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.
Historians investigate the relationships between film, culture, and energy.
American Energy Cinema explores how Hollywood movies have portrayed energy from the early film era to the present. Looking at classics like Giant, Silkwood, There Will Be Blood, and Matewan, and at quirkier fare like A Is for Atom and Convoy, it argues that films have both reflected existing beliefs and conjured new visions for Americans about the role of energy in their lives and their history.
The essays in this collection show how film provides a unique and informative lens to understand perceptions of energy production, consumption, and infrastructure networks. By placing films that prominently feature energy within historical context and analyzing them as historical objects, the contributing authors demonstrate how energy systems of all kinds are both integral to the daily life of Americans and inextricable from larger societal changes and global politics.
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).
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.
Black Panther was the first Black superhero in mainstream American comics. Black Panther was a cultural phenomenon that broke box office records. Yet it wasn’t just a movie led by and starring Black artists. It grappled with ideas and conflicts central to Black life in America and helped redress the racial dynamics of the Hollywood blockbuster.
Scott Bukatman, one of the foremost scholars of superheroes and cinematic spectacle, brings his impeccable pedigree to this lively and accessible study, finding in the utopianism of Black Panther a way of re-envisioning what a superhero movie can and should be while centering the Black creators, performers, and issues behind it. He considers the superheroic Black body; the Pan-African fantasy, feminism, and Afrofuturism of Wakanda; the African American relationship to Africa; the political influence of director Ryan Coogler’s earlier movies; and the entwined performances of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa and Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger. Bukatman argues that Black Panther is escapism of the best kind, offering a fantasy of liberation and social justice while demonstrating the power of popular culture to articulate ideals and raise vital questions.
The southern frontier is one of the most emotionally charged zones in the United States, second only to its historical predecessor and partner, the western frontier. Though they span many genres, border films share common themes, trace the mood swings of public policy, and shape our cultural agenda.
In this examination, Camilla Fojas studies how major Hollywood films exploit the border between Mexico and the United States to tell a story about U.S. dominance in the American hemisphere. She charts the shift from the mythos of the open western frontier to that of the embattled southern frontier by offering in-depth analyses of particular border films, from post-World War II Westerns to drug-trafficking films to contemporary Latino/a cinema, within their historical and political contexts.
Fojas argues that Hollywood border films do important social work by offering a cinematic space through which viewers can manage traumatic and undesirable histories and ultimately reaffirm core "American" values. At the same time, these border narratives delineate opposing values and ideas.
Latino border films offer a critical vantage onto these topics; they challenge the presumptions of U.S. nationalism and subsequent cultural attitudes about immigrants and immigration, and often critically reconstruct their Hollywood kin.
By analyzing films such as Duel in the Sun, The Wild Bunch, El Norte, The Border, Traffic, and Brokeback Mountain, Fojas demands that we reexamine the powerful mythology of the Hollywood borderlands. This detailed scrutiny recognizes that these films are part of a national narrative comprised of many texts and symbols that create the myth of the United States as capital of the Americas.
The “southern” – as much a Hollywood genre as the “western” – is the subject of The Celluloid South. For decades the film industry, to provide profit-making entertainment, offered the public movies that neither raised difficult issues nor offended a majority of the ticket-buyers. As a result, Hollywood romanticized the south, particularly the antebellum era, in hundreds of films like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Gone With the Wind, Birth of a Nation, and Jezebel. During the 1920’s and especially the Depression, the “moonlight and magnolia” romances increased to such an extent that Hollywood has been struggling since the late forties to rid films of the traditional images of the “southern.”
In his exploration of the “southern,” Edward D.C. Campbell, Jr. examines the film plots and images – their social, literary, and historical origins, and their impact on the creation of a popular mythology of the south. The unrealistic but seemingly harmless characterizations of a planter society, and agricultural economy, and especially slavery have hindered the region’s self-assessment and warped the nation’s perspective on race.
Campbell looks beyond the productions themselves, however, to advertising techniques and the reactions of the viewers and reviewers in his examination of the “southern,” its popularity and its decline, and its influence of the public’s conception of history, contemporary conditions, and black/white relations.
