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The Power of Film

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  100 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
America's most distinguished film professor provides the definitive A to Z course on the intricacies of film. Each entry in this remarkable book, which represents a lifetime of teaching film, has already inspired and educated several generations of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers and writers. This book examines the patterns and principles that make films popular and memora ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Michael Wiese Productions (first published January 1st 2006)
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Ke Huang
Jun 10, 2012 Ke Huang rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grad-reading
Not only have I had the opportunity to have class with Prof Suber, but I visited his house for a potluck dinner. But, for those who do not have these opportunities, I recommend this book. Especially those cinephiles and (aspiring) industry insiders.
May 07, 2012 Jay rated it really liked it
More a book of the art of story telling. I view movies differently now, and appreciate the well developed characters more.
Aug 23, 2009 Ruthpaget rated it really liked it
A dictionary that contains all the knowledge of myth and narrative for storytelling in all its forms.
Mar 28, 2016 Lynley rated it really liked it
This author is one of the white guys who, behind the scenes, helps run Hollywood. Now, I have a lot of issues with Hollywood, and anyone else who's not an old white guy should too. That's why certain entries in this book really grind my gears, because although he describes filmmaking axioms, they're not always the truth. Take the following from the entry on 'heroines':

"It is clear from the history of film that, while females in the audience are interested in seeing male heroes, males are not as
Luke Thomas
Apr 23, 2016 Luke Thomas rated it really liked it
Excellent insight into how film can affect the viewer, the specialities of film, literary tropes common to film; all in an encyclopediac format. Pithy and humourous all while skimming into some aesthetic theory, The Power of Film is a great companion to the best films from an experienced professional.
Aug 21, 2012 Elaine rated it it was amazing
My fascination with the relationship between films and the real world was greatly satisfied by the wisdom I found in this book. Mr. Suber writes about films and so much more, including our relationship to heroes and a short acerbic definition of propaganda. He writes, specifically, about memorable popular films, which he defines as films that were popular in their day and continue to be popular for 10 years. He also offers a long list of examples.

The entries, listed alphabetically, cover Comedy,
Jesse Hebert
May 16, 2009 Jesse Hebert rated it it was ok
Shelves: film
40 odd years of general film teaching experience condensed to pint-sized entries -- actually modified "tracts" the author handed out during lectures. Very general ideas and info, concerned chiefly with American popular films and the nature of their popularity. Interesting enough as a quick reference though some will find the entries entirely unfulfilling.
Feb 03, 2016 SJ rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
This is a nice reference book for film tropes and terms. It has a special place on my bookshelf next to my Bedford Glossary of Literary Terms.

My only negative comment is that I wish that it contained more.
Nathan Eckman
Feb 17, 2013 Nathan Eckman rated it it was amazing
Howard covers every topic intriguing stories possess. He then explains each topic in a relevant, concise, manner. Based on a collection of thousands of notes Howard has used on his students in the UCLA film program (which he helped establish) this book is a delight, an avant garde of film critique.
Sara Q
Jun 19, 2011 Sara Q marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction
Mentioned in this blog post:
Feb 13, 2008 Tiffany rated it really liked it
great teaching tool thanks to recommendation by Cauleen and Dwayne!
Aseem Mahajan
Aug 11, 2015 Aseem Mahajan rated it it was amazing
The millennial bible
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“The hero doesn’t become a hero simply because he takes a stand against the villain; he becomes a hero because he stands for something. This can be justice, a cause, his family, friends, community, or nation. Invariably, while the villain stands for himself, the hero stands for something beyond himself.” 1 likes
“You seek your destiny; you succumb to your fate. Destiny originates within the self; fate comes from outside. Fate is the force that lies beyond individual will and control; it pushes you from behind. Destiny is the attracting force in front of you that acts like a magnet and that you choose to acquire.” 0 likes
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