“‘What I want,’ a young Luis Buñuel announced to the audience at an early screening of his first film, Un Chien Andalou (1929), ‘is for you not to like the film … I’d be sorry if it pleased you.’ The film’s opening scene, which culminates in a close-up of a straight-edge razor being drawn through a woman’s eyeball, is often taken as the epitome of cinema’s potential to do violence to its audience…Horror movies frighten us; violent thrillers agitate us; sentimental stories make us cry. Suffering is often part of our enjoyment. Within limits, however: we are not to be so displeased that we are not pleased. Buñuel deliberately went beyond the limits of permissible displeasure. And so, in his own way, does the Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke.”
In a piece for Public Books Rebecca Steinitz reviews some recent historical novels, including The Luminaries and The Invention of Wings, and argues that the best historical fiction “plunges the reader wholly into the past, enlightening and entertaining us, while also making us reflect on our present, in history and in literature.” Pair her piece with Laila Lalami‘s account of “How History Becomes Story.”
Leading Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn has been working on a three-volume biography of the Liverpool band for almost a decade. Tentatively titled The Beatles: The Complete Story, the first installment was due for a publication date this year. Unfortunately, Volume One, which tracks the group from the beginning through December 1962, has hit yet another delay, and fans likely won’t see it until 2013. As Lewisohn says, the accuracy takes time, and “the whole ethos of the project is ‘do the job properly’.” Lewisohn’s last work was the 2006 Complete Beatles Recording Sessions.
The Kindle edition of one of our Most Anticipated Books is on sale at $1.99. Our Man in Iraq, a novel by Robert Perišic, follows two Croatian cousins who manage to get caught up in the frenzy of the Iraq War. You can find out more in John Feffer’s interview with Perišic. (h/t Buzz Poole)
“New York: Ana and Christian explore bondage in the back of a New York City taxi cab. The driver confuses Ana’s safe word for their destination and mistakenly drops them off at the ‘Guggenheim.'” At The Morning News, Sean Tabb imagines how Fifty Shades of Grey could be adapted for every state.