Re-Visions: Essays in Film and Dramatic Criticism
This is a collection of essays whose title more or less explains its contents. In Re-visions: Essays in Film and Dramatic Criticism, the author attempts to re-view a number of major works of film and dramatic art, and in the process to revise either his own views, or the received wisdom, about them.
The book begins with an historical overview of the whole subject of theater and film, or theater versus film, and then proceeds to reexamine the work of such playwrights as Bertolt Brecht, Arthur Miller, Bernard Shaw, Thomas Heywood, Carlo Terron, Fernand Crommelynck, Eugene O'Neill, Thornton Wilder, and John Steinbeck, as well as the concept of a historical avant-gardism and the dramatic adaptation of the Antigone myth. In the area of cinema, Re-visions re-visits, and re-evaluates, the film theory of André Bazin and the film movement of Italian neorealism; reconsiders such films as Robert Bresson's Une Femme douce, Michelangelo Antonioni's L'avventura, Alain Resnais's Last Year at Marienbad, and Resnais's Hiroshima, mon amour; and rethinks the rationale behind war movies, gangster films, and even the idea of New York as a character in the cinema.
Re-visions includes an interview with David Hare in which, among other subjects, this British playwright comments on the differences between writing for the cinema and writing for the stage. The collection concludes with an essay in which the author re-examines five American films from the perspective of the first time he saw them versus the perspective of today.
As we move through the twenty-first century, almost all artists, students, and critics working in theater will have had earlier exposure to film than to theater. In fact, film has become central to the way in which we perceive and formulate stories, images, ideas, and sounds. At the same time, film, video, and digital media occupy an increasingly significant place in theater study, both for the adaptation of plays and for the documentation or preservation of theatrical performances. Yet far too often young theater and film artists, as well as educators, make the jump from one medium to the other without being fully aware of the ways in which the qualities of each medium affect content and artistic expression--a problem that the essays in Re-visions attempt to address.