cover image An Illustrated History of Filmmaking

An Illustrated History of Filmmaking

Adam Allsuch Boardman. Nobrow, $24 (110p) ISBN 978-1-910620-40-3

Delivering on its title, this slim, breezy volume runs through the history of filmmaking from the earliest experiments humanity performed with tricks of light to speculating on the future of movie viewing. Illustrations are paired with brief and simplistic text and some amusing anecdotes. For example, during WWI, film pioneer George Méliès’ studio had its film stock “recycled into shoe heels”; and during the making of Star Wars, actor Harrison Ford teased George Lucas’ poor line readings when the director was trying to motivate him. But the style feels more like a textbook, rather than a comic. Taking on the entire history of the art of cinema in a short book requires that these descriptions be cursory at best, though Boardman’s choice to widen the focus beyond American productions adds a welcome broader perspective. Boardman does, however, make some odd choices and digressions, though, in the claim to scope—such as concentrating overly on personal favorites like The Seven Samurai and Star Wars. Since the work feels like it’s aimed at a younger audience, occasional profanity comes across as jarring. While pleasant, competent enough, and easily digestible, the effort feels like a children’s primer gone astray and is forgettable for an adult audience. (Oct.)