Jake Wilson reviews 'Directory of World Cinema, Volume 19' edited by Ben Goldsmith, Mark David Ryan, and Geoff Lealand

Jake Wilson reviews 'Directory of World Cinema, Volume 19' edited by Ben Goldsmith, Mark David Ryan, and Geoff Lealand

Directory of World Cinema, Volume 19: Australia and New Zealand

edited by Ben Goldsmith, Mark David Ryan, and Geoff Lealand

Intellect (Footprint), $69 pb, 364 pp, 9781841506340

Careful readers will soon notice something puzzling about this book, an attractive large-format paperback with frequent colour illustrations. Staring accusingly from the cover is the young indigenous actor Rowan McNamara, one of the stars of Warwick Thornton's 2009 love story Samson & Delilah. The image seems aptly chosen: Thornton's film is an acknowledged landmark in twenty-first-century Australian cinema. But strangely, while Samson & Delilah receives a handful of fleeting mentions in the book, nowhere in the space of 300-plus pages is it discussed in any detail.

Adding to the riddle, Samson & Delilah was given equally cursory treatment in the previous Directory of World Cinema: Australia and New Zealand, published in 2010 by two of the same editors. Both directories are part of an ambitious series from Britain's Intellect Books, which ranges across the whole of world cinema; each volume focuses on a particular country or region, assembling brief essays and reviews by multiple writers. The format is deliberately piecemeal and rather unsatisfactory, at least if you are looking for a text that will cover the ground in a systematic way.

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Published in December 2015, no. 377
Jake Wilson

Jake Wilson

Jake Wilson is a freelance writer who lives in Melbourne and reviews films regularly for The Age. Formerly the Melbourne correspondent for Urban Cinefile and a co-editor of Senses of Cinema, he has contributed to a range of print and online publications, including Kill Your Darlings, RealTime, Bright Lights Film Journal, and Meanjin. Some of his film writings are archived on his personal website.

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