In Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film , Peter Biskind charts the evolution of American independent cinema from the early 1980s through to the present day. Focusing on Robert Redford’s idealistic Sundance and Harvey and Bob Weinstein’s visionary Miramax, this is a lively, fascinating insight into recent cinema history. Biskind approaches the material in the same, gossipy, conspiratorial style he applied to his earlier effort, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls ( which focused on American independent cinema of the late 1960’s and 1970’s). In many ways Down and Dirty Pictures is a kind of sequel to that volume, concentrating on the young filmmakers who were inspired by the ‘movie-brats’ of the 70’s. This is a meticulously researched work and includes direct insight from filmmakers, actors and film professionals such as Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Todd Haynes, Kevin Smith, Steven Soderbergh, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. At the core of the book is the pugnacious, unpredictable figure of Harvey Weinstein and Biskind indulges his readers in many anecdotes of the kind of behaviour that earned Weinstein the moniker ‘Harvey Scissorhands’. This is a fascinating account of the development of recent independent film and a must-read for any cinema enthusiast or film-student, but should be an equally enjoyable read to anyone who enjoys a witty, fast-paced story with fascinating characters.