The Celluloid South is not a study of film per se, but of film as a reflection of society and the ramifications inherent in popular entertainment. Readers interested in southern history, popular culture, or cinema studies, as well as movie fans, will find The Celluloid South a fascinating look at Hollywood’s development of the southern myth. Thirty-one film stills illustrate the text.
Since the late nineteenth century, Brazilians have turned to documentaries to explain their country to themselves and to the world. In a magisterial history covering one hundred years of cinema, Darlene J. Sadlier identifies Brazilians’ unique contributions to a diverse genre while exploring how that genre has, in turn, contributed to the making and remaking of Brazil.
A Century of Brazilian Documentary Film is a comprehensive tour of feature and short films that have charted the social and political story of modern Brazil. The Amazon appears repeatedly and vividly. Sometimes—as in a prize-winning 1922 feature—the rainforest is a galvanizing site of national pride; at other times, the Amazon has been a focus for land-reform and Indigenous-rights activists. Other key documentary themes include Brazil’s swings from democracy to dictatorship, tensions between cosmopolitanism and rurality, and shifting attitudes toward race and gender. Sadlier also provides critical perspectives on aesthetics and media technology, exploring how documentaries inspired dramatic depictions of poverty and migration in the country’s Northeast and examining Brazilians’ participation in streaming platforms that have suddenly democratized filmmaking.
What’s your impression of the CIA? A bumbling agency that can’t protect its own spies? A rogue organization prone to covert operations and assassinations? Or a dedicated public service that advances the interests of the United States? Astute TV and movie viewers may have noticed that the CIA’s image in popular media has spanned this entire range, with a decided shift to more positive portrayals in recent years. But what very few people know is that the Central Intelligence Agency has been actively engaged in shaping the content of film and television, especially since it established an entertainment industry liaison program in the mid-1990s.
The CIA in Hollywood offers the first full-scale investigation of the relationship between the Agency and the film and television industries. Tricia Jenkins draws on numerous interviews with the CIA’s public affairs staff, operations officers, and historians, as well as with Hollywood technical consultants, producers, and screenwriters who have worked with the Agency, to uncover the nature of the CIA’s role in Hollywood. In particular, she delves into the Agency’s and its officers’ involvement in the production of The Agency, In the Company of Spies, Alias, The Recruit, The Sum of All Fears, Enemy of the State, Syriana, The Good Shepherd, and more. Her research reveals the significant influence that the CIA now wields in Hollywood and raises important and troubling questions about the ethics and legality of a government agency using popular media to manipulate its public image.
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.
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.
As part of its effort to forge a new secular Jewish nation, the nascent Israeli state tried to limit Jewish religiosity. However, with the steady growth of the ultraorthodox community and the expansion of the settler community, Israeli society is becoming increasingly religious. Although the arrival of religious discourse in Israeli politics has long been noticed, its cultural development has rarely been addressed. Directed by God explores how the country’s popular media, principally film and television, reflect this transformation. In doing so, it examines the changing nature of Zionism and the place of Judaism within it.
Once the purview of secular culture, Israel’s media initially promoted alternatives to traditional religious expression; however, using films such as Kadosh, Waltz with Bashir, and Eyes Wide Open, Yaron Peleg shows how Israel’s contemporary film and television programs have been shaped by new religious trends and how secular Israeli culture has processed and reflected on its religious heritage. He investigates how shifting cinematic visions of Jewish masculinity and gender track transformations in the nation’s religious discourse. Moving beyond the secular/religious divide, Directed by God explores changing film and television representations of different Jewish religious groups, assessing what these representations may mean for the future of Israeli society.
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.
Ethical Encounters is an exploration of the intersection of feminism, human rights, and memory to illuminate how visual practices of recollecting violent legacies in Bangladeshi cinema can conjure a global cinematic imagination for the advancement of humanity.
By examining contemporary, women-centered Muktijuddho cinema—features and documentaries that focus on the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971—Elora Chowdhury shows how these films imagine, disrupt, and reinscribe a gendered nationalist landscape of trauma, freedom, and agency. Chowdhury analyzes Bangladeshi feminist films including Meherjaan, and Itihaash Konna (Daughters of History), as well as socially-engaged films by activist-filmmakers including Jonmo Shathi (Born Together), and Shadhinota (A Certain Liberation), to show how war films of Bangladesh can generate possibilities for gender justice.
