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Chapter 13 The Attraction of Motion: Modern Representation and the Image of Movement

Kreimeier, Klaus John Libbey Publishing ePub

Throughout the formative period of film culture (starting in the late teens and lasting at least until the 1950s), that the art of cinema was essentially related to its mastery of kinesis, the representation and the perception of motion, would have been taken for granted by most theorists and practitioners. Since that time, the centrality of motion to cinema has, while rarely being explicitly denied, certainly been marginalized in most discussions in favour of narratively based issues (issues of storytelling and characterization in the analysis of films, of processes of identification, ideological containment or representation in the discussion of spectatorship). I maintain the importance of a return to the consideration of motion as a neglected (if not repressed) factor in film aesthetics, theory and history. While I feel this issue remains essential for contemporary cinema as well, my focus in this essay will be on the way motion in early cinema, especially in its first decade, was serving in itself as one of cinema’s major attractions.

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Medium 9780861967131

Chapter 12 The Consumerist Utopia

Harrington, Seán J. Indiana University Press ePub

The purpose of this last chapter is to describe the narrative and structural changes that took place in the 1950s and 60s, before the company would loose its figurehead in 1966. While there is a tremendous wealth of critical study of Disney theme-parks, this area shall be referenced but not discussed in detail. While in-depth studies of these aspects of Disney are important, the project of this text is to create a theoretical artifice: that of the archetypical consumer who interacts within the Disney apparatus. This apparatus has been addressed primarily in terms of the viewer who engages within the Disney cinematic apparatus and how this engagement provokes consumption, ideological or otherwise. It is in this context that Disney theme-parks and television will be referenced, as they represent avenues of expression for this compulsive consumption. It is this idealised consumption that can be identified as the core of the Disney apparatus and the object of Part Three of this text: the consumerist regressive utopia.

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Medium 9781864620009

Narrative strategies for resistance and protest in Eastern European animation

Pilling, Jayne John Libbey Publishing ePub

 

Soviet Russia’s domination of Eastern European countries for over 40 years (from the fall of the ‘Iron Curtain’ around 1941 until the ‘Glasnost’ of about 1990) brought mixed blessings for animation. On the one hand, Soviet policy favoured cinema as an essential, powerful popular art form and maintained busy animation studios not only for each country but also for distinct ethnic groups; animators were often tenured civil servants with guaranteed full-time employment making not only theatrical cartoons but also public service and educational animation, children’s films of folk culture and titles and special effects for features. On the other hand, Soviet policy dictated sharp guidelines for subject matter and a strict censorship of both preliminary plans and finished films in order to guarantee that all films upheld general communist ideals and current party agendas. While many animators remained content to concentrate on innocent children’s films or benign ‘situation comedies’, some artists attempted to produce allegorical or satirical works critical of totalitarian regimes, and their careful planning to outwit censorship made them, in some cases, create masterpieces of film art. Four festival prize-winners, one from each decade, demonstrate the changing strategies that their filmmakers used to speak out against totalitarian oppression.

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Medium 9780861967025

The Crazy Cinématographe, or the Art of the Impromptu Spectator

Loiperdinger, Martin John Libbey Publishing ePub

 

