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Cinema, If You Please

The Memory of Taste, the Taste of Memory

Murray Pomerance

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Examines how pre-modernist conceptions and social organizations of pleasure have impacted post-WWII film

In Cinema, If You Please, Murray Pomerance explores our ways of watching film in light of socially organized forms of pleasure that date back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Wedding the notion of pleasure in film viewing to the history of pleasure in the West, the book considers pleasure gardens and promenading; the history of oil painting and its display; the passion for travel and exposure to the exotic and strange; and forms of musical repetition and restatement. With in-depth studies of films like Vertigo, The Passenger, A Matter of Life and Death, Clouds of Sils Maria, Personal Shopper, Call Me By Your Name and Blow-Up, this ground-breaking book draws the reader into the past and the present at once, joining an understanding of personal and visual delight to their cultural and historical roots.



1. Beyond the Sea

2. A Barbaric Rose

3. Walk on the Wild Side

Intermezzo: Tell Me Again

4. A Million Things

5. Rhapsody in Green


About the Author

Murray Pomerance is an independent scholar living in Toronto. He is the author of many books including The Man Who Knew Too Much (BFI, 2016), A King of Infinite Space (Oberon, 2017) and Moment of Action: Riddles of Cinematic Performance (Rutgers, 2016).


Murray Pomerance is one of a small handful of cinema studies scholars who are wonderful writers and are masterful at structuring a chapter or a whole book so that at each point the reader is eager to discover what will come next, and is never disappointed. His prose is clear, accessible, and devoid of jargon. That is rare enough in cinema studies these days. Beyond that, it is pleasurable to read. This is crucial to its persuasiveness. Pleasure is the book's subject, after all, and the book's distinctive style is conclusive evidence that on this subject, the author knows whereof he speaks.

- Professor William D. Rothman, University of Miami

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