Chowdhury argues that justice-driven films are critical to understanding and negotiating the layered meanings and consequences of catastrophic human suffering yet at the same time they hint at subjectivities and identities that are not reducible to the politics of suffering. Rather, they are key to creating an alternative and disruptive archive of feminist knowledge—a sensitive witnessing, responsible spectatorship, and just responsibility across time, and space.
Drawing on Black and transnational feminist critiques, Chowdhury explores questions around women’s place, social roles, and modes of participation in war as well as the visual language through which they become legible as victims/subjects of violence and agents of the nation. Ethical Encounters illuminates the possibilities of film as a site to articulate an ethics that acknowledges a founding violence of the birth of a nation, recuperates it even if in fragments, and imagines differently the irreconcilable relationship between humanity, liberty, and justice.
Europe and Love in Cinema explores the relationship between love and Europeanness in a wide range of films from the 1920s to the present. A critical look at the manner in which love—in its broadest sense—is portrayed in cinema from across Europe and the United States, this volume exposes constructed notions of "Europeanness" that both set Europe apart and define some parts of it as more "European" than others. Through the international distribution process, these films in turn engage with ideas of Europe from both outside and within, while some, treated extensively in this volume, even offer alternative models of love. A bracing collection of essays from top film scholars, Europe and Love in Cinema demonstrates the centrality of desire to film narrative and explores multiple models of love within Europe's frontiers.
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.
This is the first study to cover cinemas from Iran to Morocco. Nine essays present the region's major national cinemas, devoting special attention to the work of directors who have given image and voice to dissent from political regimes, from patriarchal customs, from fundamentalist movements, and from the West. These country essays are complemented by in-depth discussions of eighteen films that have been selected for both their excellence and their critical engagement with pressing current issues. The introduction provides a comprehensive overview of filmmaking throughout the region, including important films produced outside the national cinemas. The long history of Iranian cinema, its international renown, and the politics of directors confronting the state, earns it a special place in this volume. The other major emphasis is on the Israel/Palestine conflict, featuring films by Palestinian directors, Israelis, and an Egyptian working in Syria.
Nineteen authors collaborated on this book, among them Walter Armbrust, Roy Armes, Kevin Dwyer, Eric Egan, Nurith Gertz, Lina Khatib, Florence Martin, and Nadia Yaqub. About half of the contributors are film scholars; the others range across literary studies and the social sciences to two film directors and a novelist. Beyond differences in disciplinary orientation, there is considerable variation among contributors in the perspectives that inform their writing. They offer an illuminating range of approaches to the cinemas of the region.
The book is richly illustrated with posters of the featured films, photos of their directors at work, and stills illustrating critical arguments in the film essays.
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.
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.
One of the country’s most picturesque cities and conveniently located just a few hours’ drive from Hollywood, San Francisco became the most frequently and extensively filmed American city beyond the production hubs of Los Angeles and New York in the three decades after World War II. During those years, the cinematic image of the city morphed from the dreamy beauty of Vertigo to the nightmarish wasteland of Dirty Harry, although San Francisco itself experienced no such decline. This intriguing disconnect gives impetus to Hollywood in San Francisco, the most comprehensive study to date of Hollywood’s move from studio to location production in the postwar era.
In this thirty-year history of feature filmmaking in San Francisco, Joshua Gleich tracks a sea change in Hollywood production practices, as location shooting overtook studio-based filming as the dominant production method by the early 1970s. He shows how this transformation intersected with a precipitous decline in public perceptions of the American city, to which filmmakers responded by developing a stark, realist aesthetic that suited America’s growing urban pessimism and superseded a fidelity to local realities. Analyzing major films set in San Francisco, ranging from Dark Passage and Vertigo to The Conversation, The Towering Inferno, and Bullitt, as well as the TV show The Streets of San Francisco, Gleich demonstrates that the city is a physical environment used to stage urban fantasies that reveal far more about Hollywood filmmaking and American culture than they do about San Francisco.
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
No American dramatist has had more plays adapted than Tennessee Williams, and few modern dramatists have witnessed as much controversy during the adaptation process. His Hollywood legacy, captured in such screen adaptations as A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddenly, Last Summer, reflects the sea change in American culture in the mid-twentieth century. Placing this body of work within relevant contexts ranging from gender and sexuality to censorship, modernism, art cinema, and the Southern Renaissance, Hollywood's Tennessee draws on rarely examined archival research to recast Williams's significance.
Providing not only cultural context, the authors also bring to light the details of the arduous screenwriting process Williams experienced, with special emphasis on the Production Code Administration—the powerful censorship office that drew high-profile criticism during the 1950s—and Williams's innovative efforts to bend the code. Going well beyond the scripts themselves, Hollywood's Tennessee showcases findings culled from poster and billboard art, pressbooks, and other production and advertising material. The result is a sweeping account of how Williams's adapted plays were crafted, marketed, and received, as well as the lasting implications of this history for commercial filmmakers and their audiences.
An examination of director Todd Haynes and his Bob Dylan biopic.
As the first and only Bob Dylan “biopic,” I’m Not There caused a stir when released in 2007. Offering a surreal retelling of moments from Dylan’s life and career, the film is perhaps best known for its distinctive approach to casting, including Cate Blanchett and Marcus Carl Franklin, a Black child actor, as versions of Dylan though none of the characters bear his name. Greenlit by Bob Dylan himself, the film uses Dylan’s music as a score, a triumph for famed queer filmmaker Todd Haynes after encountering issues with copyright in previous projects.
Noah Tsika eloquently characterizes all the ways that Dylan and Haynes harmonize in their methods and sensibilities, interpreting the rule-breaking film as a biography that refuses chronology, disdains factual accuracy, flirts with libel, and cannibalizes Western cinema. Fitting the film’s inspiration, creation, and reception alongside its continuing afterlife, Tsika examines Dylan’s music in the film through the context of intellectual property, raising questions about who owns artistic material and artistic identities and how such material can be reused and repurposed. Tsika’s adventurous analysis touches on gender, race, queerness, celebrity, popular culture, and the law, while offering much to Haynes and Dylan fans alike.
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.
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).
Catalina de Erauso (1592-1650) was a Basque noblewoman who, just before taking final vows to become a nun, escaped from the convent at San Sebastián, dressed as a man, and, in her own words, "went hither and thither, embarked, went into port, took to roving, slew, wounded, embezzled, and roamed about." Her long service fighting for the Spanish empire in Peru and Chile won her a soldier's pension and a papal dispensation to continue dressing in men's clothing.
This theoretically informed study analyzes the many ways in which the "Lieutenant Nun" has been constructed, interpreted, marketed, and consumed by both the dominant and divergent cultures in Europe, Latin America, and the United States from the seventeenth century to the present. Sherry Velasco argues that the ways in which literary, theatrical, iconographic, and cinematic productions have transformed Erauso's life experience into a public spectacle show how transgender narratives expose and manipulate spectators' fears and desires. Her book thus reveals what happens when the private experience of a transgenderist is shifted to the public sphere and thereby marketed as a hybrid spectacle for the curious gaze of the general audience.
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.
Just as Mexican national life has come to center on the sprawling, dynamic, almost indefinable metropolis of Mexico City, so recent Mexican cinema has focused on the city not merely as a setting for films but almost as a protagonist in its own right, whose conditions both create meaning for and receive meaning from the human lives lived in its midst. Through close readings of fourteen recent critically acclaimed films, this book watches Mexican cinema in this process of producing cultural meaning through its creation, enaction, and interpretation of the idea of Mexico City.
David William Foster analyzes how Mexican filmmakers have used Mexico City as a vehicle for exploring such issues as crime, living space, street life, youth culture, political and police corruption, safety hazards, gender roles, and ethnic and social identities. The book is divided into three sections. "Politics of the City" examines the films Rojo amanecer,Novia que te vea,Frida, naturaleza viva, and Sexo, pudor y lágrimas. "Human Geographies" looks at El Callejón de los Milagros,Mecánica nacional,El castillo de la pureza,Todo el poder, and Lolo. "Mapping Gender" discusses Danzón,De noche vienes,Esmeralda,La tarea,Lola, and Entre Pancho Villa y una mujer desnuda.
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.
Exploring representations of Latinx people from Scarface to Narcos, this book examines how pop culture has framed Latin America as the villain in America’s long and ineffectual War on Drugs.
If there is an enemy in the War on Drugs, it is people of color. That is the lesson of forty years of cultural production in the United States. Popular culture, from Scarface and Miami Vice to Narcos and Better Call Saul, has continually positioned Latinos as an alien people who threaten the US body politic with drugs. Jason Ruiz explores the creation and endurance of this trope, its effects on Latin Americans and Latinx people, and its role in the cultural politics of the War on Drugs.
Even as the focus of drug anxiety has shifted over the years from cocaine to crack and from methamphetamines to opioids, and even as significant strides have been made in representational politics in many areas of pop culture, Latinx people remain an unshakeable fixture in stories narrating the production, distribution, and sale of narcotics. Narcomedia argues that such representations of Latinx people, regardless of the intentions of their creators, are best understood as a cultural front in the War on Drugs. Latinos and Latin Americans are not actually America’s drug problem, yet many Americans think otherwise—and that is in no small part because popular culture has largely refused to imagine the drug trade any other way.
Based on work the author has carried out with survivor groups in Northern Ireland and South Africa, Recording Memories from Political Violence draws on written and audiovisual texts to describe and analyze the use of documentary filmmaking in recording experiences of political conflict. A variety of issues relevant to the genre are addressed at length, including the importance of ethics in the collaboration between the filmmaker and the participant and the effect of location on the accounts of participants. Cahal McLaughlin draws on the diverse fields of film and cultural studies, as well as nearly twenty years of production experience, in this informed and instructive contribution to documentary filmmaking and post-conflict studies.
John Steinbeck once famously wrote that "Texas is a state of mind." For those who know it well, however, the Lone Star State is more than one mind-set, more than a collection of clichés, more than a static stereotype. There are minds in Texas, Don Graham asserts, and some of the most important are the writers and filmmakers whose words and images have helped define the state to the nation, the world, and the people of Texas themselves. For many years, Graham has been critiquing Texas writers and films in the pages of Texas Monthly and other publications. In State of Minds, he brings together and updates essays he published between 1999 and 2009 to paint a unique, critical picture of Texas culture.
In a strong personal voice—wry, humorous, and ironic—Graham offers his take on Texas literary giants ranging from J. Frank Dobie to Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy and on films such as The Alamo, The Last Picture Show, and Brokeback Mountain. He locates the works he discusses in relation to time and place, showing how they sprang (or not) from the soil of Texas and thereby helped to define Texas culture for generations of readers and viewers—including his own younger self growing up on a farm in Collin County. Never shying from controversy and never dull, Graham's essays in State of Minds demolish the notion that "Texas culture" is an oxymoron.
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.
Following the success of prominent feature films shot on location, including Tolkien’s wildly popular The Lord of the Rings, New Zealand boasts an impressive film tourism industry. This book examines the relationship between New Zealand’s cinematic representation—as both a vast expanse of natural beauty and a magical world of fantasy on screen—and its tourism imagery, including the ways in which savvy local tourism boards have in recent decades used the country’s film representations to sell New Zealand as a premiere travel destination. Focusing on the films that have had a strong impact on marketing strategies by local tourist boards, Touring the Screen will be of interest to all those working and studying in the fields of cinema, postcolonial history, and tourism studies.
Winner, Peter C. Rollins Book Award, 2012
As the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy assassination approaches, the traumatic aspects of the tragedy continue to haunt our perceptions of the 1960s. One reason for this lies in the home movie of the incident filmed by Abraham Zapruder, a bystander who became one of the twentieth century's most important accidental documentarians.
The first book devoted exclusively to the topic, Zaprudered traces the journey of the film and its effect on the world's collective imagination. Providing insightful perspective as an observer of American culture, Norwegian media studies scholar Øyvind Vågnes begins by analyzing three narratives that are projections of Zapruder's images: performance group Ant Farm's video The Eternal Frame, Don DeLillo's novel Underworld, and an episode from Seinfeld. Subsequent topics he investigates include Dealey Plaza's Sixth Floor Museum, Zoran Naskovski's installation Death in Dallas, assassin video games, and other artifacts of the ways in which the footage has made a lasting impact on popular culture and the historical imagination. Vågnes also explores the role of other accidental documentarians, such as those who captured scenes of 9/11.
Zapruder's footage has never yielded a conclusive account of what happened in Dealey Plaza. Zaprudered thoroughly examines both this historical enigma and its indelible afterimages in our collective imagination.
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