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David Thomson in conversation with Jonathan Kiefer
March 23, 2021 @ 6:00 pm
celebrating the book launch of
A Light In The Dark: A History of Movie Directors
published by Alfred Knopf
This is a virtual event that will be hosted by City Lights on the Zoom platform. You will need access to a computer or other device that is capable of accessing the internet. If you have not used Zoom before, you may consider referencing Getting Started with Zoom.
Event is free, but registration is required.
(Click Here) to register.
Directors operate behind the scenes, managing actors, establishing a cohesive creative vision, at times literally guiding our eyes with the eye of the camera. But we are often so dazzled by the visions on-screen that it is easy to forget the individual who is off-screen orchestrating the entire production–to say nothing of their having marshaled a script, a studio, and other people’s money. David Thomson, in his usual brilliantly insightful way, shines a light on the visionary directors who have shaped modern cinema and, through their work, studies the very nature of film direction. With his customary candor about his own delights and disappointments, Thomson analyzes both landmark works and forgotten films from classic directors such as Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean Renoir, and Jean-Luc Godard, as well as contemporary powerhouses such as Jane Campion, Spike Lee, and Quentin Tarantino. He shrewdly interrogates their professional legacies and influence in the industry, while simultaneously assessing the critical impact of an artist’s personal life on his or her work. He explores the male directors’ dominance of the past, and describes how diversity can change the landscape. Judicious, vivid, and witty, A Light in the Dark is yet another required Thomson text for every movie lover’s shelf.
DAVID THOMSON is the author of more than twenty-five books, including The Biographical Dictionary of Film, Sleeping With Strangers: How the Movies Shaped Desire, biographies of Orson Welles and David O. Selznick, and the pioneering novel Suspects, which was peopled with characters from film. He was born in London in 1941 and educated at Dulwich College and the London School of Film Technique. He worked in publishing, at Penguin; he directed the film studies program at Dartmouth College; he did the series Life at 24 Frames Per Second for BBC radio; he scripted the film The Making of a Legend: Gine with the Wind; and he was on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival. He has been called the best or the most imaginative or reckless writer on film in English, but he presses on. His residence is in San Francisco, but he lives in his head.
JONATHAN KIEFER is a film critic, film editor, and filmmaker. He is a member of both SFFILM’s filmmaker residency program and the SF Film Critics Circle, and the former editorial director of Fandor. His debut film Around the Sun has appeared at numerous film festivals. He has served as a reader for Zoetrope: All-Story.
Praise for the work of David Thomson
“Thomson’s own genius is his ability to remain one of the leading authorities on cinematic history, without shying away from the controversial. Cinephiles seeking provocative arguments will appreciate his work.”
—Lisa Henry, Library Journal
“Compulsive reading: thoughtful and thought-provoking in equal measure. David Thomson’s knowledge is comprehensive and his response to all films humane and entirely uncorrupted by the conventional hagiography of so much writing about film. He’s engagingly unafraid of challenging received opinion.”
—Richard Eyre, director
“David Thomson has spent his life thinking hard and deep about cinema, and so he’s uniquely placed to write this lovely, brutal book about the glory of being a film-maker and vainglory of being an auteur.”
—David Hare, screenwriter and playwright
“A Light in the Dark took over my life for two days. It is a summary of cinema and a requiem. Love and sadness. A prodigious masterwork.”
—John Boorman, director, The Tailor of Panama
Founded by Francis Ford Coppola in 1997, Zoetrope: All-Story is a quarterly print magazine of short fiction, one-act plays, and essays on film. Among the most celebrated literary periodicals in the world, it has won every major story award, including four National Magazine Awards for Fiction, along with a number of design commendations. The magazine’s contributors comprise the most promising and significant writers of our era: Mary Gaitskill, Colum McCann, Rachel Cusk, Jim Shepard, Elena Ferrante, Daniel Alarcón, Karen Russell, Yiyun Li, Jonathan Lethem, Wes Anderson, Elizabeth McCracken, David Mamet, Ha Jin, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Margaret Atwood, Pedro Almodóvar, Ethan Coen, Yoko Ogawa, Charles D’Ambrosio, Neil Jordan, Haruki Murakami, and many more.
Zoetrope: All-Story is also an art magazine—the editors invite a different artist to design each edition in its entirety. Past guest designers include David Lynch, Zaha Hadid, William Eggleston, Agnès Varda, Kara Walker, David Bowie, Ed Ruscha, Iggy Pop, Guillermo del Toro, Abbas Kiarostami, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, PJ Harvey, Elizabeth Peyton, Gus Van Sant, Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Julian Schnabel, Mary Ellen Mark, David Byrne, Helmut Newton, Lou Reed, and John Baldessari, among others.
The magazine is published quarterly in March, June, September, and December and printed in California.
To learn more visit: Zoetrope: All-Story
This event is sponsored by the City Light Foundation