Afghanistan in the Cinema
Mark Graham University of Illinois Press, 2010 Library of Congress PN1995.9.A35G73 2010 | Dewey Decimal 791.43658581
In this timely critical introduction to the representation of Afghanistan in film, Mark Graham examines the often surprising combination of propaganda and poetry in films made in Hollywood and the East. Through the lenses of postcolonial theory and historical reassessment, Graham analyzes what these films say about Afghanistan, Islam, and the West and argues that they are integral tools for forming discourse on Afghanistan, a means for understanding and avoiding past mistakes, and symbols of the country's shaky but promising future. Thoughtfully addressing many of the misperceptions about Afghanistan perpetuated in the West, Afghanistan in the Cinema incorporates incisive analysis of the market factors, funding sources, and political agendas that have shaped the films.
The book considers a range of films, beginning with the 1970s epics The Man Who Would Become King and The Horsemen and following the shifts in representation of the Muslim world during the Russian War in films such as The Beast and Rambo III. Graham then moves on to Taliban-era films such as Kandahar, Osama, and Ellipsis, the first Afghan film directed by a woman. Lastly, the book discusses imperialist nostalgia in films such as Charlie Wilson's War and destabilizing visions represented in contemporary works such as The Kite Runner.
Marking a return for Laura Mulvey to questions of film theory and feminism, as well as a reconsideration of new and old film technologies, this urgent and compelling collection of essays is essential reading for anyone interested in the power and pleasures of moving images.
Its title, Afterimages, alludes to the dislocation of time that runs through many of the films and works it discusses as well as to the way we view them. Beginning with a section on the theme of woman as spectacle, a shift in focus leads to films from across the globe, directed by women and about women, all adopting radical cinematic strategies. Mulvey goes on to consider moving image works made for art galleries, arguing that the aesthetics of cinema have persisted into this environment.
Structured in three main parts, Afterimages also features an appendix of ten frequently asked questions on her classic feminist essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” in which Mulvey addresses questions of spectatorship, autonomy, and identity that are crucial to our era today.
Why do we find artificial people fascinating? Drawing from a rich fictional and cinematic tradition, Anatomy of a Robot explores the political and textual implications of our perennial projections of humanity onto figures such as robots, androids, cyborgs, and automata. In an engaging, sophisticated, and accessible presentation, Despina Kakoudaki argues that, in their narrative and cultural deployment, artificial people demarcate what it means to be human. They perform this function by offering us a non-human version of ourselves as a site of investigation. Artificial people teach us that being human, being a person or a self, is a constant process and often a matter of legal, philosophical, and political struggle.
By analyzing a wide range of literary texts and films (including episodes from Twilight Zone, the fiction of Philip K. Dick, Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go, Metropolis, The Golem, Frankenstein, The Terminator, Iron Man, Blade Runner, and I, Robot), and going back to alchemy and to Aristotle’s Physics and De Anima, she tracks four foundational narrative elements in this centuries-old discourse— the fantasy of the artificial birth, the fantasy of the mechanical body, the tendency to represent artificial people as slaves, and the interpretation of artificiality as an existential trope. What unifies these investigations is the return of all four elements to the question of what constitutes the human.
This focused approach to the topic of the artificial, constructed, or mechanical person allows us to reconsider the creation of artificial life. By focusing on their historical provenance and textual versatility, Kakoudaki elucidates artificial people’s main cultural function, which is the political and existential negotiation of what it means to be a person.
The masters of Russian arts and letters are a prestigious fraternity that includes such renowned artists as Tolstoy, Rachmaninoff, and Shostakovich. But alongside these luminaries stands a lesser-known but equally revered figure, filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. Robert Bird offers in Andrei Tarkovsky an unprecedented investigation of Tarkovsky’s oeuvre and its far-reaching influence on world cinema.
Bird brings a novel approach to his dissection of Tarkovsky’s wholly original techniques and sensibilities, arranging the films into elemental categories of Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Solaris, Ivan’s Childhood, Mirror, Nostalgia, Andrei Rublev, and Sacrifice all get their due here; through them, Bird explores how the filmmaker probed the elusive correlation between cinematic representation and a more primeval perception of the world. Though the book also considers Tarkovsky’s work in radio, theatre, and opera—as well as his work as an actor, screenwriter, and film theorist—Bird throughout keeps his focus firmly on Tarkovsky as a consummate filmmaker.
Anchored by a wealth of film stills and photographs, Andrei Tarkovsky is a must-read for all film buffs and admirers of European cinema.
In the middle of the eighteenth century, something new made itself felt in European culture—a tone or style that came to be called the sentimental. The sentimental mode went on to shape not just literature, art, music, and cinema, but people’s very structures of feeling, their ways of doing and being.
In what is sure to become a critical classic, An Archaeology of Sympathy challenges Sergei Eisenstein’s influential account of Dickens and early American film by tracing the unexpected history and intricate strategies of the sentimental mode and showing how it has been reimagined over the past three centuries. James Chandler begins with a look at Frank Capra and the Capraesque in American public life, then digs back to the eighteenth century to examine the sentimental substratum underlying Dickens and early cinema alike. With this surprising move, he reveals how literary spectatorship in the eighteenth century anticipated classic Hollywood films such as Capra’s It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and It’s a Wonderful Life. Chandler then moves forward to romanticism and modernism—two cultural movements often seen as defined by their rejection of the sentimental—examining how authors like Mary Shelley, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf actually engaged with sentimental forms and themes in ways that left a mark on their work.
Reaching from Laurence Sterne to the Coen brothers, An Archaeology of Sympathy casts new light on the long eighteenth century and the novelistic forebears of cinema and our modern world.
“A filmmaker is a man like any other; and yet his life is not the same. . . . This is, I think, a special way of being in contact with reality.” Or so says Michelangelo Antonioni, the legendary filmmaker behind the stark landscapes and social alienation of Blow-Up and L’Avventura, who here reveals his idiosyncratic relationship with reality in The Architecture of Vision.
Through autobiographical sketches, theoretical essays, interviews, and conversations with such luminaries as Jean-Luc Godard and Alberto Moravia, this compelling volume explores the director’s unique brand of narrative-defying cinema as well as the motivations and anxieties of the man behind the camera.
“The Architecture of Vision provides a filmmaker’s absorbing reflections and insights on his career. . . . Antonioni’s comments . . . deepen and humanize a sometimes cerebral book.”—Publishers Weekly
“[Antonioni’s] erudition is astonishing . . . few of his peers can match his verbal articulateness.”—Film Quarterly
“This valuable resource offers entrée to material difficult to gain access to under other circumstances.”—Library Journal
From 1946 until 1954, the San Francisco-based film society Art in Cinema presented programs of independent film to audiences at the San Francisco Museum of Art and the University of California, Berkeley. Led by filmmaker Frank Stauffacher, Art in Cinema's programs pioneered the promotion of avant-garde cinema in America.
Scott MacDonald's Art in Cinema presents complete programs presented by the legendary society; dozens of previously unavailable letters between Stauffacher, his collaborators, and filmmakers including Maya Deren, Hans Richter, Vincent Minelli, and Man Ray; a reprint of the society's original catalog, which features essays by Henry Miller and others; and a wide range of other remarkable historical documents.
A companion to Cinema 16 (Temple), a documentary history of the first west coast film society, Art in Cinema provides cineastes, students, teachers, and scholars with extensive and fascinating documentation of one of the most important film societies in American history. Together or separately, the books provide an indispensable reference source for the beginning of this country's love affair with independent film.
The production, distribution, and perception of moving images are undergoing a radical transformation. Ever-faster computers, digital technology, and microelectronic are joining forces to produce advanced audiovision -the media vanishing point of the 20th century. Very little will remain unchanged.
The classic institutions for the mediation of film - cinema and television - are revealed to be no more than interludes in the broader history of the audiovisual media. This book interprets these changes not simply as a cultural loss but also as a challenge: the new audiovisions have to be confronted squarely to make strategic intervention possible.
Audiovisions provides a historical underpinning for this active approach. Spanning 100 years, from the end of the 19th to the end of the 20th century, it reconstructs the complex genesis of cinema and television as historically relative - and thus finite - cultural forms, focussing on the dynamics and tension in the interaction between the apparatus and its uses. The book is also a plea for "staying power" in studies of cultural technology and technological culture of film.
Essayistic in style, it dispenses with complicated cross references and, instead, is structured around distinct historical phases. Montages of images and text provide supplemental information, contrast, and comment.
Bernard Shaw on Cinema
Edited by Bernard F. Dukore Southern Illinois University Press, 1997 Library of Congress PN1994.S5183 1997 | Dewey Decimal 791.43
With his customary wit and quite often with remarkable prescience, Bernard Shaw maintained a dialogue on cinema that ran almost from the infancy of the industry in 1908 until his death in 1950. Bernard F. Dukore presents the first collection of Bernard Shaw’s writings and oral statements about cinema. Of the more than one hundred comments Dukore has selected, fifty-nine—more than half—are new to today’s readers. Twelve are previously unpublished, one is published in full for the first time, and forty-six appear in a collected edition of Shaw’s writings for the first time since their publication in newspapers and magazines.
Very early in the life of cinema, Shaw perceived that as an invention, movies would be more momentous than the printing press because they appealed to the illiterate as well as the literate, to the manual laborer at the end of an exhausting day as well as to the person with more leisure. He predicted that cinema would form people’s minds and shape their conduct. He recognized that cinema’s "colossal proportions make mediocrity compulsory" by leveling art and life down to the blandest morality and to the lowest common denominator of potential audiences throughout the world.
