Tim Cawkwell's Cinema

Intelligible writing on intelligent film


‘Infelicities’ is a sequence of poems responding to the anxieties of the age. The central poem, ‘Making acquaintance with Decline and Fall’, tackles in staccato phrasing a staccato subject, namely the coming and going of empires. To cope with anxiety, several poems are written in a tone of wonder at the mysteries of the universe. And to balance both anxiety and wonder there is plenty of throwaway too, and the whole ends with pure nonsense, ‘A Fishnish Cakewalk’.

48 pages, 18 x 12 cm

12 colour photographs

r.r.p.: £9.50 - contact me through the Guestbook page if you are interested in acquiring this.


You've reached the homepage for Tim Cawkwell (see About Me). This website is a platform for my writing on film, whether in the form of blog-type entries or of essays. I have published a number of books (e.g. co-editor of ‘World Encyclopaedia of Film’ 1972, 'Film Past Film Future’ 2011, 'The New Filmgoer's Guide to God' 2014) and have launched (February 2013) my own imprint, Sforzinda Books, as a vehicle for these and other of my own books to be available in digital form. For more details go to the 'My Books' page.

There are four main sections to the site:

'Essays, ideas' consist of pages on individual films or film-makers or just a filmic idea that has caught my attention. This section has largely been succeeded by my blog.

2  I admire many film-makers but have a particular fascination for the films of Robert Bresson.

3  I responded very strongly to the arrival of the American underground films in the UK in the late 1960s, which spurred me to become a film-maker myself. Should we call this cinema experimental, underground, artists' films? I have no strong view, but have settled on avant-garde.

4  I have a particular focus in my mind on the way the cinema connects with religion and philosophy.

My 'camera and pen' emblem needs explaining. The phrase ‘caméra-stylo’ was coined in 1948 by the French director Alexandre Astruc to describe a cinema which was ‘just as flexible and subtle as written language’. Thirty years later I liked to use the phrase to describe the technique I used in my film-making days of drawing directly on the film strip using a calligraphic pen (long ago it would have been a goose feather cut to make a quill). Now, nearly 70 years on from 1948 I like it as a way of describing the art of writing about the cinema, and created this emblem to visualise the idea.

with thanks to Alan Berry and apologies to Rembrandt