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How to Watch a Movie

From one of the most admired critics of our time, brilliant insights into the act of watching movies and an enlightening discussion about how to derive more from any film experience. Since first publishing his landmark Biographical Dictionary of Film in 1975 (now in its sixth edition), David Thomson has been one of the most trusted authorities on all things cinema. Now, he offers his most inventive exploration of the medium yet: guiding us through each element of the viewing experience, considering the significance of everything from what we see and hear on screen - actors, shots, cuts, dialogue, music - to the specifics of how, where, and with whom we do the viewing. With customary candour and wit, Thomson delivers keen analyses of a range of films from classics such as Psycho and Citizen Kane to contemporary fare such as 12 Years a Slave and All Is Lost, revealing how to more deeply appreciate both the artistry and manipulation of film, and how watching movies approaches something like watching life itself. Discerning, funny and utterly unique, How to Watch a Movie is a welcome twist on the classic proverb: Give a movie fan a film, she'll be entertained for an hour or two; teach a movie fan to watch, her experience will be enriched forever.
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An enlightening guide to all the magical workings of watching film from 'a giant in the world of film criticism' (The Times)

About the Author

David Thomson, 'without doubt, the greatest living film historian' (LA Times), is the author of the seminal New Biographical Dictionary of Film, now in its sixth edition, Have You Seen ... ?, Nicole Kidman and The Big Screen. Born in London, Thomson now lives in San Francisco.


Chatty and authoritative...both wonderfully informative and a beautifully written paean to the movies and their continuing ability to inspire and enthral. -- Ian Critchley * Sunday Times * Highly readable and wickedly smart, this title will inspire both lay film fans and film students to watch more closely. * Library Journal * Of the medium's many distinguished critics, none is better informed or more authoritative than David Thomson * Spectator * Confirms yet again that [Thomson] has the most learned and independent eyes in the criticism business. Somehow he freshens everything. -- Leon Wieseltier Thomson assuredly seeks to expose the magician's many secrets - but only so we can all access a better appreciation of the wonder of film... An enjoyably deep dive into the interaction between cinema and psyche. * Kirkus * Thoughtfully pondered and poetically covered * Booklist * The best writer on film in our time -- Michael Ondaatje One of the liveliest, most literate, productive, provocative and daring movie critics -- Philip French * Observer * The greatest biographical writer about film of all time * Sunday Times * A giant in the world of film criticism * The Times *

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