By 1908, Shaw was familiar with experiments synchronizing movies and sound. When talkies arrived, he discerned that they would precipitate major changes in acting, writing, and economics. He also saw how they would affect live theatre: "The theatre may survive as a place where people are taught to act," he said in 1930, "but apart from that there will be nothing but ‘talkies’ soon." At that time, few people in the theatrical profession were making such prophecies, at least not in public.
Body Double explores the myriad ways that film artists have represented the creative process. In this highly innovative work, Lucy Fischer draws on a neglected element of auteur studies to show that filmmakers frequently raise questions about the paradoxes of authorship by portraying the onscreen writer. Dealing with such varied topics as the icon of the typewriter, the case of the writer/director, the authoress, and the omnipresent infirm author, she probes the ways in which films can tell a plausible story while contemplating the conditions and theories of their making.
By examining many forms of cinema, from Hollywood and the international art cinema to the avant-garde, Fischer considers the gender, age, and mental or physical health of fictionalized writers; the dramatized interaction between artists and their audiences and critics; and the formal play of written words and nonverbal images.
By analyzing such movies as Adaptation,Diary of a Country Priest, Naked Lunch, American Splendor, and Irezumi, Fischer tracks the parallels between film author and character, looking not for the creative figure who stands outside the text, but for the one who stands within it as corporeal presence and alter-ego.
The first broad-ranging collection on Deleuze’s essential works on cinema. In the nearly twenty years since their publication, Gilles Deleuze’s books about cinema have proven as daunting as they are enticing—a new aesthetics of film, one equally at home with Henri Bergson and Wim Wenders, Friedrich Nietzsche and Orson Welles, that also takes its place in the philosopher’s immense and difficult oeuvre. With this collection, the first to focus solely and extensively on Deleuze’s cinematic work, the nature and reach of that work finally become clear. Composed of a substantial introduction, twelve original essays produced for this volume, and a new English translation of a personal, intriguing, and little-known interview with Deleuze on his cinema books, The Brain Is the Screen is a sustained engagement with Deleuze’s cinematic philosophy that leads to a new view of the larger confrontation of philosophy with cinematic images.Contributors: Éric Alliez, U of Vienna; Dudley Andrew, U of Iowa; Peter Canning; Tom Conley, Harvard U; András Bálint Kovács, ELTE U, Budapest; Gregg Lambert, Syracuse U; Laura U. Marks, Carleton U; Jean-Clet Martin, Collége International de Philosophie, Paris; Angelo Restivo; Martin Schwab, U of Michigan; François Zourabichvili, Collége International de Philosophie.Gregory Flaxman is a doctoral student in the Program of Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania.
In the world of globalized media, provocative images trigger culture wars between traditionalists and cosmopolitans, between censors and defenders of free expression. But are images censored because of what they mean, what they do, or what they might become? And must audiences be protected because of what they understand, what they feel, or what they might imagine?
At the intersection of anthropology, media studies, and critical theory, Censorium is a pathbreaking analysis of Indian film censorship. The book encompasses two moments of moral panic: the consolidation of the cinema in the 1910s and 1920s, and the global avalanche of images unleashed by liberalization since the early 1990s. Exploring breaks and continuities in film censorship across colonial and postcolonial moments, William Mazzarella argues that the censors' obsessive focus on the unacceptable content of certain images and the unruly behavior of particular audiences displaces a problem that they constantly confront yet cannot directly acknowledge: the volatile relation between mass affect and collective meaning. Grounded in a close analysis of cinema regulation in the world's largest democracy, Censorium ultimately brings light to the elusive foundations of political and cultural sovereignty in mass-mediated societies.
An innovative study of the intersections between history and film.
Exploring the modern category of history in relation to film theory, film textuality, and film history, Change Mummified makes a persuasive argument for the centrality of historicity to film as well as the special importance of film in historical culture. What do we make of the concern for recovering the past that is consistently manifested in so many influential modes of cinema, from Hollywood to documentary and postcolonial film? How is film related to the many modern practices that define themselves as configuring pastness in the present, such as architectural preservation, theme parks, and, above all, professional historical research? What is the relation of history in film to other media such as television and digital imaging? How does emphasizing the connection between film and modern historicity affect the theorization and historicization of film and modern media culture?
Pursuing the full implications of film as cultural production, Philip Rosen reconceptualizes modern historicity as a combination of characteristic epistemological structures on the one hand, and the social imperative to regulate or manage time on the other. Emphasizing a fundamental constellation of pursuit of the real, indexical signification and the need to control time, he interrogates a spectrum of film theory and film texts. His argument refocuses the category of temporality for film and cultural theory while rethinking the importance of historicity.
An original and sustained meditation on the historiographic status of cinematic signs, Change Mummified is both an intervention in film and media studies and an argument for the continuing necessity of modern historical thinking in its contradictions.
Philip Rosen is a professor of modern culture and media and of English at Brown University.
From Lolita to The Sixth Sense, the figure of the child in cinematic works has been a contested site of symbolism and controversy. Childhood and Cinema examines how the child in film has ultimately been used to embody the anxieties and aspirations of modern life.
Vicky Lebeau investigates how films use children to probe such themes as sexuality, death, imagination, the terrors of childhood, and hope. The book ranges over the whole history of Western cinema, from the Lumière brothers’ 1895 Feeding the Baby to Walt Disney’s animation classics to Truffaut’s L’enfant sauvage and recent works such as Capturing the Friedmans and Kids. The figure of the child in film, Lebeau argues, is fundamentally ambivalent—always hovering on the edge between hope and despair, vulnerability and violence, or pleasure and trauma—and it ultimately offers a unique way of thinking about the significance of cinema itself.
By turns engaging, thought-provoking, and informative, Childhood and the Cinema challenges us to reconsider the child figure as a conduit for critical reflection on what it means to be human.
The Chinese Diaspora on American Screens looks at the way in which issues of race and sexuality have become central concerns in cinema generated by and about Chinese communities in America after the mid-1990s. This companion volume to Marchetti's From Tian'anmen to Times Square looks specifically at the Chinese diaspora in relation to ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual identity as depicted in the cinema.
Examining films from the United States and Canada, as well as transnational co-productions, The Chinese Diaspora on American Screens includes analyses of films such as The Wedding Banquet and Double Happiness in addition to interviews with celebrated filmmakers such as Wayne Wang.
Marchetti also reflects on how Chinese identity is presented in a multitude of media forms, including commercial cinema, documentaries, experimental films, and hybrid digital media to offer a textured look at representations of the Chinese diasporic experience after Tian'anmen.
A pioneering figure in film studies, Christian Metz proposed countless new concepts for reflecting on cinema, rooted in his phenomenological structuralism. He also played a key role in establishing film studies as a scholarly discipline, making major contributions to its institutionalisation in universities worldwide. This book brings together a stellar roster of contributors to present a close analysis of Metz's writings, their theoretical and epistemological positions, and their ongoing influence today.
Cinema and Modernity
Pomerance, Murray Rutgers University Press, 2006 Library of Congress PN1994.C4885 2006 | Dewey Decimal 791.43
The modern impulse gave us captivating technology and dark anxiety, rampant mobility and a world filled with strangers, the futuristic city and a fragmentation of experience. Motion pictures––the quintessence of modernism––entered into this cultural, technical, and philosophical richness with a vast public appeal and a jarring new vision of what life could be.
In Cinema and Modernity, Murray Pomerance brings together new essays by seventeen leading scholars to explore the complexity of the essential connection between film and modernity. Among the many films considered are Detour, Shock Corridor, The Last Laugh, Experiment in Terror, The Great Dictator, Leave Her to Heaven, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Eyes Wide Shut, Sunrise, The Crowd, The Shape of Things to Come, The War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Scarlet Street, Shadow of a Doubt, Stella Dallas, The Blue Angel, Sullivan’s Travels, and Catch Me If You Can.
Since the mid-1990s, a number of films from international filmmakers have experimented with increasingly complicated narrative strategies-including such hits as Run, Lola, Run, 21 Grams, and Memento. This book sets those films and others in context with earlier works that tried new narrative approaches, including Stage Fright and Hiroshima, Mon Amour, to show how they reveal the limitations of most of our usual tools for analysing film. In light of that, Steffen Hven argues for the deployment of an 'embodied' reconfiguration of the cinematic experience, one that allows us to rethink such core constituents of narrative understanding as cognition, emotion, and affect.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, Japanese avant-garde filmmakers intensely explored the shifting role of the image in political activism and media events. Known as the "season of politics," the era was filled with widely covered dramatic events from hijackings and hostage crises to student protests. This season of politics was, Yuriko Furuhata argues, the season of image politics. Well-known directors, including Oshima Nagisa, Matsumoto Toshio, Wakamatsu Kōji, and Adachi Masao, appropriated the sensationalized media coverage of current events, turning news stories into material for timely critique and intermedial experimentation. Cinema of Actuality analyzes Japanese avant-garde filmmakers' struggle to radicalize cinema in light of the intensifying politics of spectacle and a rapidly changing media environment, one that was increasingly dominated by television. Furuhata demonstrates how avant-garde filmmaking intersected with media history, and how sophisticated debates about film theory emerged out of dialogues with photography, television, and other visual arts.
Twenty years ago, noted film scholars Tom Gunning and André Gaudreault introduced the phrase “cinema of attractions” to describe the essential qualities of films made in the medium’s earliest days, those produced between 1895 and 1906. Now, The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded critically examines the term and its subsequent wide-ranging use in film studies.
The collection opens with a history of the term, tracing the collaboration between Gaudreault and Gunning, the genesis of the term in their attempts to explain the spectacular effects of motion that lay at the heart of early cinema, and the pair’s debts to Sergei Eisenstein and others. This reconstruction is followed by a look at applications of the term to more recent film productions, from the works of the Wachowski brothers to virtual reality and video games.
