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Richard Linklater

David T.Johnson

Publication Year: 2012

Richard Linklater's filmmaking choices seem to defy basic patterns of authorship. From his debut with the inventive independent narrative Slacker, the Austin-based director's divergent films have included the sci-fi noir A Scanner Darkly, the socially conscious Fast Food Nation, the kid-friendly The School of Rock, the teen ensemble Dazed and Confused, and the twin romances Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. Yet throughout his varied career spanning two decades,Linklater has maintained a sense of integrity while working within a broad range of budgets, genres, and subject matters._x000B__x000B_Identifying a critical commonality among so much variation, David T. Johnson analyzes Linklater's preoccupation with the concept of time in many of his films, focusing on its many forms and aspects: the subjective experience of time and the often explicit, self-aware ways that characters discuss that experience; time and memory, and the ways that characters negotiate memory in the present; the moments of adolescence and early adulthood as crucial moments in time; the relationship between time and narrative in film; and how cinema, itself, may be becoming antiquated. Crucially filling a gap in critical studies of this American director, the volume concludes with an interview with Linklater discussing his career.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: Contemporary Film Directors

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. xi-xii

First, I want to thank James Naremore, whose initial encouragement and support throughout the project have been invaluable; at the University of Illinois Press, my thanks also goes to Joan Catapano, Daniel Nasset, Tad Ringo, Annette Wenda, Joe Peeples, and others whose hard work helped bring this book to fruition...

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Time Is a Lie

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pp. 1-12

Of course, this defiance of a basic pattern of authorship fits well with contemporary film studies, which tends to view director studies with skepticism, despite the enormous amount of work that continues to be produced in this area. One reason is simply the sense that any film is a collective venture, and...

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Slowly Moving Trains, Welcome to Austin, and L-I-V-I-N

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pp. 12-33

Texan by birth, a regional identity that weaves through several of his films, Richard Linklater grew up in the town of Huntsville and the city of Houston, where his mother and father lived, respectively. An aspiring fiction writer and, later, playwright, as well as a baseball player, Linklater attended Sam Houston State University for...

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A Brief Encounter, the Road to Burnfield, and One Hell of a Way to Make a Living

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pp. 33-54

Cinephilia is often characterized by a tendency to privilege fragments over the whole, particularly with individual moments in a film that take on even more charged meaning in the personal response of the viewer. (Some scholars have even suggested using such moments as ways of avoiding entrenched academic...

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Dreaming in Digital, Motel Confessions, and the Poet of Wall Street

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pp. 54-74

Late within Waking Life, the protagonist, having emerged yet again from one dream only to find himself in another, performs what many of us do in our minds, while asleep: a mundane task, rather than something fantastical. For this protagonist, that activity is watching television, and while channel surfing, he comes across...

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For Those about to Rock, Late Afternoon in Paris, and Remixing a Little League Season

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pp. 74-95

Linklater’s next film begins with a deceptively simple anecdote that belies the difficulties of script development: in this case, a recurring image that screenwriter Mike White had of his neighbor Jack Black. White had previously penned a script for producer Scott Rudin, Orange County (2002), about a would-be...

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Little Blue Flowers and Echoes from the Slaughterhouse

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pp. 96-110

The test is simple: in one hand, a toy elephant; in the other, an identical toy elephant. The man must confirm, while not looking, only feeling, that in each hand he holds the same object. But he cannot pass the test. Try as he might, his mind is already much too far gone to make this basic connection. In the summer of...

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Fields of Play and Waiting for Orson

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pp. 110-125

Writing to his friend Benjamin Bailey in 1817, poet John Keats reflected on the subject of happiness, “I look not for it if it be not in the present hour—nothing startles me beyond the Moment. The setting sun will always set me to rights—or if a Sparrow come before my Window I take part in its existince [sic] and pick about...

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Interview with Richard Linklater

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pp. 127-149

This interview took place in two phone conversations on November 30 and December 8, 2010, when Linklater spoke to me from his Detour office in Austin, Texas, while on postproduction for Bernie. Because we covered his entire filmography, our conversations generated more dialogue than would be possible to...


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pp. 151-160


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pp. 161-167


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pp. 169-177

About the Author, Further Reading, Production Notes, Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780252094040
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252036927

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Contemporary Film Directors