Review of the Week: 2/27/17

After last night's historic Academy Awards, our current Review of the Week examines the importance of video for cinema.

Video Revolutions: On the History of a Medium

Newman, Michael Z. Columbia, 2014
138p bibl index afp, 9780231169516 $9.00

Video revolutions: on the history of a medium book cover

Emblematic in its brevity and concision, this absolutely bleeding-edge book provides a thoroughly detailed discussion of the impact that video—in all its manifestations, from VHS videos to YouTube and all the stops between—has had on the cinema and the ways in which we watch movies today. Just like this volume, video platforms today “get to the point” immediately, and clips are replacing longer films, which are now confined to multiplex viewing; “binge” viewing of entire seasons of a television series is another, contradictory option, but then again, these series were designed for the small screen. Part history, part prognostication, densely theoretical and yet poetic, Newman’s volume is a signal text in video studies, considering not just the practical but also the aesthetic and historic impact of video on the film medium. A lively, accessible volume with a nicely selected group of illustrations, this would make an excellent course text—on either an introductory or advanced level (a rare accomplishment). All in all, a remarkable book.

Summing Up: Essential. All readers.
Reviewer: W. W. Dixon, University of Nebraska—Lincoln
Subject: Humanities – Performing Arts – Film
Choice Issue: Sep 2014