With essays by an impressive collection of international film scholars—and featuring contributions by Gunning and Gaudreault as well—The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded will be necessary reading for all scholars of early film and its continuing influence.
Cinema of Confinement
Thomas J. Connelly Northwestern University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PN1995.9.I455C66 2019 | Dewey Decimal 791.43653
In this book, Thomas J. Connelly draws on a number of key psychoanalytic concepts from the works of Jacques Lacan, Slavoj Žižek, Joan Copjec, Michel Chion, and Todd McGowan to identify and describe a genre of cinema characterized by spatial confinement. Examining classic films such as Alfred Hitchcock's Rope and Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, as well as current films such as Room, Green Room, and 10 Cloverfield Lane, Connelly shows that the source of enjoyment of confined spaces lies in the viewer's relationship to excess.
Cinema of Confinement offers rich insights into the appeal of constricted filmic spaces at a time when one can easily traverse spatial boundaries within the virtual reality of cyberspace.
The Italian art cinema of the 1960s is known worldwide for its brilliance and vitality. Yet rarely has this cinema been considered in relation to the profound economic and cultural changes that transformed Italy during the sixties--described as the “economic miracle.” Angelo Restivo argues for a completely new understanding of that cinema as a negotiation between a national aesthetic tradition of realism and a nascent postmodern image culture. Restivo studies numerous films of the period, focusing mainly on the works of Pier Paolo Pasolini and Michelangelo Antonioni. He finds that these auteurs’ films reworked the neorealist aesthetic developed in the 1940s and 1950s, explored issues brought to the fore by the subsequent consumer boom, and presaged developments central to both critical theory and the visual arts in the 1980s and 1990s. Drawing on the theories of Lacan, Zizek, Benjamin, Foucault, Jameson, and Deleuze, he shines new light on such films as Pasolini’s Accattone and Teorema, and Antonioni’s Red Desert and Blow-Up. Restivo’s model for understanding the relationship of the 1960s Italian art film to its cultural contexts also has implications that extend to the developing national cinemas of countries such as Brazil and Taiwan. The Cinema of Economic Miracles will interest scholars and students in all areas of film studies, especially those studying theories of the image, national cinema theory, and Italian cinema, and to those engaged in poststructuralist theory, philosophy, and comparative literature.
Filmmakers have often encouraged us to regard people with physical disabilities in terms of pity, awe, humor, or fearas "Others" who somehow deserve to be isolated from the rest of society. In this first history of the portrayal of physical disability in the movies, Martin Norden examines hundreds of Hollywood movies (and notable international ones), finds their place within mainstream society, and uncovers the movie industry's practices for maintaining the status quokeeping people with disabilities dependent and "in their place."
Norden offers a dazzling array of physically disabled characters who embody or break out of the stereotypes that have both influenced and been symptomatic of societys fluctuating relationship with its physically disabled minority. He shows us "sweet innocents" like Tiny Tim, "obsessive avengers" like Quasimodo, variations on the disabled veteran, and many others. He observes the arrival of a new set of stereotypes tied to the growth of science and technology in the 1970s and 1980s, and underscores movies like My Left Foot and The Waterdance that display a newfound sensitivity. Nordens in-depth knowledge of disability history makes for a particularly intelligent and sensitive approach to this long-overlooked issue in media studies.
One of the most prolific and respected directors of Japanese cinema, Naruse Mikio (1905–69) made eighty-nine films between 1930 and 1967. Little, however, has been written about Naruse in English, and much of the writing about him in Japanese has not been translated into English. With The Cinema of Naruse Mikio, Catherine Russell brings deserved critical attention to this under-appreciated director. Besides illuminating Naruse’s contributions to Japanese and world cinema, Russell’s in-depth study of the director sheds new light on the Japanese film industry between the 1930s and the 1960s.
Naruse was a studio-based director, a company man renowned for bringing films in on budget and on time. During his long career, he directed movies in different styles of melodrama while displaying a remarkable continuity of tone. His films were based on a variety of Japanese literary sources and original scripts; almost all of them were set in contemporary Japan. Many were “women’s films.” They had female protagonists, and they depicted women’s passions, disappointments, routines, and living conditions. While neither Naruse or his audiences identified themselves as “feminist,” his films repeatedly foreground, if not challenge, the rigid gender norms of Japanese society. Given the complex historical and critical issues surrounding Naruse’s cinema, a comprehensive study of the director demands an innovative and interdisciplinary approach. Russell draws on the critical reception of Naruse in Japan in addition to the cultural theories of Harry Harootunian, Miriam Hansen, and Walter Benjamin. She shows that Naruse’s movies were key texts of Japanese modernity, both in the ways that they portrayed the changing roles of Japanese women in the public sphere and in their depiction of an urban, industrialized, mass-media-saturated society.
Sergei Parajanov (1924–90) flouted the rules of both filmmaking and society in the Soviet Union and paid a heavy personal price. An ethnic Armenian in the multicultural atmosphere of Tbilisi, Georgia, he was one of the most innovative directors of postwar Soviet cinema. Parajanov succeeded in creating a small but marvelous body of work whose style embraces such diverse influences as folk art, medieval miniature painting, early cinema, Russian and European art films, surrealism, and Armenian, Georgian, and Ukrainian cultural motifs.
The Cinema of Sergei Parajanov is the first English-language book on the director's films and the most comprehensive study of his work. James Steffen provides a detailed overview of Parajanov's artistic career: his identity as an Armenian in Georgia and its impact on his aesthetics; his early films in Ukraine; his international breakthrough in 1964 with Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors; his challenging 1969 masterpiece, The Color of Pomegranates, which was reedited against his wishes; his unrealized projects in the 1970s; and his eventual return to international prominence in the mid-to-late 1980s with The Legend of the Surami Fortress and Ashik-Kerib. Steffen also provides a rare, behind-the-scenes view of the Soviet film censorship process and tells the dramatic story of Parajanov's conflicts with the authorities, culminating in his 1973–77 arrest and imprisonment on charges related to homosexuality.
Ultimately, the figure of Parajanov offers a fascinating case study in the complicated dynamics of power, nationality, politics, ethnicity, sexuality, and culture in the republics of the former Soviet Union.
The Cinema of Urban Crisis
Lawrence Webb Amsterdam University Press, 2014 Library of Congress PN1995.9.C513W425 2014 | Dewey Decimal 791.4
The Cinema of Urban Crisis explores the relationships between cinema and urban crises in the United States and Europe in the 1970s. Discussing films by Robert Altman, Stanley Kubrick, and Jean-Luc Godard, among others, Lawrence Webb reflects on processes of globalization and urban change that were beginning to transform cities like New York, London, and Berlin. Throughout, the 1970s are conceptualized as a historically distinctive period of crisis in capitalism, which reorganized urban landscapes and produced cultural innovation, technological change, and new configurations of power and resistance. Addressing themes of interest for film, cultural, and urban studies, this book is a compelling take on cinema from both sides of the Atlantic.
When The Cinema, or The Imaginary Man first appeared in 1956, the movies and the moviegoing experience were generally not regarded as worthy of serious scholarly consideration. Yet, French critic and social theorist Edgar Morin perceived in the cinema a complex phenomenon capable of illuminating fundamental truths about thought, imagination, and human nature - which allowed him to connect the mythic universe of gods and spirits present within the most primitive societies to the hyperreality emanating from the images projected on the screen. Now making its English-language debut, this audacious, provocative work draws on insights from poets, filmmakers, anthropologists, and philosophers to restore to the cinema the sense of magic first enjoyed at the dawn of the medium. Morin's inquiry follows two veins of investigation. The first focuses on the cinematic image as the nexus between the real and the imaginary; the second examines the cinema's re-creation of the archaic universe of doubles and ghosts and its power to possess, to bewitch, to nourish dreams, desires, and aspirations. "We experience the cinema in a state of double consciousness," Morin writes, "an astonishing phenomenon where the illusion of reality is inseparable from the awareness that it is really an illusion."
This is the first book to survey the entire career of Joris Ivens, a prolific documentary filmmaker who worked on every continent over the course of seven decades. More than a biography of a leftist committed to changing the world through film, The Conscience of Cinema is also a microcosmic history of the documentary and its form, culture, and place within twentieth-century world cinema. Ivens worked in almost every genre, including the essay, compilation, hybrid dramatization, socialist realism, and more. Whether in his native Netherlands, the Soviet Union, the United States, Vietnam, or beyond, he left an indelible artistic and political mark that continues to resonate in the twenty-first century.
Artists, writers, and filmmakers from Andy Warhol and J. G. Ballard to Alejandro González Iñárritu and Ousmane Sembène have repeatedly used representations of immobilized and crashed cars to wrestle with the conundrums of modernity. In Crash, Karen Beckman argues that representations of the crash parallel the encounter of film with other media, and that these collisions between media offer useful ways to think about alterity, politics, and desire. Examining the significance of automobile collisions in film genres including the “cinema of attractions,” slapstick comedies, and industrial-safety movies, Beckman reveals how the car crash gives visual form to fantasies and anxieties regarding speed and stasis, risk and safety, immunity and contamination, and impermeability and penetration. Her reflections on the crash as the traumatic, uncertain moment of inertia that comes in the wake of speed and confidence challenge the tendency in cinema studies to privilege movement above film’s other qualities. Ultimately, Beckman suggests that film studies is a hybrid field that cannot apprehend its object of study without acknowledging the ways that cinema’s technology binds it to capitalism’s industrial systems and other media, technologies, and disciplines.
