THR’s list of must-read tomes — determined by a jury of more than 300 Hollywood heavyweights including Steven Spielberg, David Zaslav, Liza Minnelli and Ava DuVernay — proves there’s one topic the supposedly reading-averse industry can’t get enough of: itself.
There have previously been “greatest film books” surveys of some of these constituencies, but never all of them, and never of this size and scope.
Among the 100 GREATEST were a couple of titles that should be familiar to cinephiles familiar with the University of Texas Press—at #66, Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes: A Guided Tour Across a Decade of Independent American Cinema, by John Pierson and at #48, Sculpting in Time: The Great Russian Filmmaker Discusses His Art, by Andrey Tarkovsky.
If you’re looking for extra credit, you can also download a checklist of the 100 Greatest Film Books of All Time and start reading your way through!
For those who haven’t yet read these two classics of the UT Press film list, we’re offering a 40% discount at our site through the end of the year! Add the print or ebook to your card and use the code UTXTHR at check out for the special price.
We’re makin’ you an offer you can’t refuse!
#66 Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes: A Guided Tour Across a Decade of Independent American Cinema, by John Pierson
Variety called John Pierson the “guru of independent film.” Why? Perhaps because he wrote Spike Lee a $10,000 check to finish She’s Gotta Have It, and sold Michael Moore’s documentary to Warner Brothers for $3 million. Maybe it’s because he helped make “slacker” a household word with Richard Linklater’s 1991 film, has seen over 1,000 debut features, and unlike most independent film companies, managed not to lose his shirt while backing the movies he supported. In short, he’s been at the epicenter of the tumultuous last decade that changed independent film forever and launched a new generation of hilarious, ambitious, talented, and somewhat whacked filmmakers.
In Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes John Pierson uses his own experience to tell the unvarnished truth about the importance of timing and marketing; the personal and professional politics of film financing; creating a sensation on the film festival circuit; the dark side of overnight success; and the anatomy of details that get films to a theater somewhere near you. It’s an inside look at the art, the heart, and the enterprise of the spiteful, fractious, and finally, entertaining place that is the world of independent cinema.
#48, Sculpting in Time: The Great Russian Filmmaker Discusses His Art, by Andrey Tarkovsky
Andrey Tarkovsky, the genius of modern Russian cinema—hailed by Ingmar Bergman as “the most important director of our time”—died an exile in Paris in December 1986. In Sculpting in Time, he has left his artistic testament, a remarkable revelation of both his life and work. Since Ivan’s Childhood won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1962, the visionary quality and totally original and haunting imagery of Tarkovsky’s films have captivated serious movie audiences all over the world, who see in his work a continuation of the great literary traditions of nineteenth-century Russia. Many critics have tried to interpret his intensely personal vision, but he himself always remained inaccessible.
In Sculpting in Time, Tarkovsky sets down his thoughts and his memories, revealing for the first time the original inspirations for his extraordinary films—Ivan’s Childhood, Andrey Rublyov, Solaris, The Mirror, Stalker, Nostalgia, and The Sacrifice. He discusses their history and his methods of work, he explores the many problems of visual creativity, and he sets forth the deeply autobiographical content of part of his oeuvre—most fascinatingly in The Mirror and Nostalgia. The closing chapter on The Sacrifice, dictated in the last weeks of Tarkovsky’s life, makes the book essential reading for those who already know or who are just discovering his magnificent work.