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In this collection of essays (which accompanied a BBC-TV series presented by the author), Thomas Sutcliffe looks past the dazzling surface of the movies at the ways in which they work their magic: be they Hollywood blockbusters or European ‘arthouse’ films. Watching is about how the simplest pleasures of cinema (from the satisfying impact of a well-filmed punch to the dreamlike wonder of a perfect close-up) have been crucial to the way in which the medium has evolved from a fairground novelty into the twentieth century’s dominant form of cultural expression. Award-winning journalist Sutcliffe considers what is often forgotten in theoretical approaches to cinema – that it is an emotional experience before it is a cerebral one, that subconscious emotions can colour our conscious judgments. Read this book and you’ll never watch films in the same way again.


Tom Sutcliffe’s musical career started as a boy chorister at Chichester Cathedral. After studying at Oxford University, he was a professional countertenor for six years, making his opera début in The Coronation of Poppea at Darmstadt in 1970, having worked as a soloist with Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He then edited the magazine Music and Musicians, and worked for the Guardian for…

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