In an innovative cultural history of Argentine movies and radio in the decades before Peronism, Matthew B. Karush demonstrates that competition with jazz and Hollywood cinema shaped Argentina's domestic cultural production in crucial ways, as Argentine producers tried to elevate their offerings to appeal to consumers seduced by North American modernity. At the same time, the transnational marketplace encouraged these producers to compete by marketing "authentic" Argentine culture. Domestic filmmakers, radio and recording entrepreneurs, lyricists, musicians, actors, and screenwriters borrowed heavily from a rich tradition of popular melodrama. Although the resulting mass culture trafficked in conformism and consumerist titillation, it also disseminated versions of national identity that celebrated the virtue and dignity of the poor, while denigrating the wealthy as greedy and mean-spirited. This anti-elitism has been overlooked by historians, who have depicted radio and cinema as instruments of social cohesion and middle-class formation. Analyzing tango and folk songs, film comedies and dramas, radio soap operas, and other genres, Karush argues that the Argentine culture industries generated polarizing images and narratives that provided much of the discursive raw material from which Juan and Eva Perón built their mass movement.
Cinema is a medium of light. And during Weimar Germany's advance to technological modernity, light - particularly the representational possibilities of electrical light - became the link between the cinema screen and the rapid changes that were transforming German life.In Frances Guerin's compelling history of German silent cinema of the 1920s, the innovative use of light is the pivot around which a new conception of a national cinema, and a national culture emerges. Guerin depicts a nocturnal Germany suffused with light - electric billboards, storefronts, police searchlights - and shows how this element of the mise-en-scene came to reflect both the opportunities and the anxieties surrounding modernity and democracy. Guerin's interpretations center on use of light in films such as Schatten (1923), Variete (1925), Metropolis (1926), and Der Golem (1920). In these films we see how light is the substance of image composition, the structuring device of the narrative, and the central thematic concern. This history relieves German films of the responsibility to explain the political and ideological instability of the period, an instability said to be the uncertain foundation of Nazism. In unlocking this dubious link, A Culture of Light redefines the field of German film scholarship.
Avatar. Inception. Jurassic Park. Lord of the Rings. Ratatouille. Not only are these some of the highest-grossing films of all time, they are also prime examples of how digital visual effects have transformed Hollywood filmmaking. Some critics, however, fear that this digital revolution marks a radical break with cinematic tradition, heralding the death of serious realistic movies in favor of computer-generated pure spectacle.
Digital Visual Effects in Cinema counters this alarmist reading, by showing how digital effects–driven films should be understood as a continuation of the narrative and stylistic traditions that have defined American cinema for decades. Stephen Prince argues for an understanding of digital technologies as an expanded toolbox, available to enhance both realist films and cinematic fantasies. He offers a detailed exploration of each of these tools, from lighting technologies to image capture to stereoscopic 3D. Integrating aesthetic, historical, and theoretical analyses of digital visual effects, Digital Visual Effects in Cinema is an essential guide for understanding movie-making today.
Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941 – 1996) is widely recognized as one of the greatest filmmakers of the latter half of the twentieth century. Beginning as a documentarian who took on controversial subjects in communist Poland in the 1960’s and 70’s, Kieslowski gained an international reputation with his later narrative films The Double Life of Veronique and the Three Colors trilogy (Blue, White, and Red). He also made the Decalogue, a celebrated series for Polish television. The first comprehensive analysis of Kieslowski’s entire body of work to be published in English, Annette Insdorf’s book still stands as the best introduction to a uniquely gifted artist.
Among early directors, Sergei Eisentein
stands alone as the maker of a fully historical cinema. James Goodwin treats
issues of revolutionary history and historical representation as central to
an understanding of Eisentein's work, which explores two movements within Soviet
history and consciousness: the Bolshevik Revolution and the Stalinist state.
Goodwin articulates intersections
between Eisentein's ideas and aspects of the thought of Walter Benjamin, Georg
Lukács, Ernst Bloch, and Bertolt Brecht. He also shows how the formal
properties and filmic techniques of each work reveal perspectives on history
. Individual chapters focus on Strike, Battleship Potemkin, October, Old and New, projects of the 1930s, Alexander Nevsky, and Ivan the Terrible.
In Empty Moments, Leo Charney describes the defining quality of modernity as “drift”—the experience of being unable to locate a stable sense of the present. Through an exploration of artistic, philosophical, and scientific interrogations of the experience of time, Charney presents cinema as the emblem of modern culture’s preoccupation with the reproduction of the present. Empty Moments creates a catalytic dialogue among those who, at the time of the invention of film, attempted to define the experience of the fleeting present. Interspersing philosophical discussions with stylistically innovative prose, Charney mingles Proust’s conception of time/memory with Cubism’s attempt to interpret time through perspective and Surrealism’s exploration of subliminal representations of the present. Other topics include Husserl’s insistence that the present can only be fantasy or fabrication and the focus on impossibility, imperfection, and loss in Kelvin’s laws of thermodynamics. Ultimately, Charney’s work hints at parallels among such examples, the advent and popularity of cinema, and early film theory. A book with a structural modernity of its own, Empty Moments will appeal to those interested in cinema and its history, as well as to other historians, philosophers, literary, and cultural scholars of modernity.
In discussions of postcolonial nationhood and cultural identity, Taiwan is often overlooked. Yet the island—with its complex history of colonization—presents a particularly fascinating case of the struggle to define a “nation.” While the mainland Chinese government has been unequivocal in its resistance to Taiwanese independence, in Taiwan, government control has gradually passed from mainland Chinese immigrants to the Taiwanese themselves. Two decades of democratization and the arrival of consumer culture have made the island a truly global space. Envisioning Taiwan sorts through these complexities, skillfully weaving together history and cultural analysis to give a picture of Taiwanese identity and a lesson on the usefulness and the limits of contemporary cultural theory.
Yip traces a distinctly Taiwanese sense of self vis-à-vis China, Japan, and the West through two of the island’s most important cultural movements: the hsiang-t’u (or “nativist”) literature of the 1960s and 1970s, and the Taiwanese New Cinema of the 1980s and 1990s. At the heart of the book are close readings of the work of the hsiang-t’u writer Hwang Chun-ming and the New Cinema filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien. Key figures in Taiwan’s assertion of a national identity separate and distinct from China, both artists portray in vibrant detail daily life on the island. Through Hwang’s and Hou’s work and their respective artistic movements, Yip explores “the imagining of a nation” on the local, national, and global levels. In the process, she exposes a perceptible shift away from traditional models of cultural authenticity toward a more fluid, postmodern hybridity—an evolution that reflects both Taiwan’s peculiar multicultural reality and broader trends in global culture.
In this innovative study, German and film studies scholar Randall Halle advances the concept of "interzones"--geographical and ideational spaces of transit, interaction, transformation, and contested diversity--as a mechanism for analyzing European cinema.
He focuses especially on films about borders, borderlands, and cultural zones as he traces the development of interzones from the inception of central European cinema to the avant-garde films of today. Throughout, he shows how cinema both reflects and engenders interzones that explore the important questions of Europe's social order: imperialism and nation-building in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; "first contact" between former adversaries (such as East and West Germany) following World War II and the Cold War; and migration, neo-colonialism, and cultural imperialism in the twenty-first century.
Ultimately, Halle argues that today's cinema both produces and reflects imaginative communities. He demonstrates how, rather than simply erasing boundaries, the European Union instead fosters a network of cultural interzones that encourage cinematic exploration of the new Europe's processes and limits of connectivity, tolerance, and cooperation.
Welles. Hitchcock. Kubrick. These names appear on nearly every list of the all-time greatest filmmakers. But what makes these directors so great? Despite their very different themes and sensibilities, is there a common genius that unites them and elevates their work into the realm of the sublime?
The Extraordinary Image takes readers on a fascinating journey through the lives and films of these three directors, identifying the qualities that made them cinematic visionaries. Reflecting on a lifetime of teaching and writing on these filmmakers, acclaimed film scholar Robert P. Kolker offers a deeply personal set of insights on three artists who have changed the way he understands movies. Spotlighting the many astonishing images and stories in films by Welles, Hitchcock, Kubrick, he also considers how they induce a state of amazement that transports and transforms the viewer.
Kolker’s accessible prose invites readers to share in his own continued fascination and delight at these directors’ visual inventiveness, even as he lends his expertise to help us appreciate the key distinctions between the unique cinematic universes they each created. More than just a celebration of three cinematic geniuses, The Extraordinary Image is an exploration of how movies work, what they mean, and why they bring us so much pleasure.
The Eyes Have It explores those rarified screen moments when viewers are confronted by sights that seem at once impossible and present, artificial and stimulating, illusory and definitive.
Beginning with a penetrating study of five cornfield sequences—including The Wizard of Oz, Arizona Dream, and Signs—Murray Pomerance journeys through a vast array of cinematic moments, technical methods, and laborious collaborations from the 1930s to the 2000s to show how the viewer's experience of "reality" is put in context, challenged, and willfully engaged.
Four meditations deal with “reality effects” from different philosophical and technical angles. “Vivid Rivals” assesses active participation and critical judgment in seeing effects with such works as Defiance, Cloverfield, Knowing,Thelma & Louise, and more. “The Two of Us” considers double placement and doubled experience with such films as The Prestige, Niagara, and A Stolen Life. “Being There” discusses cinematic performance and the problems of believability, highlighting such films as Gran Torino, The Manchurian Candidate, In Harm’s Way, and other films. “Fairy Land” explores the art of scenic backing, focusing on the fictional world of Brigadoon, which borrows from both hard-edged realism and evocative landscape painting.
A pioneer in the field, Christian Metz applies insights of structural linguistics to the language of film.
