Louise Brooks book features rare photos
Peter Cowie is a major international film critic, a British national based in Switzerland who has written 30 books, including "Ingmar Bergman: A Critical Biography," the most intelligent and lucid book on Bergman in the English language. Cowie is the founder of the International Film Guide, and he is regarded as an authority on Swedish and foreign-language cinema, Francis Ford Coppola, Orson Welles and films of the 1960s. But, in his youth, he was also friends with film legend Louise Brooks (1906-1985), and that friendship has become the occasion for a superb book about the actress, "Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever," a gorgeous, glamour-packed, coffee-table extravaganza just published by Rizzoli.
For most people who buy the book, the photos will be the draw -- there's a 256-page deluge of them, many full-page, some double-page and most of them rare. Yet the text is what makes this book invaluable as film history. Cowie augments the story of Brooks' life with his own recollections and with direct quotes from Brooks' correspondence. A full picture of the woman emerges.
Cowie will be in the Bay Area this weekend promoting the book and its subject. At 7 p.m. Saturday at the Rafael Film Center (cafilm.org), he will introduce a screening of G.W. Pabst's "Pandora's Box" (1929). The program will repeat at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Balboa Theater (www.balboamovies.com). For fans, this is a must-see. Even those immune to the Brooks mystique (myself included) should welcome the chance to hear Cowie's lucid and informed response to her life and work. -- Mick LaSalle
p.s. please note that the Sunday program at the Balboa starts at 7:30 pm - and that "Pandora's Box" will NOT be shown; there will be other rare Louise Brooks' film shown instead (not shown in San Francisco in 80 years)