It’s a Sunday in early September. The sun, peeking through the clouds, has persuaded families that it would be a fine day for a stroll on the Schueberfouer, the great outdoor fair in the city of Luxemburg. With an amused or undecided air, you survey the stands of itinerant hawkers of cakes of soap, liqueurs and embroidered bonnets as you walk to the rhythm, regular enough not to annoy you, of the long, disorderly lines of people. The knife seller seems to call out to you, but his voice is drowned out by the blaring music and the mirthful and at the same time hysterical screams of the girls held prisoner in a fairground attraction whose cabins and arms are whirling about a few dozen metres over your head. The crowd becomes thicker in the narrow alleyways of the fair and at times you have difficulty making your way without being tripped up by the wheels of a baby carriage crossing your path. The smell of food, sweet or savoury but most often greasy, constantly tempts or nauseates you, and you begin to feel a little tired from the overload of sounds and sights produced by the countless rides and attractions (the bright, stroboscopic lights of the merry-go-round, the popular songs, the hyperbolic jingles and the slogans shouted out by the stall keepers), of which you are the quite willing victim. Suddenly, a young man in the crowd grabs your attention and hands you a little piece of paper, on which is written the big word Cinematograph, and you follow him to a tent a few metres farther on that you hadn’t noticed before. The young man abandons you, but facing you on a narrow platform, battling the decibels flying from the shooting range located across the way, two barkers, gleefully bickering, describe in Homeric terms the films being shown inside the tent. They urge you on: the show is about to start and – what, you haven’t got your ticket? – you rush to the ticket counter, take a few more steps, proffer your ticket in exchange for a fan and penetrate the semi-darkness of the warm lair of the Crazy Cinématographe. To your right, a raised projector appears ready to roar. In front of you the screen, and a little in-between space where the two barkers are noisily at work, inviting the spectators to take a seat on one of the wooden benches. “Come in, come in”, and in you come. “Squeeze in a little more, squeeze in a little more”, and you squeeze in a little more in the midst of these strangers who, like you, already seem to be enchanted by the mere incongruity of being in such a place. You’re thinking of Victor Hugo, of his idea of feeling alone together, of the fact that he died just before the invention of the cinematograph, when you become aware of the pianist nestled behind his keyboard and his joyful improvisation at the piano next to the screen. “Attention! attention!”, and you pay attention. “Are you ready?” Yes, you’re ready, and like the others you answer that you’re ready, without quite knowing whether you are or what you’re ready for. The projector starts up, the screen lights up and the lecturers welcome the first images of a hundred-year-old black-and-white film with delirious enthusiasm and for a brief, tender moment, but without any doubt, you sense that your neighbours, young and old, breathe a sigh of joy and amazement, almost as if they were discovering moving images for the first time, which is clearly not at all the case. You then think of Jules Romains’ poems on fairground attractions and, particularly, his poem about the crowds at the cinematograph:

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Medium 9780861967131

Chapter 7 Fantasia and Eroticism

Harrington, Seán J. Indiana University Press ePub

This chapter discusses the transgressive quality of Disney imagery as an erotic form. Fantasia (1940) is perhaps the most appropriate film to discuss in this context as it is the most reliant on raw imagery and the least reliant on linear narrative within the classic Disney era. Describing Fantasia as a classic Disney feature is problematic as it does not follow many of the typical Disney narrative conventions. It is composed of a series of classical music pieces set against animation. There are eight segments, which vary thematically in style and narrative. Each segment is separated by a return to a live-action interlude that introduces the next piece. The live-action segment is of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra which was used in the recordings and was conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Providing a commentary and introduction to each piece was classical music critic Deems Taylor, whose role was to introduce an unfamiliar audience to classical music. While the first segment takes the form of abstract colours and images that represent the sounds of the orchestra, the segments that follow have vague mini-narratives. Most feature creatures from myth and legend, others claim to capture the images that might pass through the viewer’s mind while listening to an orchestra. The focus for the most part is on these images and the commentary claims to guide the viewer/listener in such a way that will allow them to appreciate classical music. The inference being that the mass-audience requires an authority to teach them how to enjoy high-brow pleasures. This melding of high and low creative traditions (classical music and Hollywood animation) represents an attempt to bring divergent aspects of society together in gratification.