"The semiology of film . . . can be held to date from the publication in 1964 of the famous essay by Christian Metz, 'Le cinéma: langue ou langage?'"—Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, Times Literary Supplement
"Modern film theory begins with Metz."—Constance Penley, coeditor of Camera Obscura
"Any consideration of semiology in relation to the particular field signifying practice of film passes inevitably through a reference to the work of Christian Metz. . . . The first book to be written in this field, [Film Language] is important not merely because of this primacy but also because of the issues it raises . . . issues that have become crucial to the contemporary argument."—Stephen Heath, Screen
Noir. A shadow looms. The blow, a sharp surprise. Waking and sleeping, the fear is with us and cannot be contained. Paranoia.
Wheeler Winston Dixon's comprehensive work engages readers in an overview of noir and fatalist film from the mid-twentieth century to the present, ending with a discussion of television, the Internet, and dominant commercial cinema. Beginning with the 1940s classics, Film Noir and the Cinema of Paranoia moves to the "Red Scare" and other ominous expressions of the 1950s that contradicted an American split-level dream of safety and security. The dark cinema of the 1960s hosted films that reflected the tensions of a society facing a new and, to some, menacing era of social expression. From smaller studio work to the vibrating pulse of today's "click and kill" video games, Dixon boldly addresses the noir artistry that keeps audiences in an ever-consumptive stupor.
With the rise of review sites and social media, films today, as soon as they are shown, immediately become the topic of debates on their merits not only as entertainment, but also as serious forms of artistic expression. Philosopher Robert B. Pippin, however, wants us to consider a more radical proposition: film as thought, as a reflective form. Pippin explores this idea through a series of perceptive analyses of cinematic masterpieces, revealing how films can illuminate, in a concrete manner, core features and problems of shared human life.
Filmed Thought examines questions of morality in Almodóvar’s Talk to Her, goodness and naïveté in Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, love and fantasy in Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows, politics and society in Polanski’s Chinatown and Malick’s The Thin Red Line, and self-understanding and understanding others in Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place and in the Dardennes brothers' oeuvre. In each reading, Pippin pays close attention to what makes these films exceptional as technical works of art (paying special attention to the role of cinematic irony) and as intellectual and philosophical achievements. Throughout, he shows how films offer a view of basic problems of human agency from the inside and allow viewers to think with and through them. Captivating and insightful, Filmed Thought shows us what it means to take cinema seriously not just as art, but as thought, and how this medium provides a singular form of reflection on what it is to be human.
Every European power in Africa made motion pictures for its subjects, but no state invested as heavily in these films, and expected as much from them, as the British colony of Southern Rhodesia. Flickering Shadows is the first book to explore this little-known world of colonial cinema.
J. M. Burns pieces together the history of the cinema in Rhodesia, examining film production, audience reception, and state censorship, to reconstruct the story of how Africans in one nation became consumers of motion pictures. Movies were a valued “tool of empire” designed to assimilate Africans into a new colonial order. Inspired by an inflated confidence in the medium, Rhodesian government offcials created an African Film industry that was unprecedented in its size and scope.
Transforming the lives of their subjects through cinema proved more complicated than white officials had anticipated. Although Africans embraced the medium with enthusiasm, they expressed critical opinions and demonstrated decided tastes that left colonial officials puzzled and alarmed.
Flickering Shadows tells the fascinating story of how motion pictures were introduced and negotiated in a colonial setting. In doing so, it casts light on the history of the globalization of the cinema. This work is based on interviews with white and black filmmakers and African audience members, extensive archival research in Africa and England, and viewings of scores of colonial films.
Best known for directing the Impressionist classic The Smiling Madame Beudet and the first Surrealist film The Seashell and the Clergyman, Germaine Dulac, feminist and pioneer of 1920s French avant-garde cinema, made close to thirty fiction films as well as numerous documentaries and newsreels. Through her filmmaking, writing, and cine-club activism, Dulac’s passionate defense of the cinema as a lyrical art and social practice had a major influence on twentieth century film history and theory.
In Germaine Dulac: A Cinema of Sensations, Tami Williams makes unprecedented use of the filmmaker's personal papers, production files, and archival film prints to produce the first full-length historical study and critical biography of Dulac. Williams's analysis explores the artistic and sociopolitical currents that shaped Dulac's approach to cinema while interrogating the ground breaking techniques and strategies she used to critique conservative notions of gender and sexuality. Moving beyond the director’s work of the 1920s, Williams examines Dulac's largely ignored 1930s documentaries and newsreels establishing clear links with the more experimental impressionist and abstract works of her early period.
This vivid portrait will be of interest to general readers, as well as to scholars of cinema and visual culture, performance, French history, women’s studies, queer cinema, in addition to studies of narrative avant-garde, experimental, and documentary film history and theory.
In Global Cities, scholars from an impressive array of disciplines critique the growing body of literature on the process broadly known as "globalization." This interdisciplinary focus enables the authors to explore the complex geographies of modern cities, and offer possible strategies for reclaiming a sense of place and community in these globalized urban settings. While examining major cities including New York, Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, and Hong Kong, contributors insist that the study of urban experiences must remain as attentive to the material effects as to the psychic and social consequences of globalization. Accordingly, essays explore the implications of global culture for architecture, cinema, and communication--but do so in a way that highlights the importance of the spaces between such metropolitan centers. These locations, the authors argue, serve as increasingly important "frontier zones," where a diverse set of actors converge and contend for power and presence. Such a perspective ultimately adds nuance and meaning to our understanding of the heterogeneous urban landscapes of these global cities. Linda Krause is an associate professor in the Department of Architecture at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Patrice Petro is professor of film studies and director of the Center for International Education at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. A volume in the New Directions in International Studies series, edited by Patrice Petro
What does it mean to describe cinematic effects as “movie magic,” to compare filmmakers to magicians, or to say that the cinema is all a “trick”? The heyday of stage illusionism was over a century ago, so why do such performances still serve as a key reference point for understanding filmmaking, especially now that so much of the cinema rests on the use of computers?
To answer these questions, Colin Williamson situates film within a long tradition of magical practices that combine art and science, involve deception and discovery, and evoke two forms of wonder—both awe at the illusion displayed and curiosity about how it was performed. He thus considers how, even as they mystify audiences, cinematic illusions also inspire them to learn more about the technologies and techniques behind moving images. Tracing the overlaps between the worlds of magic and filmmaking, Hidden in Plain Sight examines how professional illusionists and their tricks have been represented onscreen, while also considering stage magicians who have stepped behind the camera, from Georges Méliès to Ricky Jay.
Williamson offers an insightful, wide-ranging investigation of how the cinema has functioned as a “device of wonder” for more than a century, while also exploring how several key filmmakers, from Orson Welles to Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese, employ the rhetoric of magic. Examining pre-cinematic visual culture, animation, nonfiction film, and the digital trickery of today’s CGI spectacles, Hidden in Plain Sight provides an eye-opening look at the powerful ways that magic has shaped our modes of perception and our experiences of the cinema.
Refugees, migrants, and minorities of migrant origin frequently appear in European mainstream news in emergency situations: victims of human trafficking, suspects of terrorism, “bogus” asylum seekers. Through analysis of work by established filmmakers Michael Haneke, Fatih Akin, and Alfonso Cuarón, In Permanent Crisis contemplates the way mass media depictions become invoked by film to frame ethnic and racial Otherness in Europe as adornments of catastrophe. Special attention is given to European auteur films in which riots, terrorism, criminal activities, and honor killings bring Europe’s minorities to the forefront of public visibility only to reduce them to perpetrators or victims of violence.
In this first study in English of a master of Polish cinema, Annette Insdorf explores Has’s thirteen feature films with the same deep insight of her groundbreaking book on Krzysztof Kieslowski, Double Lives, Second Chances (Northwestern, 2013).
Wojciech Has’s films are still less known outside of his native Poland than those of his countrymen Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, and Krzysztof Kieslowski. Yet thanks to his singular vision, many critics rank Has among the masters of world cinema. Some of his movies have developed a cult following, notably The Saragossa Manuscript, the favorite film of the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, which has been praised by directors such as Luis Buñuel, Francis Ford Coppola, and Roman Polanski.
Has’s films reveal the inner lives of his characters, which he portrays by giving free rein to his own wildly creative imagination. In addition toThe Saragossa Manuscript, his diverse and innovative filmography includes The Hourglass Sanatorium, a vividly surreal depiction of Hassidic life in Poland between the world wars; The Noose, a stark poetic drama about a lucid alcoholic who knows he will not be able to kick the habit; and How to Be Loved, in which an actress remembers her wartime past.
Has made disparate but formally striking movies infused with European strains of existentialism and the avant-garde. With many of his films being restored and rereleased, new generations of film lovers are discovering his artistic genius. Intimations: The Cinema of Wojciech Has is the definitive guide in English to his work.
Critics have largely neglected the color films of French film director Robert Bresson (1901–99). To correct that oversight, this study presents a revised and revitalized Bresson, comparing his style to innovations in abstract painting after World War II, exploring his affinities with such avant-garde traditions as surrealism, constructivism, and minimalism, and illustrating how his embodied style leads to a complex form of intermediality. Through that analysis, Raymond Watkins shows clearly that Bresson still has a good deal to teach us about cinema’s distinctive ability to draw on painting, photography, sculpture, and the plastic arts in general.
The Law of the Looking Glass: Cinema in Poland, 1896–1939 reveals the complex relationship between nationhood, national language, and national cinema in Europe before World War II. Author Sheila Skaff describes how the major issues facing the region before World War I, from the relatively slow pace of modernization to the desire for national sovereignty, shaped local practices in film production, exhibition, and criticism. She goes on to analyze local film production, practices of spectatorship in large cities and small towns, clashes over language choice in intertitles, and controversy surrounding the first synchronized sound experiments before World War I. Skaff depicts the creation of a national film industry in the newly independent country, the golden years of the silent cinema, the transition from silent to sound film—and debates in the press over this transition—as well as the first Polish and Yiddish “talkies.” She places particular importance on conflicts in majority-minority relations in the region and the types of collaboration that led to important films such as The Dybbuk and The Ghosts.
