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Once upon a time, in a world that no longer exists, books were published by people with specialised knowledge of a field. Not all fields, just the fields in which these publishers were experts. Paris alone could boast of many dozen booksellers who were also specialty publishers. Now, once again, with Timothy Barnard’s caboose press, we have a privileged opportunity to return to the world of the publisher/expert. Whether a new edition of Bazin’s writings, Godard’s Introduction to a True History of Cinema and Television, or the extraordinary variety in the Kino-Agora series, caboose promises—and delivers—a very special range of books carefully tailored for film scholars.
— Rick Altman, University of Iowa


In some of the earliest film theory written, Dziga Vertov coined the expressions Kino-Pravda, Kino-Eye, etc. to describe film’s essential role as a witness to the world. Nearly a century on, caboose is pleased to introduce Kino-Agora, a forum for debating the issues in film studies today. In ancient Greece, an agora was a place of public assembly where ideas were exchanged—and goods bought and sold. Since its birth, the cinema has fulfilled this function in the modern world, but critical writing about film has become polarised between academic jargon and the products of the movie industry. With this series, caboose bridges that divide and pioneers a genre of critical writing on film in English: the essay in short-book form. Kino-Agora invites leading scholars and new voices to explore novel or neglected micro-topics in film theory and history, issue manifestos or challenge received ideas, free from the strictures of conventional academic writing. Journal articles are too short for such projects, and the typical academic book too weighty; the 30,000-word format of these volumes balances depth and accessibility.

These intimate essays will engage students and general readers alike with innovative discussions of current topics in film studies while challenging specialists with compelling new perspectives. Like the agora of old, Kino-Agora is a forum for dialogue and exchange, placing film at the centre of contemporary social and aesthetic debates and proposing a new critical language on film and new ways of reading about film. Film in dialogue with the other arts, with society, with film itself—and film scholars in dialogue with readers in a free market of ideas. These accessible and affordable essays are perfectly suited to be read as undergraduate texts or on a train.