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If you view film as a realistic medium, the escapism of Hollywood begins to look like a successful spin-off. Most cinema remains shackled to life

By Mark Cousins   September 2004

Around 8,000 books on film history are available in English. Of these, over 200 purport to cover the whole of the subject. Some, such as those by Robert Sklar, Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell, and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, are outstanding. They cover every period and most countries and between them run to over a million words.

Eleven decades into the history of the medium, we have surely reached saturation point with such books. There are only so many times you can read about the marvel of Citizen Kane or the influence of Kurosawa. Bernardo Bertolucci recently reacted wearily to news of…

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