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Take 100
The Future of Film
By Cameron Bailey and 10 others
Phaidon Press, June 2010
ISBN-13: 9780714849553

Take 100

Or you could call this Brobdingnagian book, 100 to Watch, which would be an an equally apt title.

Herein you will find essays on 100 of the most talented young directors working in world cinema today, together with a focus on one of their recent films.  All the essays are accompanied by a brief story synopsis, photos taken on the set, script excerpts, film stills and some hard data about both the director and the film.  It’s quite a sumptuous package, a veritable feast for the eye and the brain.

The book has been put together by 10 so-called ‘curators’, among them Marco Müller, director of the Venice International Film Festival, and Trevor Groth, director of programming for the Sundance Film Festival.  They have each selected 10 directors to write about, and 10 x 10 produces our 100.  At least one of the directors included here, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, has made an undisputed masterpiece, The Lives of Others.  And it was heartening to see that  many fine films that have been reviewed at Jildy Sauce are also in the book, among them Ballast by Lance Hammer, Enrique Rivero’s Parque Via and the brilliant Police, Adjective – to name  but three.  Mia Hansen-Love gets a mention but the film of hers that is discussed is All is Forgiven (2007), rather than Lourdes, a film which approaches masterpiece status in my view.

The essays are generally perceptive and insightful, or at the very least serviceable, and they renew your memory and appreciation of those films that you have seen, while whetting your appetite for those that you’ve not yet got around to.  Among the latter I was especially intrigued by John and Jane, a documentary by Ashim Ahuwalia about 6 workers in a Mumbai call centre.

There’s perhaps one dud among the 100 – a director that I don’t rate at all – but politeness forbids me from mentioning his name.  OK, his first name is Zack.  Also, the subtitle of the book, The Future of Film, is over-egging it a little bit: it should be clear that there are up-and-coming directors not included in the book who will make fine films in the future.

However, there is no doubt that this chunky art book (measuring approximately 30cm x 26cm x 5cm) will be an adornment to any wood-panelled library.  An ideal book to peruse as you sit in a green leather chair, stroking a pedigree cat and planning world domination.  Or just thinking about what DVD to buy next. 

If you love films, you will take Take 100 in both hands and regard it as a gift.