition no Cubist portrait can ever be complete because its subject exists in the time that it expresses and is therefore constantly changing, evolving, arriving and departing. So too is the cinema of Richard Linklater, whose movement between independent film and the studio system, between genres, European and American cinema, politics and philosophy is a product of versatility and variation. Linklater certainly disproves the assumption of idleness as a defining characteristic of the slacker ethos. Not counting all the work that he will go on to make, this portrait still lacks four vital fragments: a short documentary on the...

    (pp. 193-202)
    (pp. 203-215)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 216-224)