"The book consistently and rewardingly demonstrates Martin’s rare gift for understanding (and savoring) ambiguities of cinematic expression." - Rick Warner, New Review of Film and Television Studies, March 2019
"A collection of lively, original and highly personal essays, Martin’s book is a masterful act of synthesis which weaves together disparate writings from over a thirty-year period ... Mysteries of Cinema is an ambitious and erudite collection that compels re-readings to appreciate the abundance of ideas. At once complex and accessible, it is also a book about surprise and discovery: ideas and arguments gradually unfold and culminate in a revelatory denouement." - Felicity Chaplin, Senses of Cinema March 2019. Read the full review here.
"At the very least, Adrian Martin’s Mysteries of Cinema makes the reader want to watch more movies ... In this collection of essays, a thorough compendium published as part of the Film Culture in Transition series at Amsterdam University Press, Martin covers "34 years of a writing life, so far" (13) ... There is never any dryness in his prose and there is never any doubt that a considerate, versatile individual is behind the ideas presented." - Jeremy Carr, Film International February 2019. Read the full review online: A Cinephile’s Cinephile.
"Mysteries of Cinema is a toolkit for the cinephile and film critic. Incorporating chance, dreams, and anecdotes, his writing is always surprising and unexpected. When generating film theories, he anchors them to close analysis of particular films. A quote that appears a few times in the book applies to Martin: challenging Pauline Kael's criticism, one that's performatively judgmental and general, Godard said, "I want the evidence." With careful, lovingly descriptive writing, Martin brings it. Reading an Adrian Martin essay is a way of seeing cinema as a supple, materialistic medium transmitting energy and intensity." - Tanner Tafelski, Cineaste, Vol. XLIV 2018.
The major essays of the distinguished and prolific Australian-born film critic Adrian Martin have long been difficult to access, so this anthology, which collects highlights of his work in one volume, will be welcomed throughout film studies. Martin offers indepth analysis of many genres of films while providing a broad understanding of the history of cinema and the history of film criticism and culture. These vibrant, highly personal essays, written between 1982 and 2016, balance breadth across cinema theory with almost encyclopedic detail, ranging between aesthetics, cinephilia, film genre, criticism, philosophy, and cultural politics.
Mysteries of Cinema circumscribes a special cultural period that began with the dream of critique as a form of poetic writing, and today arrives at collaborative experiments in audiovisual essays. Throughout these essays, Martin pursues a particular vision of what cinema has been, what it is, and what it still could be.
Adrian Martin is a film and arts critic. He is Adjunct Associate Professor in Film Culture and Theory at Monash University (Australia) and teacher at Elías Querejeta Zine-Eskola (Spain). Author of eight books, his work has appeared in many magazines, journals and newspapers around the world, and has been translated into over twenty languages.