From The Third Eye: The Evergreen Review Film Reader


“Over a decade and a half in the making, From The Third Eye: The Evergreen Review Film Reader is the first comprehensive look at Barney Rosset and Grove Press’s contribution to film culture, collecting close to four dozen articles of the Evergreen Review’s film section, contextualized with an in-depth introduction by Ed Halter and brilliantly laid out in the distinguished style of the erstwhile magazine. That such a work has finally arrived forty-five years after the demise of the Review is a testament to Rosset’s repeated lament that Grove’s place in film history is overlooked. Film, after all, was Rosset’s first artistic obsession, and he speaks of thinking more in images than in words, although it is undoubtedly the latter upon which his legacy rests. But the legendary publisher envisioned Grove as an interdisciplinary Leviathan, establishing dominion over theatre and film as well as the written word—a ‘new kind of communications center of the sixties’ as Grove’s 1967 shareholder statement asserts with McLuhanesque bravado. Hearing this declaration decades hence, one is inclined to wonder—was it? As an answer to this question, From The Third Eye offers an intimate glimpse into this multimedia machine and its fractured legacy. Considering a press as storied as Grove, whose very name immediately evokes the literary upheavals of sixties and seventies counterculture, it would be easy for one writing an introduction to fall into dull hagiography. Halter deftly avoids this, opting instead for more obscure and personal aspects culled from his own interviews with the elder publisher, supplying personality and frankness to the legend of Grove in a way other breathless retellings lack. … Of course, film and self-promotion have always been comfortable bedfellows. The best pieces in From The Third Eye are intra-Grove dialogues and interviews—Lahr’s extended conversation with Sjöman and Davidson’s feature on the married sexologist-filmmakers Eberhard and Phyllis Kronhausen are standouts, brimming with erotic energy and insightful transgressions. Dennis Hopper, Marguerite Duras, and John Cassavetes also get their brains picked with aplomb. These pieces provide the most esteem to Rosset’s self-styled notion of the ‘communications center,’ as emerging and avant-garde personalities are given the Variety star treatment with ample space to expound their ideas in text in addition to their imagery. …”
Brooklyn Rail
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