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.
African Diasporic Cinema: Aesthetics of Reconstruction analyzes the aesthetic strategies adopted by contemporary African diasporic filmmakers to express the reconstruction of identity. Having left the continent, these filmmakers see Africa as a site of representation and cultural circulation. The diasporic experience displaces the center and forges new syncretic identities. Through migratory movement, people become foreigners, Others—and in this instance, black. The African diasporic condition in the Western world is characterized by the intersection of various factors: being African and bearing the historical memory of the continent; belonging to a black minority in majority-white societies; and finally, having historically been the object of negative, stereotyped representation. As a result, quests for the self and self-reconstruction are frequent themes in the films of the African diaspora, and yet the filmmakers refuse to remain trapped in the confines of an assigned, rigid identity. Reflecting these complex circumstances, this book analyzes the contemporary diaspora through the prism of cultural hybridization and the processes of recomposing fragmented identities, out of which new identities emerge.
By the end of the twentieth century, Argentina’s complex identity-tango and chimichurri, Eva Perón and the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the Falklands and the Dirty War, Jorge Luis Borges and Maradona, economic chaos and a memory of vast wealth-has become entrenched in the consciousness of the Western world.
In this wide-ranging and at times poetic new work, Amy K. Kaminsky explores Argentina’s unique national identity and the place it holds in the minds of those who live beyond its physical borders. To analyze the country’s meaning in the global imagination, Kaminsky probes Argentina’s presence in a broad range of literary texts from the United States, Poland, England, Western Europe, and Argentina itself, as well as internationally produced films, advertisements, and newspaper features.
Kaminsky’s examination reveals how Europe consumes an image of Argentina that acts as a pivot between the exotic and the familiar. Going beyond the idea of suffocating Eurocentrism as a theory of national identity, Kaminsky presents an original and vivid reading of national myths and realities that encapsulates the interplay among the many meanings of “Argentina” and its place in the world’s imagination.
Amy Kaminsky is professor of gender, women, and sexuality studies and global studies at the University of Minnesota and author of After Exile (Minnesota, 1999).
“Africa is an artificial entity,” notes Ruth Mayer, “invented and conceived by colonialism.” In this wide-ranging study, Mayer explores the ways in which Western, and especially American, popular culture has manufactured and deployed various images of “Africa,” and how those changing constructions have reflected Western social and political concerns from the era of colonialism to the age of globalization. Mayer mines an enormous array of sources to expose the diverse images and narrative strategies that have been prominent in Western representations of Africa. She ranges authoritatively from King Solomon’s Mines and Tarzan to Khartoum and Greystoke, from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness to Nicholas Roeg’s film version, from Isak Dinesen and Ernest Hemingway to Ishmael Reed and Charles Johnson, from comic books to hip hop acts. In the process, she shows how seemingly stable cultural stereotypes have actually been transformed to reflect changing attitudes, conditions, and fears in the West, “adjusting the symbolic repertory of yesterday to the conceptual and ideological frameworks of today.” Dividing her work into “African Adventures” and “Alternative Africas,” Mayer not only restores an international context to American cultural history, but also shows the ways in which these images have functioned within both white and African American communities. With a deft command of both cultural source materials and current debates, Mayer explores the complex and powerful roles these “artificial Africas” have played in Western culture.
Americans flocked to the movies in 1945 and 1946ùthe center point of the three-decade heyday of the studio system's sound era. Why?
Best Years is a panoramic study, shining light on this critical juncture in American historyand the history of American cinemaùthe end of World War II (1945) and a year of unprecedented success in Hollywood's "Golden Age" (1946). This unique time, the last year of war and the first full year of peace, provides a rich blend of cinema genres and typesùfrom the battlefront to the home front, the peace film to the woman's film, psychological drama, and the period's provocative new style, film noir.
Best Years focuses on films that were famous, infamous, forgotten, and unforgettable. Big budget A-films, road shows, and familiar series share the spotlight. From Bergman and Grant in Notorious to Abbott and Costello in Lost in a Harem, Charles Affron and Mirella Jona Affron examine why the bond between screen and viewer was perhaps never tighter. Paying special attention to the movie-going public in key cities--Atlanta, New York, Boston, Honolulu, and Chicago--this ambitious work takes us on a cinematic journey to recapture a magical time.
Black and White in Colour: African History on Screen considers how the African past has been represented in a wide range of historical films. Written by a team of eminent international scholars, the volume provides extensive coverage of both place and time and deals with major issues in the written history of Africa. Themes include the slave trade, imperialism and colonialism, racism, and anticolonial resistance. Many of the films will be familiar to readers: they include Out of Africa, Hotel Rwanda, Breaker Morant, Cry Freedom, The Battle of Algiers, and Chocolat.
This collection of essays is a highly original and useful contribution to African historiography, as well as a significant addition to the growing body of work within the emerging subdiscipline of “film and history.” It will appeal to those interested in African history and the ways in which films use the past to raise questions about the present.
Contributors: Mahir Saul, Ralph A. Austen, Robert Baum, Robert Harms, Nigel Worden, Carolyn Hamilton and Litheko Modisane, Richard Mendelsohn, Shamil Jeppie, Bill Nasson, Nigel Penn, Ruth Watson, Patrick Harries, David Moore, Teresa Barnes, Vivian Bickford-Smith, Mohamed Adhikari, and David Philips.
Branding Brazil examines a panorama of contemporary cultural productions including film, television, photography, and alternative media to explore the transformation of citizenship in Brazil from 2003 to 2014. A utopian impulse drove the reproduction of Brazilian cultural identity for local and global consumption; cultural production sought social and economic profits, especially greater inclusion of previously marginalized people and places. Marsh asserts that three communicative strategies from branding–promising progress, cultivating buy-in, and resolving contradictions–are the most salient and recurrent practices of nation branding during this historic period. More recent political crises can be understood partly in terms of backlash against marked social and political changes introduced during the branding period. Branding Brazil takes a multi-faceted approach, weaving media studies with politics and cinema studies to reveal that more than a marketing term or project emanating from the state, branding was a cultural phenomenon.
The five Cs of Arizona—copper, cattle, cotton, citrus, and climate—formed the basis of the state’s livelihood and a readymade roster of subjects for films. With an eye on the developing national appetite for all things western, Charles and Lucile Herbert founded Western Ways Features in 1936 to document the landscape, regional development, and diverse cultures of Arizona, the U.S. Southwest, and northern Mexico.
Celluloid Pueblo tells the story of Western Ways Features and its role in the invention of the Southwest of the imagination. Active during a thirty-year period of profound growth and transformation, the Herberts created a dynamic visual record of the region, and their archival films now serve as a time capsule of the Sunbelt in the mid-twentieth century. Drawing upon a ten-year career with Fox, Western Ways owner-operator Charles Herbert brought a newshound’s sensibility and acute skill at in-camera editing to his southwestern subjects. The Western Ways films provided counternarratives to Hollywood representations of the West and established the regional identity of Tucson and the borderlands.
Jennifer L. Jenkins’s broad-sweeping book examines the Herberts’ work on some of the first sound films in the Arizona borderlands and their ongoing promotion of the Southwest. The book covers the filmic representation of Native and Mexican lifeways, Anglo ranching and leisure, Mexican missions and tourism, and postwar borderlands prosperity and progressivism. The story of Western Ways closely follows the boom-and-bust arc of the midcentury Southwest and the constantly evolving representations of an exotic—but safe and domesticated—frontier.
Christ's Subversive Body offers a fascinating exploration of six historical examples of politically or culturally subversive usages of the body of Christ. Shining a light on the enabling potential of religious rhetoric, Solovieva examines how in moments of crisis or transition throughout Western history the body of Christ has been deployed in a variety of discourses, including recent neo- and theoconservative movements in the United States.
Solovieva’s survey includes the iconoclastic polemics of Epiphanius at the moment of struggles for supremacy between the Roman state and the Christian church, the mystical theologico-political alchemy of an anonymous treatise circulated at the Council of Constance, Lavater’s counter-Enlightenment visions of the afterlife expressd through physiognomy, Dostoevsky’s refashioning of ethical communities, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s attempts to provoke the “scandal” of Jesus’s mission once more in the modern world, and the elaboration of a political theology subordinating democratic dissent to the higher unity of a corporately conceived “unitary executive” in early twenty-first-century America.
Solovieva presents her findings not as an entry into theological or Christological debates but rather as a study in comparative discourse analysis. She demonstrates how these uses of Christ’s body are triggered by moments of epistemological, political, and representational crisis in the history of Western civilization.
This book argues that there are constitutive links between early twentieth-century German and French film theory and practice, on the one hand, and vitalist conceptions of life in biology and philosophy, on the other. By considering classical film-theoretical texts and their filmic objects in the light of vitalist ideas percolating in scientific and philosophical texts of the time, Cinematic Vitalism reveals the formation of a modernist, experimental and cinematic strand of vitalism in and around the movie theater. The book focuses on the key concepts including rhythm, environment, mood, and development to show how the cinematic vitalism articulated by film theorists and filmmakers maps out connections among human beings, milieus, and technologies that continue to structure our understanding of film.
New York, more than any other city, has held a special fascination for filmmakers and viewers. In every decade of Hollywood filmmaking, artists of the screen have fixated upon this fascinating place for its tensions and promises, dazzling illumination and fearsome darkness.
The glittering skyscrapers of such films as On the Town have shadowed the characteristic seedy streets in which desperate, passionate stories have played out-as in Scandal Sheet and The Pawnbroker. In other films, the city is a cauldron of bright lights, technology, empire, egotism, fear, hunger, and change--the scenic epitome of America in the modern age.
From Street Scene and Breakfast at Tiffany's to Rosemary's Baby, The Warriors, and 25th Hour, the sixteen essays in this book explore the cinematic representation of New York as a city of experience, as a locus of ideographic characters and spaces, as a city of moves and traps, and as a site of allurement and danger. Contributors consider the work of Woody Allen, Blake Edwards, Alfred Hitchcock, Gregory La Cava, Spike Lee, Sidney Lumet, Vincente Minnelli, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Andy Warhol, and numerous others.
Explore new routes into the burgeoning field of biblical literature and film theory
The present collection of essays is a sequel to the groundbreaking Semeia 74 issue, published in 1996, entitled Biblical Glamour and Hollywood Glitz. These new essays showcase the divergent approaches from film studies and cultural studies that can be used in the visual analysis of biblical and religious themes, narratives, and characters in cinema. It is the first volume that specifically addresses issues of methodology, theory, and analysis in the study between bible and film. As such, this collection is of interest to scholars in film studies and theology/religion/biblical studies, who are invested in doing interdisciplinary research in the expanding field of religion and film.
Specific focus on methods of film analysis, rather than the more common focus on thematic analysis in the study of religion, Bible, and film.
Visual analysis in the encounter between Bible and film
Fourteen essays and an introduction by top scholars in the field
The rewritings of the Mexican colonia discussed in this book question a present reality of marginalities and inequality, of imposed political domination, and of hybrid subjectivities. In their examination of the novels, films, poetry, and chronicles produced in and outside of Mexico since 2000, the critics included in Colonial Itineraries of Contemporary Mexico produce new interpretations, alternative readings, and different angles of analysis that extend far beyond the theories of the new historical novel of the eighties and nineties, and well beyond the limits of the novel as re-creative genre.
Through a transformative interdisciplinary lens, this book studies the ultra-contemporary chronicles of Carlos Monsiváis, the poetry of Carmen Boullosa and Luis Felipe Fabre, and the novels of Enrique Serna, Héctor de Mauleón, Mónica Lavín, and Pablo Soler Frost, among others. The book also pays close attention to a good sample of recent children’s literature that revisit Mexico’s colonia. It includes the transatlantic perspective of Spanish novelist Inma Chacón, and a detailed analysis of the strategies employed by Laura Esquivel in the creation of a best seller. Other chapters are devoted to the study of transnational film productions, a play by Flavio González Mello, and a set of novels set in the nineteenth-century colonia that problematize static notions of both personal and national identity within specific cultural palimpsests. Taken together, these incisive readings open broader conversations about Mexican coloniality as it continues well into the twenty-first century.
When Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, Tony Hillerman’s oddly matched tribal police officers, patrol the mesas and canyons of their Navajo reservation, they join a rich traditon of Southwestern detectives. In Crime Fiction and Film in the Southwest, a group of literary critics tracks the mystery and crime novel from the Painted Desert to Death Valley and Salt Lake City. In addition, the book includes the first comprehensive bibliography of mysteries set in the Southwest and a chapter on Southwest film noir from Humphrey Bogart’s tough hood in The Petrified Forest to Russell Crowe’s hard-nosed cop in L.A. Confidential.
Damsels and Divas investigates the meanings of Europeanness in Hollywood during the 1920s by charting professional trajectories of three movie stars: Pola Negri, Vilma Bánky and Jetta Goudal. It combines the investigation of American fan magazines with the analysis of studio documents, and the examination of the narratives of their films, to develop a thorough understanding of the ways in which Negri, Bánky and Goudal were understood within the realm of their contemporary American culture. This discussion places their star personae in the context of whiteness, femininity and Americanization. Every age has its heroines, and they reveal a lot about prevailing attitudes towards women in their respective eras. In the United States, where the stories of rags-to-riches were especially potent, stars could offer models of successful cultural integration.
At the end of the Civil War, Union general William Tecumseh Sherman was surprisingly more popular in the newly defeated South than he was in the North. Yet, only thirty years later, his name was synonymous with evil and destruction in the South, particularly as the creator and enactor of the “total war” policy. In Demon of the Lost Cause, Wesley Moody examines these perplexing contradictions and how they and others function in past and present myths about Sherman.
Throughout this fascinating study of Sherman’s reputation, from his first public servant role as the major general for the state of California until his death in 1891, Moody explores why Sherman remains one of the most controversial figures in American history. Using contemporary newspaper accounts, Sherman’s letters and memoirs, as well as biographies of Sherman and histories of his times, Moody reveals that Sherman’s shifting reputation was formed by whoever controlled the message, whether it was the Lost Cause historians of the South, Sherman’s enemies in the North, or Sherman himself.
With his famous “March to the Sea” in Georgia, the general became known for inventing a brutal warfare where the conflict is brought to the civilian population. In fact, many of Sherman’s actions were official tactics to be employed when dealing with guerrilla forces, yet Sherman never put an end to the talk of his innovative tactics and even added to the stories himself. Sherman knew he had enemies in the Union army and within the Republican elite who could and would jeopardize his position for their own gain. In fact, these were the same people who spread the word that Sherman was a Southern sympathizer following the war, helping to place the general in the South’s good graces. That all changed, however, when the Lost Cause historians began formulating revisions to the Civil War, as Sherman’s actions were the perfect explanation for why the South had lost.
Demon of the Lost Cause reveals the machinations behind the Sherman myth and the reasons behind the acceptance of such myths, no matter who invented them. In the case of Sherman’s own mythmaking, Moody postulates that his motivation was to secure a military position to support his wife and children. For the other Sherman mythmakers, personal or political gain was typically the rationale behind the stories they told and believed. In tracing Sherman’s ever-changing reputation, Moody sheds light on current and past understanding of the Civil War through the lens of one of its most controversial figures.
Philippine cinema, the dream factory of the former U.S. colony, teems with American figures and plots. Local movies feature GIs seeking Filipina brides, cold war spies hunting down native warlords, and American-born Filipinos wandering in the parental homeland. The American landscape furnishes the settings for the triumphs and tragedies of Filipino nurses, GI babies, and migrant workers.
By tracking American fantasies in Philippine movies from the postindependence period to the present, José B. Capino offers an innovative account of cinema's cultural work in decolonization and globalization. Capino examines how a third world nation's daydreams both articulate empire and mobilize against it, provide imaginary maps and fables of identity for its migrant workers and diasporan subjects, pose challenges to the alibis of patriarchy and nationalism, and open up paths for participating in the cultures of globality.
Through close readings of more than twenty Philippine movies, Capino demonstrates the postcolonial imagination's vital role in generating pragmatic and utopian visions of living with empire. Illuminating an important but understudied cinema, he creates a model for understanding the U.S. image in the third world.
Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and space aliens like the Transformers share a surprising connection along with James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Rocky Balboa. These beloved icons played active roles in movie and television projects set in the state of Nevada. Long time state film commissioner and movie reviewer Holabird explores the blending of icons and Nevada, along with her personal experiences of watching movies, talking with famous people, and showing off a diverse range of stunning and iconic locations like Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Area 51.
Holabird shows how Nevada’s flash, flair, and fostering of the forbidden provided magic for singers, sexpots, and strange creatures from other worlds. She also gives readers an insider’s look into moviemaking in Nevada by drawing on her extensive experience as a film commissioner. This is a unique take on film history and culture, and Holabird explores eighteen film genres populated by one-of-a-kind characters with ties to Nevada. Along with being a film history of the state of Nevada written by a consummate insider, the book is a fun mixture of research, personal experiences, and analysis about how Nevada became the location of choice for a broad spectrum of well-known films and characters.
"Whereas some other scholars read selected films mainly to illustrate political arguments, Roan never loses sight of the particularities of film as a distinctive cultural form and practice. Her drive to see 'cinema as a mechanism of American orientalism' results in not just a textual analysis of these films, but also a history of their material production and distribution."
---Josephine Lee, University of Minnesota
"Envisioning Asia offers an exciting new contribution to our understandings of the historical developments of American Orientalism. Jeannette Roan deftly situates changing cinematic technologies within the context of U.S. imperial agendas in this richly nuanced analysis of 'shooting on location' in Asia in early 20th century American cinema."
---Wendy Kozol, Oberlin College
"Through her vivid illustration of the role of American cinema in the material, visual, and ideological production of Asia, Jeanette Roan takes the reader on a journey to Asia through a very different route from the virtual travel taken by the viewers of the films she discusses."
---Mari Yoshihara, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
The birth of cinema coincides with the beginnings of U.S. expansion overseas, and the classic Hollywood era coincides with the rise of the United States as a global superpower. In Envisioning Asia, Jeanette Roan argues that throughout this period, the cinema's function as a form of virtual travel, coupled with its purported "authenticity," served to advance America's shifting interests in Asia. Its ability to fulfill this imperial role depended, however, not only on the cinematic representations themselves but on the marketing of the films' production histories---and, in particular, their use of Asian locations. Roan demonstrates this point in relation to a wide range of productions, offering an engaging and useful survey of a largely neglected body of film. Not only that, by focusing on the material practices involved in shooting films on location---that is, the actual travels, negotiations, and labor of making a film---she moves beyond formal analysis to produce a richly detailed history of American interests, attitudes, and cultural practices during the first half of the twentieth century.
Jeanette Roan is Adjunct Professor of Visual Studies at California College of the Arts and author of "Exotic Explorations: Travels to Asia and the Pacific in Early Cinema" in Re/collecting Early Asian America: Essays in Cultural History (2002).
Cover art: Publicity still, Tokyo File 212 (Dorrell McGowan and Stuart McGowan, 1951). The accompanying text reads: "Hundreds of spectators gather on the sidelines as technicians prepare to photograph a parade scene in 'Tokyo File 212,' a Breakston-McGowan Production filmed in Japan for RKO Radio distribution." Courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Film and Genocide
Kristi M. Wilson University of Wisconsin Press, 2011 Library of Congress PN1995.9.H53F55 2012 | Dewey Decimal 791.43658405318
Film and Genocide brings together scholars of film and of genocide to discuss film representations, both fictional and documentary, of the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide, and genocides in Chile, Australia, Rwanda, and the United States. Since 1955, when Alain Resnais created his experimental documentary Night and Fog about the Nazis’ mass killings of Jews and other ostracized groups, filmmakers have struggled with using this medium to tell such difficult stories, to re-create the sociopolitical contexts of genocide, and to urge awareness and action among viewers. This volume looks at such issues as realism versus fiction, the challenge of depicting atrocities in a manner palatable to spectators and film distributors, the Holocaust film as a model for films about other genocides, and the role of new technologies in disseminating films about genocide. Film and Genocide also includes interviews with three film directors, who discuss their experiences in working with deeply disturbing images and bringing hidden stories to life: Irek Dobrowolski, director of The Portraitist (2005) a documentary about Wilhelm Brasse, an Auschwitz-Birkenau prisoner ordered to take more than 40,000 photos at the camp; Nick Hughes, director of 100 Days (2005) a dramatic film about the Rwandan mass killings; and Greg Barker, director of Ghosts of Rwanda (2004), a television documentary for Frontline.
Our movies have started talking back to us, and Film Nation takes a close look at what they have to say. In movies like JFK and Forrest Gump, Robert Burgoyne sees a filmic extension of the debates that exercise us as a nation--debates about race and culture and national identity, about the nature and makeup of American history.
In analyses of five films that challenge the traditional myths of the nation-state--Glory, Thunderheart, JFK, Born on the Fourth of July, and Forrest Gump--Burgoyne explores the reshaping of our collective imaginary in relation to our history. These movies, exploring the meaning of "nation" from below, highlight issues of power that underlie the narrative construction of nationhood. Film Nation exposes the fault lines between national myths and the historical experience of people typically excluded from those myths.
Throughout, Burgoyne demonstrates that these films, in their formal design, also preserve relics of the imaginary past they contest. Here we see how the "genre memory" of the western, the war film, and the melodrama shapes these films, creating a complex exchange between old concepts of history and the alternative narratives of historical experience that contemporary texts propose.
The first book to apply theories of nationalism and national identity to contemporary American films, Film Nation reveals the cinematic rewriting of history now taking place as a powerful attempt to rearticulate the cultural narratives that define America as a nation.
"The chief merit of Film Nation is that it outlines a study of an important but neglected period of American film--the 1980s--from a sophisticated historiographical perspective, a complex version of postmodernism and cultural studies. That is, it arises, conceptually speaking, from within the film studies orbit and takes advantage in a provocative, and in my view, compelling way, the resources and perspectives of contemporary critical theory more generally." Nick Brown
"Film Nation makes a real contribution to film studies by underscoring how much the 'war film' has been revived for the purpose of contemplating nationhood, and how, more implicitly, the idea of 'America' or even 'identity' has become increasingly problematic in the era of international democratic capitalism." Tom Conley
"A brilliant and elegant series of essays which demonstrate how the best contemporary historical films provide a powerful counternarrative to traditional history and help us to rethink the American past. Burgoyne's is by far the best book to date on the important relationship between American history and American film." Robert A. Rosenstone
Race and Nation in Glory
History vs. Folklore
Two Historical Trajectories
Racial Identity into National Identity
Native America, Thunderheart, and the National Imaginary
Reversing the Territorial Imaginary
The Western and the National Imaginary
The Western and its Tropes of Space and Nation
War and the Forging of Ethnic Community
National Identity, Gender Identity and the "Rescue Fantasy" in Born on the 4th of July
Melodrama and National Identity
The Critique of Masculinity as "Punitive Agency"
Imaging the Nation
Modernism and the Narrative of Nation in JFK
The Temporality of Trauma
The Imagined Community as Lost Object
Prosthetic Memory/National Memory: Forrest Gump
Memory and National Identity
Nation and Religion
Redefining the Sixties
Robert Burgoyne is professor of English and film studies at Wayne State University and is chair of the Department of English. He is the author of Bertolucci's 1900: A Narrative and Historical Analysis (1991) and coauthor, with Robert Stam and Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, of New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics (1992).
Events of the past decade have dramatically rewritten the American national narrative, bringing to light an alternate history of nation, marked since the country’s origins by competing geopolitical interests, by mobility and migration, and by contending ethnic and racial groups.
In this revised and expanded edition of Film Nation, Robert Burgoyne analyzes films that give shape to the counternarrative that has emerged since 9/11—one that challenges the traditional myths of the American nation-state. The films examined here, Burgoyne argues, reveal the hidden underlayers of nation, from the first interaction between Europeans and Native Americans (The New World), to the clash of ethnic groups in nineteenth-century New York (Gangs of New York), to the haunting persistence of war in the national imagination (Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima) and the impact of the events of 9/11 on American identity (United 93 and World Trade Center).
Film Nation provides innovative readings of attempts by such directors as Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, and Oliver Stone to visualize historical events that have acquired a mythical aura in order to open up the past to the contemporary moment.
In this interdisciplinary cultural history that encompasses film, literature, music, and drama, Inez Hedges follows the thread of the Faustian rebel in the major intellectual currents of the last hundred years. She presents Faust and his counterpart Mephistopheles as antagonistic— yet complementary— figures whose productive conflict was integral to such phenomena as the birth of narrative cinema, the rise of modernist avant-gardes before World War II, and feminist critiques of Western cultural traditions.
Framing Faust: Twentieth-Century Cultural Struggles pursues a dialectical approach to cultural history. Using the probing lens of cultural studies, Hedges shows how claims to the Faustian legacy permeated the struggle against Nazism in the 1930s while infusing not only the search for socialist utopias in Russia, France, and Germany, but also the quest for legitimacy on both sides of the Cold War divide after 1945.
Hedges balances new perspectives on such well-known works as Thomas Mann’ s Dr. Faustus and Jack Kerouac’ s Dr. Sax with discussions of previously overlooked twentieth-century expressions of the Faust myth, including American film noir and the Faust films of Stan Brakhage. She evaluates musical compositions— Hanns Eisler’ s Faust libretto, the opera Votre Faust by Henri Pousseur and Michel Butor, and Alfred Schnittke’ s Faust Cantata— as well as works of fiction and drama in French and German, many of which have heretofore never been discussed outside narrow disciplinary confines.
Enhanced by twenty-four illustrations, Framing Faust provides a fascinating and focused narrative of some of the major cultural struggles of the past century as seen through the Faustian prism, and establishes Faust as an important present-day frame of reference.
Hidden Chicano Cinema examines how New Mexico, situated within the boundaries of the United States, became a stand-in for the exotic non-western world that tourists, artists, scientists, and others sought to possess at the dawn of early filmmaking, a disposition stretching from the silent era to today as filmmakers screen their fantasies of what they wished the Southwest Borderlands to be.
The book highlights “film moments” in this region’s history including the “filmic turn” ushered in by Chicano/a filmmakers who created new ways to represent their community and region. A. Gabriel Meléndez narrates the drama, intrigue, and politics of these moments and accounts for the specific cinematic practices and the sociocultural detail that explains how the camera itself brought filmmakers and their subjects to unexpected encounters on and off the screen. Such films as Adventures in Kit Carson Land, The Rattlesnake, and Red Sky at Morning, among others, provide examples of movies that have both educated and misinformed us about a place that remains a “distant locale” in the mind of most film audiences.
Hollywood cinema and Los Angeles cannot be understood apart. Hollywood Cinema and the Real Los Angeles traces the interaction of the real city, its movie business, and filmed image, focusing on the crucial period from the construction of the first studios in the 1910s to the decline of the studio system fifty years later.
As Los Angeles gradually became one of the ten largest cities in the world, the film industry made key contributions to its rapid growth and frequent crises in economic, social, political and cultural life. Whether filmmakers engaged with the real city on location or recreated it on a studio set, Los Angeles shaped the films that were made there and circulated influentially worldwide. The book pays particular attention to early cinema, slapstick comedy, movies about the movies and film noir, which are each explored in new ways, with an emphasis on urban and architectural space and its representation, as well as filmmaking style and technique. Including many previously unpublished photographs and new historical evidence, Hollywood Cinema and the Real Los Angeles gives us a never-before-seen view of the City of Angels.
Hollywood Diplomacy contends that, rather than simply reflect the West’s cultural fantasies of an imagined “Orient,” images of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean ethnicities have long been contested sites where the commercial interests of Hollywood studios and the political mandates of U.S. foreign policy collide, compete against one another, and often become compromised in the process. While tracing both Hollywood’s internal foreign relations protocols—from the “Open Door” policy of the silent era to the “National Feelings” provision of the Production Code—and external regulatory interventions by the Chinese government, the U.S. State Department, the Office of War Information, and the Department of Defense, Hye Seung Chung reevaluates such American classics as Shanghai Express and The Great Dictator and applies historical insights to the controversies surrounding contemporary productions including Die Another Day and The Interview. This richly detailed book redefines the concept of “creative freedom” in the context of commerce: shifting focus away from the artistic entitlement to offend foreign audiences toward the opportunity to build new, better relationships with partners around the world through diplomatic representations of race, ethnicity, and nationality.
Hollywood’s Africa after 1994 investigates Hollywood’s colonial film legacy in the postapartheid era, and contemplates what has changed in the West’s representations of Africa. How do we read twenty-first-century projections of human rights issues—child soldiers, genocide, the exploitation of the poor by multinational corporations, dictatorial rule, truth and reconciliation—within the contexts of celebrity humanitarianism, “new” military humanitarianism, and Western support for regime change in Africa and beyond? A number of films after 1994, such as Black Hawk Down, Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond, The Last King of Scotland, The Constant Gardener, Shake Hands with the Devil, Tears of the Sun, and District 9, construct explicit and implicit arguments about the effects of Western intervention in Africa. Do the emphases on human rights in the films offer a poignant expression of our shared humanity? Do they echo the colonial tropes of former “civilizing missions?” Or do human rights violations operate as yet another mine of sensational images for Hollywood’s spectacular storytelling?
The volume provides analyses by academics and activists in the fields of African studies, English, film and media studies, international relations, and sociology across continents. This thoughtful and highly engaging book is a valuable resource for those who seek new and varied approaches to films about Africa.
Contributors Harry Garuba and Natasha Himmelman
Margaret R. Higonnet, with Ethel R. Higgonet
Joyce B. Ashuntantang
Kenneth W. Harrow
Clifford T. Manlove
Bennetta Jules-Rosette, J. R. Osborn, and Lea Marie Ruiz-Ade
Kimberly Nichele Brown
Whether presented as exotic fantasy, a strategic location during World War II, or a site combining postwar leisure with military culture, Hawaii and the South Pacific figure prominently in the U.S. national imagination. Hollywood’s Hawaii is the first full-length study of the film industry’s intense engagement with the Pacific region from 1898 to the present.
Delia Malia Caparoso Konzett highlights films that mirror the cultural and political climate of the country over more than a century—from the era of U.S. imperialism on through Jim Crow racial segregation, the attack on Pearl Harbor and WWII, the civil rights movement, the contemporary articulation of consumer and leisure culture, as well as the buildup of the modern military industrial complex. Focusing on important cultural questions pertaining to race, nationhood, and war, Konzett offers a unique view of Hollywood film history produced about the national periphery for mainland U.S. audiences. Hollywood’s Hawaii presents a history of cinema that examines Hawaii and the Pacific and its representations in film in the context of colonialism, war, Orientalism, occupation, military buildup, and entertainment.
Why do early films present the Netherlands as a country full of canals and windmills, where people wear traditional costumes and wooden shoes, while industries and modern urban life are all but absent? Images of Dutchness investigates the roots of this visual repertoire from diverse sources, ranging from magazines to tourist brochures, from anthropological treatises to advertising trade cards, stereoscopic photographs, picture postcards, magic lantern slide sets and films of early cinema.This richly illustrated book provides an in-depth study of the fascinating corpus of popular visual media and their written comments that are studied for the first time. Through the combined analysis of words and images, the author identifies not only what has been considered Ÿtypically DutchŒ in the long nineteenth century, but also provides new insights into the logic and emergence of national clichés in the Western world.
The German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II left a lasting mark on Dutch memory and culture. This book is the first to explore depictions of that period in films made a generation later, between 1962 and 1986. As Dutch public opinion towards the war altered over the postwar decades, the historical trajectory of Dutch recovery and reconstruction-political, economic, and, most complicated of all, psychological-came to be revealed, often unconsciously, in the films of the period.
Fascism and the Second World War left Italy indelibly changed, and cinema was arguably the art that most rigorously confronted the devastated nation. In this examination of four Italian filmmakers, Noa Steimatsky brilliantly maps their forceful negotiation of Italy’s identity and posits that the cinematic forms they employ constitute an imaginary reinhabiting of Italy-one that is inextricably linked with the political, physical, and symbolic predicament of reconstruction.
A dynamic intersection of pictorial and photographic, architectural and literary discourses inform Steimatsky’s revisionist interrogation of exemplary works from the 1940s to the mid–1960s. From the earliest documentary work of Michelangelo Antonioni on the River Po to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s re-siting of the Gospel in the arid, peripheral landscape of the Italian south, and from Roberto Rossellini’s tracing of a neorealist project in ruinous Berlin to Luchino Visconti’s wrought grandeur visited upon a humble Sicilian fishing village, Italian Locations probes the historical experience of displacement, anachronism, and a thoroughly contemporary anxiety in the cinematic arena.
For Steimatsky, Antonioni’s modernist achievement, informed by his native landscape, Rossellini’s neorealist image of Italy as a nation of ruins, Visconti’s reaching back to the nineteenth century and even more archaic pasts, and Pasolini’s ambivalence about modernity-all partake in a search for a politically and culturally redeemed Italy.
Noa Steimatsky is associate professor of the history of art and film studies at Yale University.
The recent history of cultural exchange between France and the United States would appear to be defined by “freedom fries” and boycotts against Beaujolais—or, on the other side of the Atlantic, by enraged farmers toppling statues of Ronald McDonald. But this dismal state of affairs is a long way from the mutual admiration that followed World War II, epitomized in a 1958 cover of Look magazine that declared “Brigitte Bardot conquers America.” It’s So French! explores the close affinity between the French and American film industries that flourished in the postwar years, breaking down myths of American imperialism and French cultural protectionism while illuminating the vital role that cinema has played in the globalization of culture.
Hollywood was once enamored with everything French and this infatuation blossomed in a wildly popular series of films including An American in Paris, Gigi,and Funny Face. Schwartz here examines the visual appeal of such films, and then broadens her analysis to explore their production and distribution, probing the profitable influences that Hollywood and Paris exerted on each other. This exchange moved beyond individual films with the sensational spectacle of the Cannes Film Festival and the meteoric career of Brigitte Bardot. And in turn, their success led to a new kind of film that celebrated internationalism and cultural hybridity. Ultimately, Schwartz uncovers an intriguing paradox: that the road to globalization was paved with nationalist clichés, and thus, films beloved for being so French were in fact the first signs of a nascent cosmopolitan culture.
Packed with an array of colorful film stills, publicity photographs, paparazzi shots, ads, and never before seen archival images, It’s So French! is an incisive account of the fertile collaboration between France and the United States that expanded the geographic horizons of both filmmaking and filmgoing, forever changing what the world saw and dreamed of when they went to the movies.
L.A. Private Eyes
Dahlia Schweitzer Rutgers University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS374.D4S394 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.087209979494
L.A. Private Eyes examines the tradition of the private eye as it evolves in films, books, and television shows set in Los Angeles from the 1930’s through the present day. It takes a closer look at narratives—both on screen and on the printed page—in which detectives travel the streets of Los Angeles, uncovering corruption, moral ambiguity, and greed with the conviction of urban cowboys, while always ultimately finding truth and redemption. With a review of Los Angeles history, crime stories, and film noir, L.A. Private Eyes explores the metamorphosis of the solitary detective figure and the many facets of the genre itself, from noir to mystery, on the screen. While the conventions of the genre may have remained consistent and recognizable, the points where they evolve illuminate much about our changing gender and power roles.
Unlike the more forthrightly mythic origins of other urban centers—think Rome via Romulus and Remus or Mexico City via the god Huitzilopochtli—Los Angeles emerged from a smoke-and-mirrors process that is simultaneously literal and figurative, real and imagined, material and metaphorical, physical and textual. Through penetrating analysis and personal engagement, Vincent Brook uncovers the many portraits of this ever-enticing, ever-ambivalent, and increasingly multicultural megalopolis. Divided into sections that probe Los Angeles’s checkered history and reflect on Hollywood’s own self-reflections, the book shows how the city, despite considerable remaining challenges, is finally blowing away some of the smoke of its not always proud past and rhetorically adjusting its rear-view mirrors.
Part I is a review of the city’s history through the early 1900s, focusing on the seminal 1884 novel Ramona and its immediate effect, but also exploring its ongoing impact through interviews with present-day Tongva Indians, attendance at the 88th annual Ramona pageant, and analysis of its feature film adaptations.
Brook deals with Hollywood as geographical site, film production center, and frame of mind in Part II. He charts the events leading up to Hollywood’s emergence as the world’s movie capital and explores subsequent developments of the film industry from its golden age through the so-called New Hollywood, citing such self-reflexive films as Sunset Blvd.,Singin’ in the Rain, and The Truman Show.
Part III considers LA noir, a subset of film noir that emerged alongside the classical noir cycle in the 1940s and 1950s and continues today. The city’s status as a privileged noir site is analyzed in relation to its history and through discussions of such key LA noir novels and films as Double Indemnity, Chinatown, and Crash.
In Part IV, Brook examines multicultural Los Angeles. Using media texts as signposts, he maps the history and contemporary situation of the city’s major ethno-racial and other minority groups, looking at such films as Mi Familia (Latinos), Boyz N the Hood (African Americans), Charlotte Sometimes (Asians), Falling Down (Whites), and The Kids Are All Right (LGBT).
Los Angeles has long been a place where cultures clash and reshape. The city has a growing number of Latina/o authors and filmmakers who are remapping and reclaiming it through ongoing symbolic appropriation. In this illuminating book, Ignacio López-Calvo foregrounds the emotional experiences of authors, implicit authors, narrators, characters, and readers in order to demonstrate that the evolution of the imaging of Los Angeles in Latino cultural production is closely related to the politics of spatial location. This spatial-temporal approach, he writes, reveals significant social anxieties, repressed rage, and deep racial guilt.
Latino Los Angeles in Film and Fiction sets out to reconfigure the scope of Latino literary and cultural studies. Integrating histories of different regions and nations, the book sets the interplay of unresolved contradictions in this particular metropolitan area. The novelists studied here stem from multiple areas, including the U.S. Southwest, Guatemala, and Chile. The study also incorporates non-Latino writers who have contributed to the Latino culture of the city.
The first chapter examines Latino cultural production from an ecocritical perspective on urban interethnic relations. Chapter 2 concentrates on the representation of daily life in the barrio and the marginalization of Latino urban youth. The third chapter explores the space of women and how female characters expand their area of operations from the domestic space to the public space of both the barrio and the city.
A much-needed contribution to the fields of urban theory, race critical theory, Chicana/o–Latina/o studies, and Los Angeles writing and film, López-Calvo offers multiple theoretical perspectives—including urban theory, ecocriticism, ethnic studies, gender studies, and cultural studies—contextualized with notions of transnationalism and post-nationalism.
In recent years, the media landscape in the United States has followed a pattern similar to that of the physical landscape by becoming increasingly suburbanized. Although it is a far cry from reality, the fantasy of a perfect suburban life still exists in the collective imagination of millions of Americans. This dream of suburban perfection is built around a variety of such ideologically conservative values and ideals as the importance of tradition, the centrality of the nuclear family, the desire for a community of like-minded neighbors, the need for clearly defined gender roles, and the belief that with hard work and determination, anyone can succeed.
Building on the relationships between suburban life and American identity, Look Closer examines and interprets recent narratives that challenge the suburban ideal to reveal how directors and producers are mobilizing the spaces of suburbia to tell new kinds of stories about America. David R. Coon argues that the myth of suburban perfection, popularized by postwar sitcoms and advertisements, continues to symbolize a range of intensely debated issues related to tradition, family, gender, race, and citizenship. Through close examinations of such films as American Beauty, The Truman Show, and Mr. & Mrs. Smith as well as such television series as Desperate Housewives, Weeds, and Big Love, the book demonstrates how suburbia is used to critique the ideologies that underpin the suburban American Dream.
Making a Promised Land examines the interconnected histories of African American representation, urban life, and citizenship as documented in still and moving images of Harlem over the last century. Paula J. Massood analyzes how photography and film have been used over time to make African American culture visible to itself and to a wider audience and charts the ways in which the “Mecca of the New Negro” became a battleground in the struggle to define American politics, aesthetics, and citizenship. Visual media were first used as tools for uplift and education. With Harlem’s downturn in fortunes through the 1930s, narratives of black urban criminality became common in sociological tracts, photojournalism, and film. These narratives were particularly embodied in the gangster film, which was adapted to include stories of achievement, economic success, and, later in the century, a nostalgic return to the past. Among the films discussed are Fights of Nations (1907), Dark Manhattan (1937), The Cool World (1963), Black Caesar (1974), Malcolm X (1992), and American Gangster (2007). Massood asserts that the history of photography and film in Harlem provides the keys to understanding the neighborhood’s symbolic resonance in African American and American life, especially in light of recent urban redevelopment that has redefined many of its physical and demographic contours.
Inspired by the spatial turn in the humanities and social sciences, Mapping Warsaw is an interdisciplinary study that combines urban studies, cinema studies, cultural studies, history, literature, and photography. It examines Warsaw's post-World War II reconstruction through images and language.
Juxtaposing close readings of photo books, socialist-era newsreels called the Polska Kronika Filmowa, the comedies of Leonard Buczkowski and Jan Fethke, the writing and films of Tadeusz Konwicki, and a case study on the Palace of Culture and Science—a "gift" from none other than Stalin—this study investigates the rhetorical and visual, rather than physical, reconstruction of Warsaw in various medias and genres.
Ewa Wampuszyc roots her analysis in the historical context of the postwar decade and shows how and why Poland's capital became an essential part of a propaganda program inspired by communist ideology and the needs of a newly established socialist People's Republic. Mapping Warsaw demonstrates how physical space manifests itself in culture, and how culture, history, and politics leave an indelible mark on places. It points out ways in which we take for granted our perception of space and the meanings we assign to it.
Memories Of Underdevelopment
Chanan, Michael Rutgers University Press, 1990 Library of Congress PN1997.M434513 1990 | Dewey Decimal 791.4372
Memories of Underdevelopment was the first great international success of Cuban cinema. The film provides a complex portrait of Sergio, a disaffected bourgeois intellectual who remains in Havana after the Revolution, suspended between two worlds. He can no longer accept the values of his family's reactionary past and yet boredom and the conditioning of his early life prevent him from committing himself to the new revolutionary society. Sergio's story is played out in the turbulent period of the Bay of Pigs invasion and the 1962 missile crisis, events he can only watch on his television screen or from his apartment balcony.The film, initially banned by the U.S. government as part of its trade quarantine of Cuba, was shown here five years after its original release. But American critics responded enthusiastically to it and the National Society of Film Critics bestowed an award on its director.
This double volume includes the complete continuity script of Memories, as well as the complete novel, Inconsolable Memories, upon which the film is based. An interview with Alea is reproduced here, as well as documentation of the political controversy that surrounded the film in this country. Michael Chanan's introduction places the film in the context of Cuban political and cultural history. The volume also includes a biographical sketch of Alea, a chronology of the Cuban Revolution, reviews, commentary, a filmography, and a bibliography.Michael Chanan lives in England, where he teaches and writes on film. He is the author of The Cuban Image: Cinema and Cultural Politics in Cuba.
What remains of the “national” when the nation unravels at the birth of the independent state? The political truncation of India at the end of British colonial rule in 1947 led to a social cataclysm in which roughly one million people died and ten to twelve million were displaced. Combining film studies, trauma theory, and South Asian cultural history, Bhaskar Sarkar follows the shifting traces of this event in Indian cinema over the next six decades. He argues that Partition remains a wound in the collective psyche of South Asia and that its representation on screen enables forms of historical engagement that are largely opaque to standard historiography.
Sarkar tracks the initial reticence to engage with the trauma of 1947 and the subsequent emergence of a strong Partition discourse, revealing both the silence and the eventual “return of the repressed” as strands of one complex process. Connecting the relative silence of the early decades after Partition to a project of postcolonial nation-building and to trauma’s disjunctive temporal structure, Sarkar develops an allegorical reading of the silence as a form of mourning. He relates the proliferation of explicit Partition narratives in films made since the mid-1980s to disillusionment with post-independence achievements, and he discusses how current cinematic memorializations of 1947 are influenced by economic liberalization and the rise of a Hindu-chauvinist nationalism. Traversing Hindi and Bengali commercial cinema, art cinema, and television, Sarkar provides a history of Indian cinema that interrogates the national (a central category organizing cinema studies) and participates in a wider process of mourning the modernist promises of the nation form.
From its Broadway debut to the Oscar-winning film to countless amateur productions, West Side Story is nothing less than an American touchstone—an updating of Shakespeare vividly realized in a rapidly changing postwar New York.
That vision of postwar New York is at the heart of Julia L. Foulkes’s A Place for Us. A lifelong fan of the show, Foulkes became interested in its history when she made an unexpected discovery: scenes for the iconic film version were shot on the demolition site destined to become part of the Lincoln Center redevelopment area—a crowning jewel of postwar urban renewal. Foulkes interweaves the story of the creation of the musical and film with the remaking of the Upper West Side and the larger tale of New York’s postwar aspirations. Making unprecedented use of director and choreographer Jerome Robbins’s revelatory papers, she shows the crucial role played by the political commitments of Robbins and his fellow gay, Jewish collaborators, Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents. Their determination to evoke life in New York as it was actually lived helped give West Side Story its unshakable sense of place even as it put forward a vision of a new, vigorous, determinedly multicultural American city.
Beautifully written and full of surprises for even the most dedicated West Side Story fan, A Place for Us is a revelatory new exploration of an American classic.
Projecting the Nation: History and Ideology on the Israeli Screen is a wide-ranging history of over seven decades of Israeli cinema. The only book in English to offer this type of historical scope was Ella Shohat’s Israeli Cinema: East West and the Politics of Representation from 1989. Since 1989, however, Israeli cinema and Israeli society have undergone some crucial transformations and, moreover, Shohat’s book offered a single framework through which to judge Israeli cinema: a critique of orientalism. Projecting the Nation contends that Israeli cinema offers much richer historical and ideological perspectives that expose the complexity of the Israeli project. By analyzing Israeli films which address such issues as the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi divide, the kibbutz and urban life, the rise of religion in Israeli public life and more, the book explores the way cinema has represented and also shaped our understanding of the history of modern Israel as it evolved from a collectivist society to a society where individualism and adherence to local identities is the dominant ideology.
Treatments of religion found in Spanish cinema range from the pious to the anticlerical and atheistic, and every position in between. In a nation with a strong Catholic tradition, resistance to and rebellion against religious norms go back almost as far as the notion of “Sacred Spain.” Religion and Spanish Film provides a sustained study of the religious film genre in Spain practiced by mainstream Francoist film makers, the evolving iconoclasm, parody, and reinvention of the Catholic by internationally renowned Surrealist Luis Buñuel, and the ongoing battle of the secular versus the religious manifested in critically and popularly acclaimed directors Pedro Almodóvar, Julio Medem, Alejandro Amenábar, and many others. The conflicted Catholicism that emerges from examining religious themes in Spanish film history shows no sign of ending, as unresolved issues from the Civil War and Franco dictatorship, as well as the unsettled relationship between Church and State, continue into the present.
The charismatic Alexander the Great of Macedon (356–323 B.C.E.) was one of the most successful military commanders in history, conquering Asia Minor, Egypt, Persia, central Asia, and the lands beyond as far as Pakistan and India. Alexander has been, over the course of two millennia since his death at the age of thirty-two, the central figure in histories, legends, songs, novels, biographies, and, most recently, films. In 2004 director Oliver Stone’s epic film Alexander generated a renewed interest in Alexander the Great and his companions, surroundings, and accomplishments, but the critical response to the film offers a fascinating lesson in the contentious dialogue between historiography and modern entertainment.
This volume brings together an intriguing mix of leading scholars in Macedonian and Greek history, Persian culture, film studies, classical literature, and archaeology—including some who were advisors for the film—and includes an afterword by Oliver Stone discussing the challenges he faced in putting Alexander’s life on the big screen. The contributors scrutinize Stone’s project from its inception and design to its production and reception, considering such questions as: Can a film about Alexander (and similar figures from history) be both entertaining and historically sound? How do the goals of screenwriters and directors differ from those of historians? How do Alexander’s personal relationships—with his mother Olympias, his wife Roxane, his lover Hephaistion, and others—affect modern perceptions of Alexander? Several of the contributors also explore reasons behind the film’s tepid response at the box office and subsequent controversies.
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.
Louise M. Pryke Reaktion Books, 2016 Library of Congress QL458.7.P79 2016 | Dewey Decimal 595.46
No creature has quite the sting in our mythology and folklore as the scorpion. From the dawn of human civilization they have been a dangerous figure in our imaginations—poisonous, precise, and deadly quiet—but as Louise M. Pryke shows in this book, their bad reputation has overshadowed many exceptional qualities. Scurrying across hundreds of millions of years and across every continent except Antarctica, this book gives the scorpion its due as one of nature’s longest lasting survivors.
Indeed scorpions are older than dinosaurs. An ancient arthropod, their form—notable for its pair of pincers and an elegant tail that holds a menacing stinger high in the air in a permanent striking position—hasn’t changed since prehistoric times, though today there are some 1700 different species. Throughout our existence scorpions have served as a powerful cultural and religious symbol—sometimes dangerous, sometimes protecting—from the Egyptian goddess Serket to Zodiac astrology to folk medicine. A fascinating tour that takes us from the art of North Africa to the American Civil War to the markets of Beijing, Scorpion is an homage to one of earth’s oldest residents.
Winner of The 2019 Waclaw Lednicki Humanities Award
Screening Auschwitz examines the classic Polish Holocaust film The Last Stage (Ostatni etap), directed by the Auschwitz survivor Wanda Jakubowska (1907–1998). Released in 1948, The Last Stage was a pioneering work and the first narrative film to portray the Nazi concentration and extermination camp complex of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Marek Haltof’s fascinating book offers English-speaking readers a wealth of new materials, mostly from original Polish sources obtained through extensive archival research.
With its powerful dramatization of the camp experience, The Last Stage established several quasi-documentary themes easily discernible in later film narratives of the Shoah: dark, realistic images of the camp, a passionate moral appeal, and clear divisions between victims and perpetrators. Jakubowska’s film introduced images that are now archetypal—for example, morning and evening roll calls on the Appelplatz, the arrival of transport trains at Birkenau, the separation of families upon arrival, and tracking shots over the belongings left behind by those who were gassed. These and other images are taken up by a number of subsequent American films, including George Stevens’s The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), Alan Pakula’s Sophie’s Choice (1982), and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993).
Haltof discusses the unusual circumstances that surrounded the film's production on location at Auschwitz-Birkenau and summarizes critical debates surrounding the film’s release. The book offers much of interest to film historians and readers interested in the Holocaust.
From experimental shorts and web series to Hollywood blockbusters and feminist porn, the work of African American lesbian filmmakers has made a powerful contribution to film history. But despite its importance, this work has gone largely unacknowledged by cinema historians and cultural critics. Assembling a range of interviews, essays, and conversations, Sisters in the Life tells a full story of African American lesbian media-making spanning three decades. In essays on filmmakers including Angela Robinson, Tina Mabry and Dee Rees; on the making of Cheryl Dunye's The Watermelon Woman (1996); and in interviews with Coquie Hughes, Pamela Jennings, and others, the contributors center the voices of black lesbian media makers while underscoring their artistic influence and reach as well as the communities that support them. Sisters in the Life marks a crucial first step in narrating the history and importance of these compelling yet unsung artists.
Contributors. Jennifer DeVere Brody, Jennifer DeClue, Raul Ferrera-Balanquet, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Thomas Allen Harris, Devorah Heitner, Pamela L. Jennings, Alexandra Juhasz, Kara Keeling, Candace Moore, Marlon Moore, Michelle Parkerson, Roya Rastegar, L. H. Stallings, Yvonne Welbon, Patricia White, Karin D. Wimbley
A sweeping account of one of the cultural centers of Latin America, Specular City tells the history of Buenos Aires during the interregnum after Juan Perón's fall from power and before his restoration. During those two decades, the city experienced a rapid metamorphosis at the behest of its middle class citizens, who were eager to cast off the working-class imprint left by the Perónists. Laura Podalsky discusses the ways in which the proliferation of skyscrapers, the emergence of car culture, and the diffusion of an emerging revolution in the arts helped transform Buenos Aires, and, in so doing, redefine Argentine collective history.More than a cultural and material history of this city, this book also presents Buenos Aires as a crucible for urban life. Examining its structures through films, literatures, new magazines, advertising and architecture, Specular City reveals the prominent place of Buenos Aires in the massive changes that Latin America underwent for a new, modern definition of itself.
John David Rhodes places the city of Rome at the center of this original and in-depth examination of the work of Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini—but it’s not the classical Rome you imagine. Stupendous, Miserable City situates Pasolini within the history of twentieth-century Roman urban development. The book focuses first on the Fascist period, when populations were moved out of the urban center and into public housing on the periphery of the city, called the borgate, and then turns to the progressive social housing experiments of the 1950s. These environments were the settings of most of Pasolini’s films of the early to mid-1960s.
Discussing films such as Accattone, Mamma Roma, and The Hawks and the Sparrows, Rhodes shows how Pasolini used the borgate to critique Roman urban planning and neorealism and to draw attention to the contemptuous treatment of Rome’s poor. To Pasolini, the borgate, rich in human incident, linguistic difference, and squalor, “were life”—and now his passion can be appreciated fully for the first time.
Carefully tracing Pasolini’s surprising engagement with this part of Rome and looking beyond his films to explore the interrelatedness of all of Pasolini’s artistic output in the 1950s and 1960s—including his poetry, fiction, and journalism—Rhodes opens up completely new ways of understanding Pasolini’s work and proves how connected Pasolini was to the political and social upheavals in Italy at the time.
John David Rhodes is lecturer in literature and visual culture at the University of Sussex.
As sites of continual change and transformation, cities are fundamentally forgetful places. Yet at the same time, urban areas are also homes to museums and archives that collect and exhibit the past-a key cultural, political, and economic activity. This book looks at that paradox through the example of Berlin to see how the city has responded to challenges to memory created by rapid changes in politics, economics, society, and the built environment, ultimately arguing that the recovery of the experience of time is central to the practices of an emergent memory culture in the contemporary city.
Vienna, with its stunning architecture and unforgettable streetscape, has long provided a backdrop for filmmakers. Visions of Vienna offers a close look at how directors such as Erich von Stroheim, Ernst Lubitsch, and Max Ophüls made use of the city, and how the nostalgic glorification of the Habsburg era can be seen as directly tied to crucial issues of modernity. Films set in Vienna, Alexandra Seibel shows, persistently articulate the experience of displacement due to emigration, changing gender relations and anti-feminism, class distinction, and anti-Semitism, themes that run counter to the ongoing mystification of Vienna as the incarnation of "waltz dreams" and schmaltz.
In Visual Occupations Gil Z. Hochberg shows how the Israeli Occupation of Palestine is driven by the unequal access to visual rights, or the right to control what can be seen, how, and from which position. Israel maintains this unequal balance by erasing the history and denying the existence of Palestinians, and by carefully concealing its own militarization. Israeli surveillance of Palestinians, combined with the militarized gaze of Israeli soldiers at places like roadside checkpoints, also serve as tools of dominance. Hochberg analyzes various works by Palestinian and Israeli artists, among them Elia Suleiman, Rula Halawani, Sharif Waked, Ari Folman, and Larry Abramson, whose films, art, and photography challenge the inequity of visual rights by altering, queering, and manipulating dominant modes of representing the conflict. These artists' creation of new ways of seeing—such as the refusal of Palestinian filmmakers and photographers to show Palestinian suffering or the Israeli artists' exposure of state manipulated Israeli blindness —offers a crucial gateway, Hochberg suggests, for overcoming and undoing Israel's militarized dominance and political oppression of Palestinians.
In Where Histories Reside Priya Jaikumar examines eight decades of films shot on location in India to show how attending to filmed space reveals alternative timelines and histories of cinema. In this bold “spatial” film historiography, Jaikumar outlines factors that shape India's filmed space, from state bureaucracies and commercial infrastructures to aesthetic styles and neoliberal policies. Whether discussing how educational shorts from Britain and India transform natural landscapes into instructional lessons or how Jean Renoir’s The River (1951) presents a universal human condition through the particularities of place, Jaikumar demonstrates that the history of filming a location has always been a history of competing assumptions, experiences, practices, and representational regimes. In so doing, she reveals that addressing the persistent question of “what is cinema?” must account for an aesthetics and politics of space.
Yellow Future examines the emergence and popularity of techno-oriental representations in Hollywood cinema since the 1980s, focusing on the ways East Asian peoples and places have become linked with technology to produce a collective fantasy of East Asia as the future. Jane Chi Hyun Park demonstrates how this fantasy is sustained through imagery, iconography, and performance that conflate East Asia with technology, constituting what Park calls oriental style.
Park provides a genealogy of oriental style through contextualized readings of popular films-from the multicultural city in Blade Runner and the Japanese American mentor in The Karate Kid to the Afro-Asian reworking of the buddy genre in Rush Hour and the mixed-race hero in The Matrix. Throughout these analyses Park shows how references to the Orient have marked important changes in American popular attitudes toward East Asia in the past thirty years, from abjection to celebration, invisibility to hypervisibility.
Unlike other investigations of racial imagery in Hollywood, Yellow Future centers on how the Asiatic is transformed into and performed as style in the backdrop of these movies and discusses the significance of this conditional visibility for representations of racial difference.