Monday, 12 September 2011

Book Review: Britton on Film


I'm happy to be able to provide a link to downloadable version of a book review I wrote for CineAction; the book in question is the indispensable Britton on Film: The Complete Film Criticism of Andrew Britton, edited by Barry Keith Grant. Britton is one of my very favourite film critics, so it was a pleasure to be able to delve in detail into his work and argue its merits. Thanks to editor Richard Lippe for permission to reprint the article online.

Here's a brief extract to give a flavour of my approach:

Andrew Britton believed in setting out his stall. A merciless critic of hypocrisy and evasiveness in others, in his own work he sought always to declare his attitudes and assumptions as explicitly as possible, often opening articles with declarations of principle that served as landmarks for the field upon which battle was soon to commence. As he writes in ‘The Philosophy of the Pigeonhole: Wisconsin Formalism and the “Classical Style”’, “If readers do not know where the critic stands in relation to the work, they have no means of defining or assessing the critic’s judgments” (p. 125). In tribute to such candor, let us begin this review with the conclusion I hope will be reached by anyone upon closing this book: the marginalization of the work of Andrew Britton by the field of film studies must be regarded as nothing short of a scandal. This review will in large part attempt to argue why I consider such a conclusion unavoidable.

Originally published in CineAction no. 84, (2011), pp: 44-49.