“Cinema Stories” Is a Must-Read for Film Addicts
German filmmaker and novelist Alexander Kluge had cinema figured out with his first feature-length film, Yesterday Girl, back in 1966. And guess what? He did us all the favor and decided to put his experience into words (beautiful ones, at that). Prepare yourself, and then go find a copy of Cinema Stories, stat.
In this glorious text Kluge doesn’t take on the topic of filmmaking in a technical manner—oh no, of course not—he instead uses the form of the short story to embody that magical thing we call cinema. Blurring the lines between fact and fiction, Kluge’s chapters range from discussions with a “blind director” (bonus points if you know who Fritz Lang is) to a mysterious death of a silent screen siren, Olive Thomas. His stories will stick with you for life, haunting in their telling but also so full of knowledge. I guess what I’m trying to say, in the most layman of terms, is that this man knows how to write.
On a more thematic note, Kluge believes that cinema will never die, and even more profoundly, that cinema is not just the screen you sit in front of in a movie theater. No, according to this master of filmmaking, cinema will exist long after the film projectors have stopped clattering—in what form? We may not even know yet, but it will be here somehow. Don’t quite see what he means yet? Read. The. Book.
If you’re a filmmaker, an artist, or simply just enjoy watching movies, this book is a must.