Very pleased with the finished cover design for my new book, Positioning Art Cinema: Film and Cultural Value, now due out at the end of this month. A copy of the descriptive blurb is included below. I’m also very grateful to those who provided wonderfully supportive quotations for the cover or inside, also copied below as they might not be legible in the image.
Art cinema occupies a space in the film landscape that is accorded a particular kind of value. From films that claim the status of harsh realism to others which embody aspects of the tradition of modernism or the poetic, art cinema encompasses a variety of work from across the globe.
But how is art cinema positioned in the film marketplace, or by critics and in academic analysis? Exactly what kinds of cultural value are attributed to films of this type and how can this be explained? This book offers a unique analysis of how such processes work, including the broader cultural basis of the appeal of art cinema to particular audiences.
Geoff King argues that there is no single definition of art cinema, but a number of distinct and recurrent tendencies are identified. At one end of the spectrum are films accorded the most ‘heavyweight’ status, offering the greatest challenges to viewers. Others mix aspects of art cinema with more accessible dimensions such as uses of popular genre frameworks and ‘exploitation’ elements involving explicit sex and violence. Including case studies of key figures such as Michael Haneke, PedroAlmodóvar and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, this is a crucial contribution to understanding both art cinema itself and the discourses through which its value is established.
‘For too long, the term “art cinema” has suffered from slippery, I-knowit-when-I-see-it usage. Incisively and intrepidly, Geoff King dissects thiscontested category, deliberating on the diverse, yet codified ways ofattributing cultural value to film drama.’
Mattias Frey, Professor of Film and Media, University of Kent, UK‘
Here’s a book film studies has long needed. Geoff King is sensitive tonuances of both text and context and he introduces fruitful terms like the“heavyweight” film. Essential reading for anyone interested in art cinema!’
Michael Z. Newman, Associate Professor and Chair,Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies,University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA
‘With Positioning Art Cinema, Geoff King deftly executes a delicateintellectual maneuver: writing nonjudgmentally about critical judgments.The book navigates the subjective and contradictory terminology thatsurrounds a range of films, filmmakers and modalities framed as distinctfrom perceived mainstream entertainments. Never drifting into schematictaxonomy, King shrewdly unpacks the proliferating categories thatscholars, critics and filmmakers themselves have used to assign culturalvalue to cinema.’
Mark Gallagher, Associate Professor of Film and Television Studies,University of Nottingham, UK‘
‘Following his leading work in the fields of Hollywood blockbusters,American independent cinema and quality Hollywood films, Geoff Kinghere shifts his attention to the often vaguely defined and understood fieldof art cinema. Through questioning established critical orthodoxies andwith the help of his trademark close textual analysis of key recent titles,Positioning Art Cinema does a great job in laying bare the complex,culturally determined and often unspoken assumptions that help elevatethis type of cinema to the top of cultural hierarchies. Superbly researchedand utterly readable, the book will appeal to both experts in the field andart film novices.’
Yannis Tzioumakis, Reader in Film and Media Industries,University of Liverpool, UK