Filmish: A Graphic Journey through Film by Edward Ross

This is a great Graphic Novel for movie and photography buffs as well as more serious film students. Filmish looks at the history of the film and movie industry, referencing over 300 movies.  Instead of looking at individual movies, one at a time, Ross looks at various cinematic concepts and then references films that illustrate that concept.  His book is divided into 7 themes: The Eye, The Body, Sets and Architecture, Time, Voice and Language, Power and Ideology, and Technology and Technophobia.  He explores how prevailing social and political ideologies in different times and countries have had a profound effect on the types of films that were and are being made.

I’ve never thought about looking at movies from a theoretical perspective.  Filmish has given me a lot of insight into movies and the movie-making business.  Most of the information was new and fascinating to me, though some of the quotes from film theorists went past my interest level and would probably be better appreciated by film students.

Filmish has been thoroughly researched and has an extensive bibliography.  There are quite a few endnotes for each chapter that gives further detail to the quotes and pictures in the book.  I found it a bit awkward going back and forth between the text and the endnotes, so I finally read the chapters through without reading the endnotes.  

I was delighted to find that many of the early films referenced in Filmish are available to watch on youtube.com.  And of course, the “modern” films from the last 50+ years are all still available to view from various sources such as the library, video stores, and online stores.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in movies or for those who want to take a look at movies in a different light.  I’d give Filmish 5 stars for film nerds and 4 stars for the rest of us.  

Leave a Reply