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“An introduction to Hollywood cinema which explains how it influences and in turn is influenced by alternative cinema traditions,” says the blurb, and even that sounds good. Jane Mills has delivered an accessible and fascinating book that is at once academically astringent, entertaining to read and cinematically literate, writes Andrew L. Urban.

The cover image of Jean Seberg from Jean Luc Godard’s A bout de souffle (Breathless, 1960) presents this book to the reader as a jaunty, charming and likeable work – which it is, and more besides. I’m taken by the image, the choice of which Jane Mills explains in detail at the beginning, in a fascinating exposition that has me hooked to read on.

The publisher’s description explains: “As the paradigm by which most other cinemas define themselves and are judged, Hollywood is thought to determine the shape of all national and local cinemas. But is Hollywood really such a homogenous and homogenising monolith?

Jane Mills challenges the widespread notion of a Hollywood bounded and fixed at the centre of a stable cultural landscape, to propose a new way of understanding inter-cinematic relationships. Placing her close readings of films within the framework of globalising processes she shows the cultural flows between cinemas are more fluid and their borders are more porous than commonly assumed.

"challenges filmmakers, critics and audiences to see the film world afresh"

Loving and Hating Hollywood … “challenges filmmakers, critics and audiences to see the film world afresh and to recognise the power of dissident imagination wherever its geographical homeland may be.” She says “what I really hope is that readers, - filmmakers, critics and audiences – will realise that both Hollywood and non-Hollywood cinemas are far richer and more varied than most people is believe. And not invariably in opposition to one another. I’m arguing that if we look at any film we can find traces of other films and cinemas in it. And the exciting thing is to follow these traces across borders of nation and genre so that the boundaries simply don’t make sense any more. Cinema is far more exciting and enjoyable when we we look outside the borders.”

Responding to the book, Professor James Donald, from the University of New South Wales says: “Blending a cinephile's close attention to cannily chosen films with her international experience in film culture and a restless, cosmopolitan intellect, Jane Mills tells an imaginative story about the fluidity of 'Hollywood' and its constant reinvention through a process of negotiation with its protean others.”

Extensive Notes, a large Bibliography and a practical (and essential) Index complete the book, which bridges the needs of academics and the inquiring minds of screen culture enthusiasts.

Published June 25, 2009

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Loving and Hating Hollywood -
Reframing global and local cinemas

Allen & Unwin, paperback, 240 pages, $39.99

Jane Mills is Associate Professor of Communications at Charles Sturt University and a Senior Research Associate at the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

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