Book REVIEW: Diary of a Film by Niven Govinden

April 8, 2021

Diary of a Film

Niven Govinden

This perfectly poised story about cinema, flâneurs, and queer love takes us into the world of the ‘Maestro’ auteur and creative. Clocking the toil keeping control of the stories you harvest, create and define you can take on the teller.

We follow our ‘maestro’ & his lead actors as they flounce around a European festival at the premiere of his latest film. By chance he meets a woman who invites him to explore her world, her story, her perspective and as her powerful narrative captures his attention, they walk the streets together.  This gentle stroll contains an urgent story of love, loss and responsibility that the maestro wants to own, anyway he can.  That’s it; the plot.

The book is written with no quotation marks, paragraphs or the usual signallers to assist a reader, so the book itself is an observation of the creative process.  It’s an oddly distanced book, which is at the same time shockingly intimate, a deft bit of creative magic on behalf of Govinden, who we’ve learned can do these sumptuous cognitive dissonances with ease and grace.  (his previous book This Brutal House is a breathtakingly bold study of art, activist and Queerness set in 90’s New York). 

This book follows some oddly distanced queer love from onscreen and offscreen lovers Tom and Lorien which took some time to get into, but when it unfolded itself into a study of the creative process it hit its stride. Govinden’s careful eye keeps the story interesting, and his prose is rich in descriptive details. Its meditative in the way it roams, both through our slightly arrogant narrator’s thought processes and the city he stalks through.

The book represents vividly what few of us can do at the moment, set off under a hot sun, into an interesting place, wandering with no agenda, seeing and stopping and experiencing a place stuffed with history and sensual textures feeding our inner flâneurs.

Out now : £ 14.99

For more info or to order the book see the publishers website here: