Film festivals are an ever-growing part of the film industry, but most considerations of them focus almost entirely on their role in the business of filmmaking.
This book breaks new ground by bringing scholars from a range of disciplines together with industry professionals to explore the concept of festivals as spaces through an activist lens, as spaces where the sociopolitical identities of communities and individuals are confronted and shaped. Tracing the growth of activist and human rights-focused films from the 1970s to the present, and using case studies from San Francisco, Brazil, Bristol, and elsewhere, the book addresses such contentious topics as whether activist films can achieve humanitarian aims or simply offer “cinema of suffering.” Ultimately, the contributors attack the question of just how effective festivals are at producing politically engaged spectators?
An Aesthetics of Injury exposes wounding as a foundational principle of modernism in literature and film. Theorizing the genre of the narrative wound—texts that aim not only to depict but also to inflict injury—Ian Fleishman reveals harm as an essential aesthetic strategy in ten exemplary authors and filmmakers: Charles Baudelaire, Franz Kafka, Georges Bataille, Jean Genet, Hélène Cixous, Ingeborg Bachmann, Elfriede Jelinek, Werner Schroeter, Michael Haneke, and Quentin Tarantino.
Violence in the modernist mode, an ostensible intrusion of raw bodily harm into the artwork, aspires to transcend its own textuality, and yet, as An Aesthetics of Injury establishes, the wound paradoxically remains the essence of inscription. Fleishman thus shows how the wound, once the modernist emblem par excellence of an immediate aesthetic experience, comes to be implicated in a postmodern understanding of reality reduced to ceaseless mediation. In so doing, he demonstrates how what we think of as the most real object, the human body, becomes indistinguishable from its “nonreal” function as text. At stake in this tautological textual model is the heritage of narrative thought: both the narratological workings of these texts (how they tell stories) and the underlying epistemology exposed (whether these narrativists still believe in narrative at all).
With fresh and revealing readings of canonical authors and filmmakers seldom treated alongside one another, An Aesthetics of Injury is important reading for scholars working on literary or cinematic modernism and the postmodern, philosophy, narratology, body culture studies, queer and gender studies, trauma studies, and cultural theory.
This volume attempts to join the disparate worlds of Egyptian, Maghrebian, South African, Francophone, and Anglophone African cinema—that is, five “formations” of African cinema. These five areas are of particular significance—each in its own way. The history of South Africa, heavily marked by apartheid and its struggles, differs considerably from that of Egypt, which early on developed its own “Hollywood on the Nile.” The history of French colonialism impacted the three countries of the Maghreb—Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco—differently than those in sub-Saharan Africa, where Senegal and Sembène had their own great effect on the Sahelian region. Anglophone Africa, particularly the films of Ghana and Nigeria, has dramatically altered the ways people have perceived African cinema for decades. History, geography, production, distribution, and exhibition are considered alongside film studies concerns about ideology and genre. This volume provides essential information for all those interested in the vital worlds of cinema in Africa since the time of the Lumière brothers.
African Video Movies and Global Desires is the first full-length scholarly study of Ghana’s commercial video industry, an industry that has produced thousands of movies over the last twenty years and has grown into an influential source of cultural production. Produced and consumed under circumstances of dire shortage and scarcity, African video movies narrate the desires and anxieties created by Africa’s incorporation into the global cultural economy.
Drawing on archival and ethnographic research conducted in Ghana over a ten-year period, as well as close readings of a number of individual movies, this book brings the insights of historical context as well as literary and film analysis to bear on a range of movies and the industry as a whole. Garritano makes a significant contribution to the examination of gender norms and the ideologies these movies produce.
African Video Movies and Global Desires is a historically and theoretically informed cultural history of an African visual genre that will only continue to grow in size and influence.
After Authority explores the tendency in art cinema to respond to political transition by turning to ambiguity, a system that ideally stems the reemergence of authoritarian logics in art and elsewhere. By comparing films from Italy, Hungary, South Korea, and the United States, this book contends that the aesthetic tradition of ambiguity in art cinema can be traced to post-authoritarian conditions and that it is in the context of a transition away from authoritarianism where art cinema aesthetics become legible. Art cinema, then, can be seen as a mode of cinematic practice that is at its core political, as its constitutive ambiguity finds its roots in the rejection of centralized and hierarchical configurations of authority. Ultimately, After Authority proposes a history of art cinema predicated on the potentials, possibilities, and politics of ambiguity.
Television is evolving rapidly. How, then, might we respond to television today in light of its past? And do the old theoretical concepts still apply, or must we invent a new framework for this mutable medium? To answer these fundamental questions, the contributors to this provocative collection examine diverse case studies, including up-to-date scholarship on the current television zeitgeist, nostalgic programming on broadcast television, YouTube, and public television art programming of the 1980s. As a whole, these essays challenge the supposed crisis in television in the light of its burgeoning development.
Against Immediacy is a history of early video art considered in relation to television in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. It examines how artists questioned the ways in which “the people” were ideologically figured by the commercial mass media. During this time, artists and organizations including Nam June Paik, Juan Downey, and the Women’s Video News Service challenged the existing limits of the one-to-many model of televisual broadcasting while simultaneously constructing more democratic, bottom-up models in which the people mediated themselves. Operating at the intersection between art history and media studies, Against Immediacy connects early video art and the rise of the media screen in gallery-based art to discussions about participation and the activation of the spectator in art and electronic media, moving from video art as an early form of democratic media practice to its canonization as a form of high art.
Filmed in1966 and ’67, but kept from release for twenty years, The Commissar is unquestionably one of the most important and compelling films of the Soviet era. Based on a short story by Vasily Grossman, it tells of a female Red Army commissar who is forced to stay with a Jewish family near the frontlines of the battle between the Red and White Armies as she waits to give birth. The film drew the ire of censors for its frank portrayal of the violence faced by Russian Jews in the wake of the revolution.
This book is the first companion to the film in any language. It recounts the film’s plot and turbulent production history, and it also offers a close analysis of the artistic vision of its director, Aleksandr Askoldov, and the ways that viewers can trace in the film not only his complex aesthetics, but also the personal crises he endured in the years leading up to the film. The result is an indispensable companion to an unforgettable film.
Released in 2002, Russian Ark drew astonished praise for its technique: shot with a Steadicam in one ninety-six-minute take, it presented a dazzling whirl of movement as it followed the Marquis de Custine as he wandered through the vast Winter Palace in St. Petersburg—and through three hundred years of Russian history.
This companion to Russian Ark addresses all key aspects of the film, beginning with a comprehensive synopsis, an in-depth analysis, and an account of the production history. Birgit Beumers goes on from there to discuss the work that went into the now-legendary Steadicam shot—which required two thousand actors and three orchestras—and she also offers an account of the film’s critical and public reception, showing how it helped to establish director Aleksandr Sokurov as perhaps the leading filmmaker in Russia today.
Alexander Kluge is best known as a founding member of the New German Cinema movement, but his work has spanned a number of genres and media. This wide-ranging book assembles a diverse selection of texts, from nonfiction writings and short stories by Kluge, to critical essays by renowned international scholars on Kluge’s work, to transcripts of interviews with the artist himself. A valuable collection for students and scholars in the fields of film, television, and media studies, Alexander Kluge: Raw Materials for the Imagination is a perfect introduction to Kluge’s key themes and ideas.
All Thoughts Are Equal is both an introduction to the work of French philosopher François Laruelle and an exercise in nonhuman thinking. For Laruelle, standard forms of philosophy continue to dominate our models of what counts as exemplary thought and knowledge. By contrast, what Laruelle calls his “non-standard” approach attempts to bring democracy into thought, because all forms of thinking—including the nonhuman—are equal.
John Ó Maoilearca examines how philosophy might appear when viewed with non-philosophical and nonhuman eyes. He does so by refusing to explain Laruelle through orthodox philosophy, opting instead to follow the structure of a film (Lars von Trier’s documentary The Five Obstructions) as an example of the non-standard method. Von Trier’s film is a meditation on the creative limits set by film, both technologically and aesthetically, and how these limits can push our experience of film—and of ourselves—beyond what is normally deemed “the perfect human.”
All Thoughts Are Equal adopts film’s constraints in its own experiment by showing how Laruelle’s radically new style of philosophy is best presented through our most nonhuman form of thought—that found in cinema.
This book examines the complex relationships that exist between anarchist theory and film. No longer hidden in obscure corners of cinematic culture, anarchy is a theme that has traversed arthouse, underground, and popular film. In The Anarchist Cinema, James Newton explores the notion that cinema is an inherently subversive space, establishes criteria for deeming a film anarchic, and examines the place of underground and DIY filmmaking within the wider context of the category. The author identifies subversive undercurrents in cinema and uses anarchist political theory as an interpretive framework to analyze filmmakers, genres, and the notion of cinema as an anarchic space.
Stephen Prince Rutgers University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PN1995.9.A64P75 2021 | Dewey Decimal 791.43615
Vivid images of the apocalypse proliferate throughout contemporary cinema, which pictures the death of civilization in wildly different ways. Some films imagine a future where humanity is wiped out entirely, while others envision humans as an endangered species, enslaved by alien invaders or hunted by zombie hordes.
This book provides a lively overview of apocalypse cinema, including alien invasions, nuclear annihilation, asteroid collisions, climate change, and terrifying plagues. Covering pivotal films from the silent era to the present day, including Metropolis, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dr. Strangelove, Contagion, and Avengers: Endgame, Stephen Prince explores how these dark visions are rooted in religious and prophetic traditions, and he considers how our love for apocalypse cinema is tied to fundamental existential questions and anxieties that never go out of fashion.
