cover image The Secret Language of Film

The Secret Language of Film

Jean-Claude Carriere. Pantheon Books, $23 (232pp) ISBN 978-0-679-42116-0

French screenwriter Carriere, whose screenplays include The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Tin Drum , complains that contemporary filmmakers' pictorial vocabulary--dominated by editing, jerky action and a dizzying proliferation of shots--seems designed to prevent the audience from thinking or even seeing. In an engaging melange of recollection, shoptalk, criticism and anecdote, he exposes the tricks, illusions and cliches of modern filmmakers, explaining how the cinema has gradually dropped literary devices in exchange for purely filmic techniques. With nimble wit, Carriere reminiscences on his work with directors Jacques Tati and Luis Bunuel, offers hard-won insights to screenwriters and drops devastating asides on Casablanca (no Moroccans), television, the U.S. audiovisual industry's growing global monopoly on movies and TV that is slowly annihilating local production. (Sept.)