Review

Film-Philosophy review: Barry Nevin on Jean Renoir – Cracking Gilles Deleuze’s Crystal

Film-Philosophy review: ‘Barry Nevin (2018) Cracking Gilles Deleuze’s Crystal: Narrative Space-time in the Films of Jean Renoir‘ (2021). By David Deamer (Volume 25 issue 2, July 2021).

A compelling work by a new voice on the scene…

No excuses! I should do more book reviews. But I rarely reach out or accept invitations as I am usually deep in some project or other and hyperfocused on that. And that’s not – shamefully – to mention those review begun with the best  intensions and then abandoned. I guess book review editors need to be made of stern stuff. Wm Brown at Film-Philosophy is one of the best, and he somehow got me to take a look at Barry Nevin’s Cracking Gilles Deleuze’s Crystal: Narrative Space-time in the Films of Jean Renoir (2018). Upon reading it, I knew I had to deliver – it is just wonderful: nicely written, knowledgeable, insightful, and full of surprises. A difficult feat to pull off with a film maker such as Renoir. There are dozens of books – and many great books – out there already!  What more can be said?

As I write in my opening: ‘Nevin enters the critical fray with vigour and purpose, proving that there is still much to be said of and through the director’s films. To this end, one of the key aspects of Nevin’s project is not only to “reassess” Renoir’s “canonised landmarks” but also to “stimulate further analysis of his under-discussed works”.’ He does this skilfully in dialogue with French philosopher Gilles Deleuze on temporality, augmented with engagements with Doreen Massey on spatiality and Martin O’Shaughnessy on Renoir. I highly recommend Nevin’s book – and (re)watching Renoir’s films alongside it, of course!

I wrote this review in early 2020, and these things take a while to get out there. My original draft was twice as long as the one published here – so I still ended up causing Wm some trouble, this time in the editing department. I guess at some point I’ll put the full piece up on my website, but for now the published version stands… check it out… or better still, take my word for it and just go get Nevin’s book…

Read David Deamer’s review: ‘Barry Nevin (2018) Cracking Gilles Deleuze’s Crystal: Narrative Space-time in the Films of Jean Renoir‘ (2021) at Film-Philosophy