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Paul Hammond

Related: film criticism - film theory - surrealism in cinema

The Shadow and Its Shadow: Surrealist Writings on the Cinema (1978) - Paul Hammond (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Paul Hammond is the author of Constellations of Miró, Breton (City Lights), a monograph on Luis Buñuel's L'Age d'or, Marvellous Méliès, French Undressing, and Upon the Pun: Dual Meaning in Words and Pictures (with Patrick Hughes). Hammond is the coeditor, with Ian Breakwell, of Seeing in the Dark: A Compendium of Cinemagoing and Brought to Book: The Balance of Books and Life. His translations include Whatever by Michel Houellebecq and The Virgin of the Hitmen by Fernando Vallejo.

The Shadow and Its Shadow: Surrealist Writings on the Cinema (1978) - Paul Hammond

The Shadow and Its Shadow is a classic collection of writings by the Surrealists on their mad love of moviegoing. The Shadow and Its Shadow is once again available, now from City Lights in a revised and expanded third edition.

The forty-odd theoretical, polemical, and poetical re-visions of the seventh art in this anthology document Surrealism's scandalous and nonreductive take on film. Writing between 1918 and 1977, the essayists include such names as Breton, Aragon, Desnos, Dalí, Buñuel, and Man Ray, as well as many of the less famous, though equally fascinating figures of the movement.

The introduction by editor and translator Paul Hammond limns the history of Surrealist cinemania, highlighting how these revolutionary poets, artists, and philosophers sifted the silt of commercial--often Hollywood--cinema for the odd fleck of gold, the windfall movie that, somehow slipping past the censor, questioned the dominant order.

Such prospecting pivoted around the notion of lyrical behavior--as depicted on the screen and as lived in the movie house. The representation of such behavior led the Surrealists to valorize the manifest content of such denigrated genres as silent and sound comedy, romantic melodrama, film noir, and horror movies.

As to lived experience, moviegoing Surrealists looked to the spectacle's latent meaning, reading films as the unwitting providers of redemptive sequences that could be mentally clipped out of their narrative context and inserted into daily life--there, to provoke new adventures.

"Hammond's book is a reminder of the wealth and range of surrealist writings on the cinema. . . . [T]he work represented here is still challenging and genuinely eccentric, locating itself in an 'ethic' of love, reverie and revolt." - Sight & Sound

Contents of The Shadow and Its Shadow:

Available light / Paul Hammond
Some surrealist advice / The Surrealist Group
War letter / Jacques Vaché
On décor / Louis Aragon
Cinema U.S.A. / Philippe Soupault
Battlegrounds and commonplaces / René Crevel
Against commercial cinema / Benjamin Péret
Buster Keaton's College / Luis Buñuel
Abstract of a critical history of the cinema / Salvador Dalí
The marvelous is popular / Ado Kyrou
As in a wood / André Breton
Picture palaces / Robert Desnos
Plan for a cinema at the bottom of a lake / Bernard Roger
The lights go up / Jacques Brunius
Surrealism and cinema / Jean Goudal
Introduction to black-and-white magic / Albert Valentin
Crossing the bridge / Jacques Brunius
Sorcery and cinema / Antonin Artaud
The screen's prestige / Jacques Brunius
Remarks on cinematic oneirism / Robert Benayoun
The cinema, instrument of poetry / Luis Buñuel
Malombra, aura of absolute love / The Romanian Surrealist Group
Data toward the irrational enlargement of a film: The Shanghai Gesture / The Surrealist Group
The film and I / Ado Kyrou
Cinemage / Man Ray
Another kind of cinema / Marcel Mariën
Intention and surprise / Nora Mitrani
The ideal summa / Petr Král
Turkey broth and unlabeled love potions / Gérard Legrand
The fantastic - the marvelous / Ado Kyrou
Concerning King Kong / Jean Ferry
Larry Semon's message / Petr Král
Hands off love / The Surrealist Group
Chaplin, the copper's nark / Jean-Louis Bédouin
Manifesto of the Surrealists concerning L'Âge d'or / The Surrealist Group
Zaroff; or, The prosperities of vice / Robert Benayoun
Eroticism / Robert Desnos
Eroticism = love / Ado Kyrou
Au repas des guerrières / Nelly Kaplan
Female x film = fetish / Gérard Legrand
Mae Murray / Jacques Rigaut
"Enchanted wanderer": excerpt from a journey album for Hedy Lamarr / Joseph Cornell
Iron in the wound / Alain Joubert
Pornographers & Co. / Robert Lebel
Selected films made by Surrealists
A parting shot

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