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Filmmakers Thinking

In its English-language form, the title suggests a double meaning: Filmmakers Thinking indicates an active, ongoing process – filmmakers in the process of thinking – but it also implies the possessive Filmmakers’ Thinking, which conjures a body of work that can be consulted, a series of texts (of various kinds) in which these artists’ thoughts have been set down and captured, and so are available now for our study and enjoyment. I intend both meanings, for both are at play in the pages that follow. This book has an unusual structure, and an unorthodox intention. It does not present a fully argued-out thesis or commentary coming from me. It follows no strict chronological order. It boasts neither footnotes nor a bibliography. It is not an ordinary, linear book of film analysis, criticism or history. It does not pretend for a second to be an objective survey. Rather, it arises from a simple but passionately held conviction: that we need to pay more attention, and more respect, to the words of filmmakers. To that end, it presents, in a particular sequence that I have chosen, the writings, statements and reflections of many filmmaker-thinker-artists. But neither is it a straightforward anthology of filmmakers’ texts (some books like that, all useful, none comprehensive, already exist). Rather it is (to use a culinary metaphor) a kind of “taste sampler” or a smorgasbord spread – selected quotations interspersed with my own notations. For each filmmaker, I usually pick one major text – or some particular part of that text. Sometimes I offer contextual background, at other times I suggest connections or contrasts between the various stated or implied filmmaker positions. I occasionally even criticise someone’s statement, but almost always sympathetically, in order to somehow redeem it. I want us to imaginatively inhabit the world of filmmakers thinking, not stand apart and judge it from outside.

There may be the faint outline of a particular “film culture” or cinephile culture (mine) etched into the pages to follow, but I never make that too explicit. If there’s an underlying or subterranean form to this book, it arises discontinuously, in flashes – just as it might in the successive weeks of a classroom seminar, which is exactly how this project began: as a series of PowerPoint slides, some dating back over a decade. My mind works (as I have discovered) like a sequence of PowerPoint slides, bullet-points and all. I lay out the documents I have collected, present them, and annotate them in passing. Sometimes a text (like a film scene) requires slow, stepby- step or phrase-by-phrase reading and re-reading. At other times, I pick at morsels, out of chronology, like a magpie. I jump from one thing to another, across time, across nations, across forms, modes and genres. Hopefully, some themes will add up, gathering together in the swirl. As Samuel Fuller might have handwritten on its final page: The end of this book can only be written by you!

Adrian Martin


Adrian Martin, an arts critic and audiovisual artist based in Vilassar de Mar (Spain), is Adjunct Professor of Film and Screen Studies at Monash University (Australia). He is the author of eight books on cinema (the latest being Mysteries of Cinema: Reflections on Film Theory, History and Culture 1982-2016 from Amsterdam University Press), and co-editor of LOLA journal online.

Technical data sheet

Author: Adrian Martin
Editor: Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola
Number of pages: 245
ISSN: 978-84-7907-847-8
Year: 2022