The Review/Feature/

Can't Stop the Franco

The King of All Media headlines this month's edition of Reel Reads

by David Davidson
Jul 24, 2017

Reel Reads spotlights the best film books and magazines currently on the shelves in TIFF Shop.

TIFF Shop is now online! Click on “SHOP” in the navigation bar at the top of the page to explore our selection of books, magazines, DVDs and TIFF merchandise.

The Thing Postcard Book by James Franco

The King of All Media continues his full-spectrum dominance with this series of postcards in which he recreates the covers of 30 of his favourite books — including Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, Charles Bukowski’s Post Office, Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep and Michael Herr’s Dispatches — featuring himself in the lead roles, natch. The postcards are prefaced by an essay from Franco. For even more Franco, check out his starring/director return as Tommy Wiseau in his new film, The Disaster Artist, playing the Midnight Madness slot at TIFF '17.

Sélection officielle: Journal by Thierry Frémaux

This new monograph is one of the first of its kind: the diary of the artistic director of one of the world’s most important film festivals, recounting everything leading up to the 2016 edition of Festival de Cannes. More open than was his predecessor Gilles Jacob, Frémaux offers a rare glimpse into what it’s like to organize such a large-scale event — a complex system with new and higher stakes and challenges arising every year, and where the artistic director has to walk a tightrope between being a media presence as the face of the festival and the discreet behind-the-scenes diplomat who ensures that it all comes together.

While Frémaux does offer some juicy tidbits about his jet-setting life and famous friends, and the backstage antics of some of the many great directors whose films have screened at the festival over the years, these are ultimately secondary to the author’s daily life and rituals, his interests and other extra-cinematic passions. Frémaux also takes time to respond to some of the harshest critiques levelled at both himself and the festival over the years, without ever sounding too self-righteous.

Shard Cinema by Evan Calder Williams

This fascinating book examines one of the most ubiquitous yet least-commented-upon elements in modern blockbuster cinema: the computer-generated shards of glass that go flying through the air by the thousands in such action spectacles as The Matrix, the Transformers movies, etc. Analyzing representative media — from commercial blockbusters to videogames, music videos to commercials — and consulting visual designers and technology journals, author Evan Calder Williams not only offers concise descriptions of how these effects are actually achieved, but also theorizes about how these effects have wrought changes in our own spectatorial vision: in Williams’ reading, the shards on screen both create surface tensions in the image that work to captivate audiences with new visual sensations, while also offering fleeting, self-reflexive glimpses of the method of their own creation.

Robert Beavers edited by Rebekah Rutkoff

This great new addition to the Austrian Film Museum’s director-focused monograph series is one of the first major anthologies dedicated to the late American avant-garde filmmaker, who we were pleased to welcome to TIFF Cinematheque in December 2012 to present some of his recent (and, sadly, last) work. The collection is divided into three sections: historical texts (including essays from Beavers’ avant-garde peers like Jonas Mekas and Gregory Markopoulos, the latter of whom was also Beavers’ partner of many years), essays by multi-disciplinary artists, writers and curators, and texts by Beavers himself. A fitting tribute to an artist who contributed something truly unique to cinematographic language.