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Medium 9780253010025

4 The Postcolonial African Regime of Representation

James E. Genova Indiana University Press ePub

With independence in 1960 France lost its official control of the cinema industrial complex in West Africa. Technically, the era of the Laval decree and the colonial film politics built on its foundation had come to a close. Consequently, aspiring West African filmmakers had the space to create their own image-Africa for the first time as well as the opportunity to seize the existing materialist structure of the film industry in the region and direct it toward the economic development of the newly sovereign countries. The cultural activists from the region who wanted to make films confronted a long-entrenched heritage as they sought to enter the business of making motion pictures. Sembène summarized the regime of representation against which they had to struggle: “From the birth of the cinema, the African countries have been subjected to the image of the Western cinema and to its rhythmic movement. On the screens of black Africa were often projected nothing but the histories of a dull stupidity, foreign to our existence.” Even if Africans had made it into the films, they were often cast “in the role of a servant or of a public entertainer.” “For Africa,” he concluded, “the seventh art was for a long time unilateral in the sense that it did not transport a single portrayal of our universe.”1

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Medium 9780861966899

Chapter 4 Giorgio Bertellini, National and racial landscapes and the photographic form

Abel, Richard John Libbey Publishing ePub

“Any viable history of photography has to be part of a history of picturemaking, and any viable history of picturemaking must include photography. “
Carl Chiarenza1

“The idea of race was [at the turn of the 20th century] in many ways and for many people not very different from what we would call today national character […] race was a determinant of national cultural experience, it was at the same time an outgrowth of previous national and cultural tradition.”
George W. Stocking,2

for Antonia Lant

How do historians usually address the relationship between early cinema and national differences? There is a wealth of methodological approaches. They range from discussions of subject matter, social themes, historical circumstances (i.e. Spanish-American War, World War I), genre/intertextual form (i.e. the western film), institutional affiliation (i.e. the Albert Kahn Archive, the Dutch Colonial Institute), economy of production, marketing, and cultural reception (i.e. French cinema in the USA).

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Medium 9780253007445

3. The Out-of-Place Scene of Trash

Kenneth W. Harrow Indiana University Press ePub

Parergon: neither work (ergon) nor outside the work (hors d’oeuvre), neither inside nor outside, neither above nor below, it disconcerts any opposition but does not remain indeterminate and it gives rise to the work.

—Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting

What is worthless? Who is trash? Following Bataille, we can locate the site for trash in the mud, or more generally, “below.” Down in the dirt where the “big toe” (Bataille 20)1 can dig in and soil itself. With Rancière, trash can be identified with those outside the community when the community is seen as being constituted as those who “count” when determining the sum of its parts (“Who Is the Subject of the Rights of Man”). Those outside the count, when the parts are counted—the part of those who have no part—become the subject “deprived of any right.” At its limit, we can glimpse trash in the Agamben figure of the human reduced to “bare life” in the state of exception. Trashy people are those whose voices are not counted as they do not count and thus cannot be heard. Rancière quotes Hannah Arendt concerning those who had lost everything after World War I and whose rights as mere human beings, apart from nation or property, were abstract, essentially meaningless for them, “the mere derision of right”—the rights of those effectively excluded from the political sphere, not accorded a place, and therefore not having a voice, resulting in “a life entrapped in its ‘idiocy,’ as opposed to a life of public action, speech, and appearance.”2

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Medium 9780253356796

5. Imaginary Citizenship: Caryl Phillips’s Atlantic World

Akinwumi Adesokan Indiana University Press ePub

Born in the Caribbean, raised in England, and now mainly resident in the United States, the writer Caryl Phillips is an interesting figure through whom to examine the contradictions of belonging in this age of unsettled nationality. These contradictions manifest themselves not just in Phillips’s life. His writings, fictional and nonfictional, explore what it means to be in, but not of, a society, to belong legally to a country but feel excluded from it because of its history of treating one and one’s kind, whether racial, cultural, economic, or sexual, as outsiders. In this chapter, however, the focus of discussion will be on Phillips’s nonfictional writings, primarily The Atlantic Sound, a hybrid account of the author’s travels to three of the prime sites of the Atlantic slave trade, which was published in 2000. The book culminates an exploration of issues that Phillips had conducted in other works of nonfiction, particularly The European Tribe, his first published book (1999; originally published in 1987), and A New World Order, a collection of essays (2002; originally published in 2001). Focusing on these works, I think, will show that there is a structural connection between nonfiction as a literary form and the situation of artists who produce their works in the general institutional context of diasporicity, cosmopolitanism, and expatriation.

