The View from the Train: Cities & Other Landscapes, by Patrick Keiller

Paperback review

Sat, Nov 16, 2013, 01:00

   
 

Book Title:
The View From the Train

ISBN-13:
978-1-78168-140-4

Author:
Patrick Keiller

Publisher:
Verso

Guideline Price:
Sterling0.00

Patrick Keiller shares with Charles Baudelaire “his desperate desire to flee from the prison of his subjectivity, his furious longing to find some escape from the ugliness of modern life”. He achieves this, as we have seen in his peculiar “Robinson” films, by a form of “subjective transformation”, his phrase for how the Paris surrealists of the 1920s engaged with urban space. This collection of his essays is an enlightening and stimulating companion to his films. Keiller is a film-maker, a philosopher, an architect and a masterful observer: every nook and cranny on a trip from London to Rochester yields a historical or personal connection. His learned account of the earliest film panoramas filmed from trains is that of a man in love with the history and technique of cinema. He looks at urban buildings, as Werner Herzog looks at people, with a coldly original vision. Like another of his favourite writers, Guillaume Apollinaire, he sees London’s suburbs, from a train of course, as “wounds bleeding in the fog”.

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