The Law of the Looking Glass: Cinema in Poland, 1896–1939 is the first comprehensive history of the country’s film industry before World War II. This history is characterized by alternating periods of multilingual, multiethnic production, on the one hand, and rejection of such inclusiveness, on the other. Through it all, however, runs a single unifying thread: an appreciation for visual imagery.
In a nuanced exploration of how Western cinema has represented East Asia as a space of radical indecipherability, Homay King traces the long-standing association of the Orient with the enigmatic. The fantasy of an inscrutable East, she argues, is not merely a side note to film history, but rather a kernel of otherness that has shaped Hollywood cinema at its core. Through close readings of The Lady from Shanghai, Chinatown, Blade Runner, Lost in Translation, and other films, she develops a theory of the “Shanghai gesture,” a trope whereby orientalist curios and décor become saturated with mystery. These objects and signs come to bear the burden of explanation for riddles that escape the Western protagonist or cannot be otherwise resolved by the plot. Turning to visual texts from outside Hollywood which actively grapple with the association of the East and the unintelligible—such as Michelangelo Antonioni’s Chung Kuo: Cina, Wim Wenders’s Notebook on Cities and Clothes, and Sophie Calle’s Exquisite Pain—King suggests alternatives to the paranoid logic of the Shanghai gesture. She argues for the development of a process of cultural “de-translation” aimed at both untangling the psychic enigmas prompting the initial desire to separate the familiar from the foreign, and heightening attentiveness to the internal alterities underlying Western subjectivity.
Marshaling his broad cinematic and cultural knowledge, editor Jan-Christopher Horak has compiled in Lovers of Cinema a groundbreaking group of articles on this neglected film period. With one exception, all are original to this volume, and many are the first to treat comprehensively such early filmmakers as Mary Ellen Bute, Theodore Huff, and Douglass Crockwell.
Also included in the book is a listing of all American avant-garde films produced in the years before World War II as well as a bibliography of the most relevant criticism, literature, and news accounts.
From Victor Frankenstein to Dr. Moreau to Doc Brown in Back to the Future, the scientist has been a puzzling, fascinating, and threatening presence in popular culture. From films we have learned that scientists are either evil maniacal geniuses or bumbling saviors of society. Mad, Bad and Dangerous? puts this dichotomy to the test, offering a wholly engaging yet not uncritical history of the cinematic portrayal of scientists.
Christopher Frayling traces the genealogy of the scientist in film, showing how the scientist has often embodied the predominant anxieties of a particular historical moment. The fear of nuclear holocaust in the 1950s gave rise to a rash of radioactive-mutant horror movies, while the possible dangers of cloning and biotechnology in the 1990s manifested themselves in Jurassic Park. During these eras, the scientist's actions have been viewed through a lens of fascination and fear. In the past few decades, with increased public awareness of environmental issues and of the impact of technology on nature, the scientist has been transformed once again—into a villainous agent of money-hungry corporate powers. Mad, Bad and Dangerous? also examines biographical depictions of actual scientists, illuminating how they are often portrayed as social misfits willing to sacrifice everything to the interests of science.
Drawing on such classic and familiar films as Frankenstein, Metropolis, and The Wizard of Oz, Frayling brings social and film history together to paint a much larger picture of the evolving value of science and technology to society. A fascinating study of American culture and film, Mad, Bad and Dangerous? resurrects the scientists of late night movies and drive-in theaters and gives them new life as cultural talismans.
Julia Roberts played a prostitute, famously, in Pretty Woman. So did Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, Jane Fonda in Klute, Anna Karina in Vivre sa vie, Greta Garbo in Anna Christie, and Charlize Theron, who won an Academy Award for Monster. This engaging and generously illustrated study explores the depiction of female prostitute characters and prostitution in world cinema, from the silent era to the present-day industry. From the woman with control over her own destiny to the woman who cannot get away from her pimp, Russell Campbell shows the diverse representations of prostitutes in film.
Marked Women classifies fifteen recurrent character types and three common narratives, many of them with their roots in male fantasy. The “Happy Hooker,” for example, is the liberated woman whose only goal is to give as much pleasure as she receives, while the “Avenger,” a nightmare of the male imagination, represents the threat of women taking retribution for all the oppression they have suffered at the hands of men. The “Love Story,” a common narrative, represents the prostitute as both heroine and anti-heroine, while “Condemned to Death” allows men to manifest, in imagination only, their hostility toward women by killing off the troubled prostitute in an act of cathartic violence.
The figure of the woman whose body is available at a price has fascinated and intrigued filmmakers and filmgoers since the very beginning of cinema, but the manner of representation has also been highly conflicted and fiercely contested. Campbell explores the cinematic prostitute as a figure shaped by both reactionary thought and feminist challenges to the norm, demonstrating how the film industry itself is split by fascinating contradictions.
The essays of distinguished film critic Adrian Martin have long been difficult to access, so this anthology, which collects his work in one volume, will be welcomed throughout film studies. He offers in-depth analysis of many genres of films while providing a broad understanding of the history of cinema and the history of film criticism and culture. These vibrant, highly personal essays balance breadth across cinema theory with almost encyclopedic detail, ranging between aesthetics, cinephilia, film genre, criticism, philosophy, and cultural politics.
Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies No. 64
Kinugasa Teinosuke’s 1926 film, A Page of Madness (Kurutta ichipeiji), is celebrated as one of the masterpieces of silent cinema. It was an independently produced, experimental, avant-garde work from Japan whose brilliant use of cinematic technique was equal to if not superior to that of contemporary European cinema. Those studying Japan, focusing on the central involvement of such writers as Yokomitsu Riichi and the Nobel Prize winner Kawabata Yasunari, have seen it as a pillar of the close relationship in the Taisho era between film and artistic modernism, as well as a marker of the uniqueness of prewar Japanese film culture.
But is this film really what it seems to be? Using meticulous research on the film’s production, distribution, exhibition, and reception, as well as close analysis of the film’s shooting script and shooting notes recently made available, Aaron Gerow draws a new picture of this complex work, one revealing a film divided between experiment and convention, modernism and melodrama, the image and the word, cinema and literature, conflicts that play out in the story and structure of the film and its context. These different versions of A Page of Madness were developed at the time in varying interpretations of a film fundamentally about differing perceptions and conflicting worlds, and ironically realized in the fact that the film that exists today is not the one originally released. Including a detailed analysis of the film and translations of contemporary reviews and shooting notes for scenes missing from the current print, Gerow’s book offers provocative insight into the fascinating film A Page of Madness was—and still is—and into the struggles over this work that tried to articulate the place of cinema in Japanese society and modernity.
What did the arrival of cinema do for photography? How did the moving image change our relation to the still image? Why have cinema and photography been so drawn to each other? Close-ups, freeze frames and the countless portrayals of photographers on screen are signs of cinema’s enduring attraction to the still image. Photo-stories, sequences and staged tableaux speak of the deep influence of cinema on photography.
Photography and Cinema a considers the importance of the still image for filmmakers such as the Lumière brothers, Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker, Mark Lewis, Agnès Varda, Peter Weir, Christopher Nolan and many others. In parallel it looks at the cinematic in the work of photographers and artists that include Germaine Krull, William Klein, John Baldessari, Jeff Wall, Victor Burgin and Cindy Sherman.
From film stills and flipbooks to slide shows and digital imaging, hybrid visual forms have established an ambiguous realm between motion and stillness. David Campany assembles a missing history in which photography and cinema have been each other’s muse and inspiration for over a century.
Silent cinema and contemporaneous literature explored themes of mesmerism, possession, and the ominous agency of corporate bodies that subsumed individual identities. At the same time, critics accused film itself of exerting a hypnotic influence over spellbound audiences. Stefan Andriopoulos shows that all this anxiety over being governed by an outside force was no marginal oddity, but rather a pervasive concern in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Tracing this preoccupation through the period’s films—as well as its legal, medical, and literary texts—Andriopoulos pays particular attention to the terrifying notion of murder committed against one’s will. He returns us to a time when medical researchers described the hypnotized subject as a medium who could be compelled to carry out violent crimes, and when films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler famously portrayed the hypnotist’s seemingly unlimited power on the movie screen. Juxtaposing these medicolegal and cinematic scenarios with modernist fiction, Andriopoulos also develops an innovative reading of Kafka’s novels, which center on the merging of human and corporate bodies.
Blending theoretical sophistication with scrupulous archival research and insightful film analysis, Possessed adds a new dimension to our understanding of today’s anxieties about the onslaught of visual media and the expanding reach of vast corporations that seem to absorb our own identities.
In this illuminating and provocative survey, Stephen Barber examines the historical relationship between film and the urban landscape. Projected Cities looks with particular focus at the cinema of Europe and Japan, two closely linked cinematic cultures which have been foremost in the use of urban imagery, to reveal elements of culture, architecture and history. By examining this imagery, especially at moments of turmoil and experimentation, the author reveals how cinema has used images of cities to influence our perception of everything from history to the human body, and how cinematic images of cities have been fundamental to the ways in which the city has been imagined, formulated and remembered. The book goes on to assess the impact of media culture on the status of film and cinema spaces, and concludes by considering digital renderings of the modern city. Projected Cities will appeal to all readers engaged with the city, film and contemporary culture.