Architecture Filmmaking investigates how the field of architecture utilizes the practice of filmmaking in research, teaching, and practice, and explores the consequences of this interdisciplinary exchange. While architecture and filmmaking have clearly distinct disciplinary outputs, and filmmaking is a much younger art than architecture, the intersection between them is less defined. This book investigates the ways in which architectural researchers, teachers of architecture, their students and practicing architects, filmmakers and artists are using filmmaking uniquely in their practice. The authors’ adept analysis presents a contribution to the debates surrounding interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary methodologies in the emerging field of architecture filmmaking research.
In Archiveology Catherine Russell uses the work of Walter Benjamin to explore how the practice of archiveology—the reuse, recycling, appropriation, and borrowing of archival sounds and images by filmmakers—provides ways to imagine the past and the future. Noting how the film archive does not function simply as a place where moving images are preserved, Russell examines a range of films alongside Benjamin's conceptions of memory, document, excavation, and historiography. She shows how city films such as Nicole Védrès's Paris 1900 (1947) and Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) reconstruct notions of urban life and uses Christian Marclay's The Clock (2010) to draw parallels between critical cinephilia and Benjamin's theory of the phantasmagoria. Russell also discusses practices of collecting in archiveological film and rereads films by Joseph Cornell and Rania Stephan to explore an archival practice that dislocates and relocates the female image in film. In so doing, she not only shows how Benjamin's work is as relevant to film theory as ever; she shows how archiveology can awaken artists and audiences to critical forms of history and memory.
In this jarring look at contemporary warfare and political visuality, renowned anthropologist of violence Allen Feldman provocatively argues that contemporary sovereign power mobilizes asymmetric, clandestine, and ultimately unending war as a will to truth. Whether responding to the fantasy of weapons of mass destruction or an existential threat to civilization, Western political sovereignty seeks to align justice, humanitarian right, and democracy with technocratic violence and visual dominance. Connecting Guantánamo tribunals to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, American counterfeit killings in Afghanistan to the Baader-Meinhof paintings of Gerhard Richter, and the video erasure of Rodney King to lynching photography and political animality, among other scenes of terror, Feldman contests sovereignty’s claims to transcendental right —whether humanitarian, neoliberal, or democratic—by showing how dogmatic truth is crafted and terror indemnified by the prosecutorial media and materiality of war.
Excavating a scenography of trials—formal or covert, orchestrated or improvised, criminalizing or criminal—Feldman shows how the will to truth disappears into the very violence it interrogates. He maps the sensory inscriptions and erasures of war, highlighting war as a media that severs factuality from actuality to render violence just. He proposes that war promotes an anesthesiology that interdicts the witness of a sensory and affective commons that has the capacity to speak truth to war. Feldman uses layered deconstructive description to decelerate the ballistical tempo of war to salvage the embodied actualities and material histories that war reduces to the ashes of collateral damage, the automatism of drones, and the opacities of black sites. The result is a penetrating work that marries critical visual theory, political philosophy, anthropology, and media archeology into a trenchant dissection of emerging forms of sovereignty and state power that war now makes possible.
Edited by Ian Christie Amsterdam University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PN1995.9.A8A95 2012
Moving away from the recent prevalence of text-based analysis in the field of film studies, Audience tackles one of the most important issues in cinema—how the audience engages with film. Ian Christie has assembled contributions from many of the major figures in media studies, including Gregory Waller, John Sedgwick, and Martin Baker, in order to provide a wide-ranging survey of viewers’ relationships with the screen. Audiences utilizes psychoanalysis and psychology, which dominated early academic examinations of film, to parse and explain modern film-viewing habits. This wide-ranging volume also takes advantage of new technology to gain access to important data on audiences, from traditional box office studies to information on digital access to movies in the home. With a particular interest in individual consumers and their motivations, this timely collection spans the spectrum of contemporary audience studies.
As the film experience fragments across multiple formats, Audiences studies a broad range of viewers, andis essential reading for scholars and lovers of cinema.
The first part of a planned three-volume work devoted to mapping the transnational history of Australian film studies, AustralianFilm Theory and Criticism, Volume 1 provides an overview of the period between 1975 and 1990, during which the discipline first became established in the academy.
Tracing critical positions, personnel, and institutions across this formative period, Noel King, Constantine Verevis, and Deane Williams examine a multitude of books and journal articles published in Australia and distributed internationally though such processes as publication in overseas journals, translation, and reprinting. At the same time, they offer important insights about the origins of Australian film theory and its relationship to such related disciplines as English, and cultural studies. Ultimately, Australian Film Theory and Criticism, Volume 1 delineates the historical implications—and reveals the future possibilities—of establishing new directions of inquiry for film studies in Australia and internationally.
A three-volume project tracing key critical positions, people, and institutions in Australian film, Australian Film Theory and Criticism interrogates not only the origins of Australian film theory but also its relationships to adjacent disciplines and institutions. The second volume in the series, this book gathers interviews with national and international film theorists and critics to chart the development of different discourses in Australian film studies through the decades. Seeking to examine the position of film theorists and their relationship to film industry practitioners and policy makers, this volume succeeds mightily in reasserting Australian film’s place on the international scholarly agenda.