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Medium 9780253009234

7. Nollywood and Postcolonial Predicaments: Transnationalism, Gender, and the Commoditization of Desire in Glamour Girls

Matthias Krings Indiana University Press ePub

PAUL UGOR

AS I REVISED THIS CHAPTER FOR FINAL PUBLICATION, CNN America's international cable TV network and perhaps the world's most powerful media empire, aired a heart-wrenching documentary titled Nepal's Stolen Children, featuring the American film star Demi Moore and Anuradha Koirala, India's anti–sex trafficking activist and CNN'S 2010 Hero of the Year.1 The documentary itself was part of a larger global campaign mounted by CNN, CNN Freedom Project, aimed at eliminating the transnational trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls all over the world.2 According to the documentary, at least 3 million women and girls from Southeast Asia are being exploited by powerful and vicious cartels that lure innocent and trusting females into forced prostitution all over the world. Obviously framed as a politically motivated media war against modern-day slavery, Nepal's Stolen Children came fifteen years after Nollywood took up the same social concern in one of its earliest power movies, Glamour Girls, 2 (1996). Appropriately subtitled The Italian Connection, this first Nollywood English feature dealt with what has come to be known internationally (although coined in Italy) as “the Nigerian woman problem” – the transnational sex trafficking of girls and women from southern Nigeria to Europe and North America.

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Medium 9780253353801

19 Size Matters

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Judith Roof

The Collector’s Edition DVD of The Big Lebowski begins with an appended introduction to the film by Mortimer Young, president of Forever Young Film Preservation. His prologue, in the genre of the ceremonial film introduction, addresses both the casual viewer and the aesthete. Narrating the film’s history and provenance, and preparing the audience for its delights, Young traces the journey of the version that follows, recounting its rediscovery in a dubbed Italian version that has been redubbed into English. What survives, he warns us, is not exactly the original, but close enough for a film that has been destroyed in a fire, multiply translated, lost and found, and restored to us under the title The Grand Lebowski.

How you gonna keep them down on the farm
once they’ve seen Karl Hungus?

In The Big Lebowski, a film with so many pins and balls, with so many penetrations, penetrating looks, and penetrated eye views, one would think there would be an ample supply of penetrations, all big, bulky, and vain. But there are not. Or there are too many soon-to-be disqualified contestants. The only real man in the place seems to be “The” Jesus Quintana, a pastel-coordinated pederastic bowler with a penchant for threatening anal intercourse while waving the hard-on of his prosthetic finger stiffener. Bowling pins are relatively smaller than balls, if we wish at all to ascribe to what seems to be the obvious binary sex symbologies of the bowling alley. But the allegory is not as obvious as it seems, in fact, and it is at best fluidly shifting. Balls penetrate alleys and pins, and bowlers penetrate balls, three-fingering those bounding lasses that serve in turn as their rotund synecdoches, now big roly-polies frotting the standing ten, glancing the circle jerk where nine out of ten on the average come off. Then the benedictions of the great enfolding matrix, a giant set of holes descending on the hapless pins, sucking them up or brushing them off, cupping them in a caressingly careful (re)placement, and beneficently endowing the hungry balls with a ten-pack’s impending generosity.