Red, White & Black is a provocative critique of socially engaged films and related critical discourse. Offering an unflinching account of race and representation, Frank B. Wilderson III asks whether such films accurately represent the structure of U.S. racial antagonisms. That structure, he argues, is based on three essential subject positions: that of the White (the “settler,” “master,” and “human”), the Red (the “savage” and “half-human”), and the Black (the “slave” and “non-human”). Wilderson contends that for Blacks, slavery is ontological, an inseparable element of their being. From the beginning of the European slave trade until now, Blacks have had symbolic value as fungible flesh, as the non-human (or anti-human) against which Whites have defined themselves as human. Just as slavery is the existential basis of the Black subject position, genocide is essential to the ontology of the Indian. Both positions are foundational to the existence of (White) humanity.
Wilderson provides detailed readings of two films by Black directors, Antwone Fisher (Denzel Washington) and Bush Mama (Haile Gerima); one by an Indian director, Skins (Chris Eyre); and one by a White director, Monster’s Ball (Marc Foster). These films present Red and Black people beleaguered by problems such as homelessness and the repercussions of incarceration. They portray social turmoil in terms of conflict, as problems that can be solved (at least theoretically, if not in the given narratives). Wilderson maintains that at the narrative level, they fail to recognize that the turmoil is based not in conflict, but in fundamentally irreconcilable racial antagonisms. Yet, as he explains, those antagonisms are unintentionally disclosed in the films’ non-narrative strategies, in decisions regarding matters such as lighting, camera angles, and sound.
The raised-arm salute was the most popular symbol of Fascism, Nazism, and related political ideologies in the twentieth century and is said to have derived from an ancient Roman custom. Although modern historians and others employ it as a matter of course, the term “Roman salute” is a misnomer. The true origins of this salute can be traced back to the popular culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that dealt with ancient Rome: historical plays and films. The visual culture of stage and screen from the 1890s to the 1920s was chiefly responsible for the wide familiarity of Europeans and Americans with forms of the raised-arm salute and made it readily available for political purposes.
The Roman Salute: Cinema, History, Ideology by Martin M. Winkler presents extensive evidence for the modern origin of the raised-arm salute from well before the birth of Fascism and traces its varieties and its dissemination. The continuing presence of certain aspects of Fascism makes an examination of all its facets desirable, especially when the true origins of a symbol as potent as the salute and the history of its dissemination are barely known to classicists and historians of ancient Rome on the one hand, and to scholars of modern European history, on the other. Thus this book will appeal to classicists and historians, including film historians, and will be of interest to readers beyond the academy.
Savage Theory articulates the powerful mythology of cinema as the premier medium for magic in modern times. Envisioning the cinema as a form of magical ritual that possesses the power to enliven, heal, and enchant, Rachel O. Moore explores modernity’s relationship to the primitive by analyzing understandings of primitive belief and ritual in early film theory alongside illustrative scenes from popular as well as avant-garde film. Moore mines the theories of language, spectatorship, and cinematic expression in the writings of Vachel Lindsay, Sergei Eisenstein, Siegfried Kracauer, and Walter Benjamin, among others. Illuminating the links between these theorists’ preoccupations with cinema as a form of primal communication and the numbing effects of modernity, she demonstrates how movies are uniquely able to negotiate the fragmentary and isolating nature of a modern world. In constructing an alternative to cognitive, psychoanalytic, and ideological approaches to film analysis, Moore provides eye-opening discussions of films such as Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising, Hollis Frampton’s Nostalgia, and Robert Bresson’s l’Argent. Drawing from Marx’s theory of the commodity and Lukács’s work on second nature, she outlines the fetish character of the film image and reveals the emergence of the camera as a magical tool replete with animistic powers otherwise lost in the storm of progress. Bound to influence the way future scholars think about the connection between modernism and primitivism, as well as the role of cinema therein during the early twentieth century, Savage Theory will be welcomed by scholars of film theory and anthropology and will also appeal to a wider cultural studies audience.
From the late 1930s to the early twenty-first century, European and American filmmakers have displayed an enduring fascination with Nazi leaders, rituals, and symbols, making scores of films from Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) and Watch on the Rhine (1943) through Des Teufels General (The Devil’s General, 1955) and Pasqualino settebellezze (Seven Beauties, 1975), up to Der Untergang (Downfall, 2004), Inglourious Basterds (2009), and beyond.
Probing the emotional sources and effects of this fascination, Sabine Hake looks at the historical relationship between film and fascism and its far-reaching implications for mass culture, media society, and political life. In confronting the specter and spectacle of fascist power, these films not only depict historical figures and events but also demand emotional responses from their audiences, infusing the abstract ideals of democracy, liberalism, and pluralism with new meaning and relevance.
Hake underscores her argument with a comprehensive discussion of films, including perspectives on production history, film authorship, reception history, and questions of performance, spectatorship, and intertextuality. Chapters focus on the Hollywood anti-Nazi films of the 1940s, the West German anti-Nazi films of the 1950s, the East German anti-fascist films of the 1960s, the Italian “Naziploitation” films of the 1970s, and issues related to fascist aesthetics, the ethics of resistance, and questions of historicization in films of the 1980s–2000s from the United States and numerous European countries.
From Skirts Ahoy! to M*A*S*H, Private Benjamin, G.I. Jane, and JAG, films and television shows have grappled with the notion that military women are contradictory figures, unable to be both effective soldiers and appropriately feminine. In Soldiers’ Stories, Yvonne Tasker traces this perceived paradox across genres including musicals, screwball comedies, and action thrillers. She explains how, during the Second World War, women were portrayed as auxiliaries, temporary necessities of “total war.” Later, nursing, with its connotations of feminine care, offered a solution to the “gender problem.” From the 1940s through the 1970s, musicals, romances, and comedies exploited the humorous potential of the gender role reversal that the military woman was taken to represent. Since the 1970s, female soldiers have appeared most often in thrillers and legal and crime dramas, cast as isolated figures, sometimes victimized and sometimes heroic. Soldiers’ Stories is a comprehensive analysis of representations of military women in film and TV since the 1940s. Throughout, Tasker relates female soldiers’ provocative presence to contemporaneous political and cultural debates and to the ways that women’s labor and bodies are understood and valued.
The image of the movie-obsessed gay man is a widely circulating and readily recognizable element of the contemporary cultural landscape. Using psychoanalytic theory as his guide while inflecting it with insights from both film theory and queer theory, Brett Farmer moves beyond this cliché to develop an innovative exploration of gay spectatorship. The result, Spectacular Passions, reveals how cinema has been engaged by gay men as a vital forum for “fantasmatic performance”—in this case, the production of specifically queer identities, practices, and pleasures. Building on the psychoanalytic concept of the fantasmatic, Farmer works to depathologize gay male subjectivity. While discussing such films as Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Pirate, Suddenly Last Summer, and Sunset Boulevard, and stars ranging from Mae West to Montgomery Clift, Farmer argues that the particularities of gay men’s social and psychic positionings motivate unique receptions of and investments in film. The Hollywood musical, gay camp readings of the extravagant female star, and the explicit homoeroticism of the cinematic male body in gay fanzines are further proof, says Farmer, of how the shifting libidinal profiles of homosexual desire interact with the fantasy scenarios of Hollywood film to produce a range of variable queer meanings. This fascinating and provocative study makes a significant new contribution to discussions of cinema, spectatorship, and sexuality. As such, it will be welcomed by those in the fields of film theory, queer theory, and cultural studies.
Today’s film scholars draw from a dizzying range of theoretical perspectives—they’re just as likely to cite philosopher Gilles Deleuze as they are to quote classic film theorist André Bazin. To students first encountering them, these theoretical lenses for viewing film can seem exhilarating, but also overwhelming.
Thinking in the Dark introduces readers to twenty-one key theorists whose work has made a great impact on film scholarship today, including Rudolf Arnheim, Sergei Eisenstein, Michel Foucault, Siegfried Kracauer, and Judith Butler. Rather than just discussing each theorist’s ideas in the abstract, the book shows how those concepts might be applied when interpreting specific films by including an analysis of both a classic film and a contemporary one. It thus demonstrates how theory can help us better appreciate films from all eras and genres: from Hugo to Vertigo, from City Lights to Sunset Blvd., and from Young Mr. Lincoln to A.I. and Wall-E.
The volume’s contributors are all experts on their chosen theorist’s work and, furthermore, are skilled at explaining that thinker’s key ideas and terms to readers who are not yet familiar with them. Thinking in the Dark is not only a valuable resource for teachers and students of film, it’s also a fun read, one that teaches us all how to view familiar films through new eyes.
Theorists examined in this volume are: Rudolf Arnheim, Béla Balázs, Roland Barthes, André Bazin, Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Stanley Cavell, Michel Chion, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Douchet, Sergei Eisenstein, Jean Epstein, Michel Foucault, Siegfried Kracauer, Jacques Lacan, Vachel Lindsay, Christian Metz, Hugo Münsterberg, V. F. Perkins, Jacques Rancière, and Jean Rouch.
