Negative Space: Manny Farber on the Movies
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Negative Space: Manny Farber on the Movies (1971) is an anthology of film criticism by Manny Farber. Its first sentence reads "The saddest thing in current films is watching the long-neglected action directors fade away as the less talented De Sicas and Zinnemanns continue to fascinate the critics."
Of the 52 essays contained in Negative Space, a number cover important, "termite"-like film artists (Howard Hawks, Val Lewton, Preston Sturges, Don Siegel, Sam Fuller, Jean-Luc Godard, Luis Buñuel, Raoul Walsh, Nicolas Roeg, Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder). Three, however, can be seen as "influential summing-up pieces." Those being: "Underground Films" (1957), "Hard-Sell Cinema" (1957), and "White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art" (1962).
- Manny Farber, one of the most important critics in movie history, championed the American action film—the bravado of Howard Hawks, the art brut styling of Samuel Fuller, the crafty, sordid entertainments of Don Siegel—at a time when other critics dismissed the genre. His witty, incisive criticism later worked exacting language into an exploration of the feelings and strategies that went into low-budget and radical films as diverse as Michael Snow's Wavelength, Werner Herzog's Fata Morgana, and Chantal Akerman's Jeanne Dielman. Expanded with an in-depth interview and seven essays written with his wife, artist Patricia Patterson, Negative Space gathers Farber's most influential writings, making this an indispensable collection for all lovers of film.