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The first book about James Gray. One of the most talented filmmakers of his generation.

50 hours of exclusive interviews with James Gray, his actors and crew. An unprecedented exploration into his work. Preface by Jean Douchet. Introduction by Francis Ford Coppola.

This edition, limited to 1.000 copies signed by Jordan Mintzer, is only available on this website.


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49 €


HARDCOVER / 8,3 X 11 IN. (21 X 28 CM )


ISBN 979-10-90172-00-5


James Gray

The first book about James Gray.

After only four feature-length movies – Little Odessa (Silver Lion at the 1994 Venice Film Festival), The Yards (2000 Cannes Film Festival), We Own the Night (2007 Cannes Film Festival) and Two Lovers (2008 Cannes Film Festival) – James Gray has imposed himself as one of the most important filmmakers of his generation and has forged a unique path between independent cinema and the Hollywood studio system.

From his modest origins in Queens to his latest project with Brad Pitt, from his first science-fiction movies on Super 8 to the world’s greatest film festivals, this book retraces the career of a maverick American filmmaker with a distinctly European style. It explores in detail his various sources of inspiration, his writing process and his experiences on set – unexpected blizzards, car crashes, improvising with actors – offering up a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the cinematic process.

Alongside the filmmaker’s own words can be found interviews with the various actors, producers, screenwriters, production designers, editors and cinematographers that he has worked with over the years. Each interview reveals, step by step and with complete frankness, how a movie is made – from the earliest scenarios to the final mixing.

Throughout these interviews, which are accompanied by a series of exceptional documents (screenplays, storyboards, set photographs, musical compositions, personal archives from the director), James Gray offers up a lesson in moviemaking that will delight both cinéphiles and film students alike.

With a preface by Jean Douchet, renown film critic of the French New Wave, and accompanied by a short introductory message from Francis Ford Coppola, James Gray provides readers with a thorough analysis of contemporary American cinema.

A film book with a radically innovative design, edited and distributed by Synecdoche.

About the author

Jordan Mintzer is a film critic for The Hollywood Reporter. Prior to that he worked for Variety. He was born in Queens, New York, and currently lives in Paris. He has produced the first two feature films by Matthew Porterfield, Hamilton and Putty Hill.

Exclusives interviews

  • James Gray / Director
  • Moni Moshonov / Actor
  • Gwyneth Paltrow / Actress
  • Vinessa Shaw / Actress
  • Eva Mendes / Actress
  • Tim Roth / Actor
  • James Caan / Actor
  • Ford Wheeler / Production designer
  • Douglas Murray / Sound editor
  • John Axelrad / Editor
  • Howard Shore / Composer
  • Tom Richmond / Director of photography
  • Joaquin Baca-Asay / Director of photography
  • Harris savides / Director of photography
  • Matt reeves / Screenwriter
  • Anthony Katagas / Producer
  • Nick Wechsler / Producer
  • Paul Webster / Producer


  • " It is hands down the best book devoted to a single filmmaker released in the last decade. "

    Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The A.V. Club

  • " Superb and somptuous "

    Richard Brody, The New Yorker

  • " An indispensable source of insight into one of today’s best American filmmakers. "

    Adam Cook, MUBI

  • " Best film book of the year "

    Guild of Film Critics (UJC)

  • " Mintzer worked as a critic for the trade paper Variety before moving over to The Hollywood Reporter, where he currently serves as their Paris-based critic. His method is to create a “working book” where he interviews not only Gray, but a number of his collaborators (actors, cinematographers, producers, editors, sound designers…) about the different steps that go into the preparing and making of his films. The goal is not necessarily to interpret, but to understand the complex alchemy – based on the vision of one man, and despite all the technical and logistical snafus which can arise during a shoot – that results in films which are fascinating in their profundity and their elegance. "

    Didier Péron, LIBERATION

  • " There’s something “Grayesque” about the project, offering up an elegant mix of craft and ambition that opts for storytelling over theory. "

    Florence Maillard, Cahiers du Cinéma

  • " Gray’s films are about solitude in a group, impossible dreams of escape and the wounds that result. He thrives on the sense of opposition. The paradox is that his films, his sense of opposition, depend on insidership; and if there’s a pathos to contemporary Hollywood, it’s the absence of a “there,” the lack of an ongoing set of studio relationships; each production is ad hoc, and so the sense of family, of a circle of regular collaborators and of the complex emotional bonds it generates, has to be, for a director, more or less self-created—which means that the perpetual son has to become something of a father. And for the eternal rebel, that’s a tough thing to do. "

    Richard Brody, The New Yorker

  • " A book that’s as passionate as it is touching. "

    Jean-Baptiste Morain, Les inRocks

  • " After only four movies, James Gray is the subject of a rich and stylized monograph which the likes of David Fincher and the Coen Brothers could only dream of. "


  • " A book which will become a landmark for film buffs the world over. A lesson in cinema that follows in the footsteps of the classic Hitchcock by Truffaut. "

    Laure Croiset, Tout le Ciné

  • " Gray and Mintzer offer us a unique and fascinating journey, where passion and genius take center stage. A terrific lesson in cinema that will seduce any lover of the 7th art. "

    Lily, Cinematon

  • " What Jordan Mintzer proposes in these conversations with and about James Gray is a veritable lesson in cinema – intimate, precise and comprehensive. "

    Christopher, Cinephilia