Charting the intersection of technology and ideology, cultural production and social science, Fatimah Tobing Rony explores early-twentieth-century representations of non-Western indigenous peoples in films ranging from the documentary to the spectacular to the scientific. Turning the gaze of the ethnographic camera back onto itself, bringing the perspective of a third eye to bear on the invention of the primitive other, Rony reveals the collaboration of anthropology and popular culture in Western constructions of race, gender, nation, and empire. Her work demonstrates the significance of these constructions—and, more generally, of ethnographic cinema—for understanding issues of identity. In films as seemingly dissimilar as Nanook of the North, King Kong, and research footage of West Africans from an 1895 Paris ethnographic exposition, Rony exposes a shared fascination with—and anxiety over—race. She shows how photographic “realism” contributed to popular and scientific notions of evolution, race, and civilization, and how, in turn, anthropology understood and critiqued its own use of photographic technology. Looking beyond negative Western images of the Other, Rony considers performance strategies that disrupt these images—for example, the use of open resistance, recontextualization, and parody in the films of Katherine Dunham and Zora Neale Hurston, or the performances of Josephine Baker. She also draws on the work of contemporary artists such as Lorna Simpson and Victor Masayesva Jr., and writers such as Frantz Fanon and James Baldwin, who unveil the language of racialization in ethnographic cinema. Elegantly written and richly illustrated, innovative in theory and original in method, The Third Eye is a remarkable interdisciplinary contribution to critical thought in film studies, anthropology, cultural studies, art history, postcolonial studies, and women’s studies.
Under modernity, time is regarded as linear and measurable by clocks and calendars. Despite the historicity of clock-time itself, the modern concept of time is considered universal and culturally neutral. What Walter Benjamin called “homogeneous, empty time” founds the modern notions of progress and a uniform global present in which the past and other forms of time consciousness are seen as superseded.
In Translating Time, Bliss Cua Lim argues that fantastic cinema depicts the coexistence of other modes of being alongside and within the modern present, disclosing multiple “immiscible temporalities” that strain against the modern concept of homogeneous time. In this wide-ranging study—encompassing Asian American video (On Cannibalism), ghost films from the New Cinema movements of Hong Kong and the Philippines (Rouge, Itim, Haplos), Hollywood remakes of Asian horror films (Ju-on, The Grudge, A Tale of Two Sisters) and a Filipino horror film cycle on monstrous viscera suckers (Aswang)—Lim conceptualizes the fantastic as a form of temporal translation. The fantastic translates supernatural agency in secular terms while also exposing an untranslatable remainder, thereby undermining the fantasy of a singular national time and emphasizing shifting temporalities of transnational reception.
Lim interweaves scholarship on visuality with postcolonial historiography. She draws on Henri Bergson’s understanding of cinema as both implicated in homogeneous time and central to its critique, as well as on postcolonial thought linking the ideology of progress to imperialist expansion. At stake in this project are more ethical forms of understanding time that refuse to domesticate difference as anachronism. While supernaturalism is often disparaged as a vestige of primitive or superstitious thought, Lim suggests an alternative interpretation of the fantastic as a mode of resistance to the ascendancy of homogeneous time and a starting-point for more ethical temporal imaginings.
Virtual Voyages illuminates the pivotal role of travelogues within the history of cinema. The travelogue dominated the early cinema period from 1895 to 1905, was central to the consolidation of documentary in the 1910s and 1920s, proliferated in the postwar era of 16mm distribution, and today continues to flourish in IMAX theaters and a host of non-theatrical venues. It is not only the first chapter in the history of documentary but also a key element of ethnographic film, home movies, and fiction films. In this collection, leading film scholars trace the intersection of technology and ideology in representations of travel across a wide variety of cinematic forms. In so doing, they demonstrate how attention to the role of travel imagery in film blurs distinctions between genres and heightens awareness of cinema as a technology for moving through space and time, of cinema itself as a mode of travel.
Some contributors take a broad view of travelogues by examining the colonial and imperial perspectives embodied in early travel films, the sensation of movement that those films evoked, and the role of live presentations such as lectures in our understanding of travelogues. Other essays are focused on specific films, figures, and technologies, including early travelogues encouraging Americans to move to the West; the making and reception of the documentary Grass (1925), shot on location in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran; the role of travel imagery in 1930s Hollywood cinema; the late-twentieth-century 16mm illustrated-lecture industry; and the panoramic possibilities presented by IMAX technologies. Together the essays provide a nuanced appreciation of how, through their representations of travel, filmmakers actively produce the worlds they depict.
Contributors. Rick Altman, Paula Amad, Dana Benelli, Peter J. Bloom, Alison Griffiths, Tom Gunning, Hamid Naficy, Jennifer Lynn Peterson, Lauren Rabinovitz, Jeffrey Ruoff, Alexandra Schneider, Amy J. Staples
Depictions of sex, violence, and crime abound in many of today's movies, sometimes making it seem that the idyllic life has vanished-even from our imaginations. But as shown in this unique book, paradise has not always been lost. For many years, depictions of heaven, earthly paradises, and utopias were common in popular films.
Illustrated throughout with intriguing, rare stills and organized to provide historical context, Visions of Paradise surveys a huge array of films that have offered us glimpses of life free from strife, devoid of pain and privation, and full of harmony. In films such as Moana, White Shadows in the South Seas, The Green Pastures, Heaven Can Wait, The Enchanted Forest, The Bishop's Wife, Carousel, Bikini Beach, and Elvira Madigan, characters and the audience partake in a vision of personal freedom and safety-a zone of privilege and protection that transcends the demands of daily existence.
Many of the films discussed are from the 1960s-perhaps the most edenic decade in contemporary cinema, when everything seemed possible and radical change was taken for granted. As Dixon makes clear, however, these films have not disappeared with the dreams of a generation; they continue to resonate today, offering a tonic to the darker visions that have replaced them.
A key figure in early avant-garde cinema, Walter Ruttmann was a pioneer of experimental animation and the creative force behind one of the silent era’s most celebrated montage films, Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. Yet even as he was making experimental films, Ruttmann had a day job. He worked regularly in advertising—and he would go on to make industrial films, medical films, and even Nazi propaganda films.
Michael Cowan offers here the first study of Ruttmann in English, not only shedding light on his commercial, industrial, and propaganda work, but also rethinking his significance in light of recent transformations in film studies. Cowan brilliantly teases out the linkages between the avant-garde and industrial society in the early twentieth century, showing how Ruttmann’s films incorporated and enacted strategies for managing the multiplicities of mass society.
Winner of the 2014 Willy Haas Award for an outstanding contribution to the study of German cinema.
Wanted Cultured Ladies Only! maps out the early culture of cinema stardom in India from its emergence in the silent era to the decade after Indian independence in the mid-twentieth century. Neepa Majumdar combines readings of specific films and stars with an analysis of the historical and cultural configurations that gave rise to distinctly Indian notions of celebrity. She argues that discussions of early cinematic stardom in India must be placed in the context of the general legitimizing discourse of colonial "improvement" that marked other civic and cultural spheres as well, and that "vernacular modernist" anxieties over the New Woman had limited resonance here. Rather, it was through emphatically nationalist discourses that Indian cinema found its model for modern female identities.
Considering questions of spectatorship, gossip, popularity, and the dominance of a star-based production system, Majumdar details the rise of film stars such as Sulochana, Fearless Nadia, Lata Mangeshkar, and Nargis
Will Smith in I Am Legend. Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic. Charlton Heston in just about everything.
Viewers of Hollywood action films are no doubt familiar with the sacrificial victim-hero, the male protagonist who nobly gives up his life so that others may be saved. Washed in Blood argues that such sacrificial films are especially prominent in eras when the nation—and American manhood—is thought to be in crisis. The sacrificial victim-hero, continually imperiled and frequently exhibiting classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, thus bears the trauma of the nation.
Claire Sisco King offers an in-depth study of three prominent cycles of Hollywood films that follow the sacrificial narrative: the early–to–mid 1970s, the mid–to–late 1990s, and the mid–to–late 2000s. From Vietnam-era disaster movies to post-9/11 apocalyptic thrillers, she examines how each film represents traumatized American masculinity and national identity. What she uncovers is a cinematic tendency to position straight white men as America’s most valuable citizens—and its noblest victims.
Womb Fantasies examines the womb, an invisible and mysterious space invested with allegorical significance, as a metaphorical space in postwar cinematic and literary texts grappling with the trauma of post-holocaust, postmodern existence. In addition, it examines the representation of visible spaces in the texts in terms of their attribution with womb-like qualities. The framing of the study historically within the postwar era begins with a discussion of Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair in the context of the Cold War’s need for safety in light of the threat of nuclear destruction, and ranges over films such as Marguerite Duras’ and Alan Resnais’ film Hiroshima mon amour and Duras’ novel The Vice-Consul, exploring the ways that such cultural texts fantasize the womb as a response to trauma, defined as the compulsive need to return to the site of loss, a place envisioned as both a secure space and a prison. The womb fantasy is linked to the desire to recreate an identity that is new and original but ahistorical.
Women, Islam and Cinema
Gönül Dönmez-Colin Reaktion Books, 2004 Library of Congress PN1995.9.W6D648 2004 | Dewey Decimal 791.43082091767
This is the first book to examine the troubled relationships between women, Islam and cinema. Film critic and author Gönül Dönmez-Colin explores the role of women as spectators, images and image constructors in the cinemas of the countries where Islam is the predominant religion, focusing on Iran and Turkey from the Middle East, drawing parallels from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the two Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union, and Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia, the prominently Muslim Asian countries with a challenging film industry. Some of the relevant films made in India by and for Muslim Indians are also explored.
Dönmez-Colin examines prevalent cinematic archetypes, including the naïve country girl who is deceived and dishonored, or the devious seductress who destroys the sanctity of marriage, and looks well at controversial elements such as screen rape, which, feminist film critics claim, caters to male voyeurism. She also discusses recurring themes, such as the myths of femininity, the endorsement of polygamy and the obsession with male children, as well as the most common stereotypes, depicting women as mothers, wives and daughters.
Given the diversity of cultures, rather than viewing national cinemas as aspects of a single development, the author focuses on individual histories, traditions and social and economic circumstances as points of reference, which are examined in the context of social and political evolution and the status of women within Islam.
Women, Islam and Cinema is a much-needed and timely work that will appeal to the curious reader as well as to the student of film.