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Medium 9780253012531

9. The Importance of Playing in Earnest · Rachel Wagner

Heidi A Campbell Indiana University Press ePub

Rachel Wagner

THE ERROR PEOPLE TEND TO MAKE THE MOST IN THINKING about games and religion is to assume that the primary opposition at work is the idea that religion is “serious” whereas games are “fun.” I propose that a more accurate distinction is between being earnest as opposed to being insincere in one’s engagement with the ordered world views that religions and games can evoke. The importance of constructing systems or worlds of order into which people may willingly enter is a key feature of both religions and games. The greatest offense in both experiences is to break the rules, that is, to become an apostate, an infidel, a cheater, or a trifler, to fail to uphold the principal expectations about how to inhabit that particular experience’s world view. To fail in being earnest in following the rules is to cause a disruption of order, a breach in the cosmos-crafting activity that both games and religion can provide. Of course, not all experiences of religious practice and gameplay will fit this definition, but many of them do. This, I propose, is a fundamental similarity between religion and games, generally speaking: both are, at root, order-making activities that offer a mode of escape from the vicissitudes of contemporary life, and both demand, at least temporarily, that practitioners give themselves over to a predetermined set of rules that shape a world view and offer a system of order and structure that is comforting for its very predictability. While it is true that games offer such ordered worlds on a temporary basis and religion attempts to make universal claims to such rule-based systems, the root impulse of entering into ordered space reveals a deep kinship between religion and games that is startling and evocative.

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Medium 9780861967025

Programming the Local:

Loiperdinger, Martin John Libbey Publishing ePub

 

Introduction

The Mitchell & Kenyon Collection is now the third largest film collection in the world relating to the output of a single company from the early 1900s. The Collection was donated to the British Film Institute in 2000 by Peter Worden a local businessman in Blackburn who rescued the films, and was researched by the University of Sheffield. Books, articles and DVDs have been produced on the Collection, and thousands of copies of the DVDs have been sold.1 The films have been shown at international film festivals, resulted in international media coverage and produced numerous articles. Shortly after its discovery and subsequent restoration by the BFI, Mitchell & Kenyon became nationally and internationally renowned and soon became the most important early film material in the national collection of BFI National Archives. Millions of people have seen the films on television and in venues from Pordenone to San Francisco, Leeds to Luxembourg and Blackburn to Boston, over half a million cinema-goers have watched the films. The films have moved from the film festival and the archival presentation format to becoming part of Youtube on the BFI’s own channel, music festivals with bands such as Lemon Jelly and In The Nursery combining modern music to the films and part of contemporary art installations.2

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Medium 9780253353801

15 On the White Russian

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Craig N. Owens

Palm trees finger the sky, and there’s enough sunshine to lay some off on Pittsburgh. But that’s all on top. L.A., truth to tell, is not much different than a pretty girl with the clap.

Coleman and Zippel, City of Angels

Thanks to James Bond’s filmic popularity, the two rival mixologies of the vodka Martini are well known: the shaken and the stirred. Indeed, one might easily imagine a Levi-Straussian work of cultural anthropology, along the lines of The Raw and the Cooked, exploring how these two mixing methods have come to encapsulate whole attitudes toward life, love, and libations. The mixological niceties of the White Russian, by contrast, remain relatively unremarked upon, even among libationists familiar with the Dude. For, while it’s conceivable that the Martini is to James Bond what the White Russian—or to use the preferred dudism, the Caucasian—is to the fortuitously eponymous protagonist of the Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski, it is not so clear what impact his Belarusian leanings have had on his favorite collation’s cultural place, beyond the cult of Lebowski enthusiasts.

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Medium 9780253358530

8. Rethinking Women’s Cinema: Aesthetics and Feminist Theory

Teresa de Lauretis Indiana University Press ePub

8

When Silvia Bovenschen in 1976 posed the question “Is there a feminine aesthetic?” the only answer she could give was, yes and no: “Certainly there is, if one is talking about aesthetic awareness and modes of sensory perception. Certainly not, if one is talking about an unusual variant of artistic production or about a painstakingly constructed theory of art.”1 If this contradiction seems familiar to anyone even vaguely acquainted with the development of feminist thought over the past fifteen years, it is because it echoes a contradiction specific to, and perhaps even constitutive of, the women’s movement itself: a twofold pressure, a simultaneous pull in opposite directions, a tension toward the positivity of politics, or affirmative action in behalf of women as social subjects, on one front, and the negativity inherent in the radical critique of patriarchal, bourgeois culture, on the other. It is also the contradiction of women in language, as we attempt to speak as subjects of discourses which negate or objectify us through their representations. As Bovenschen put it, “We are in a terrible bind. How do we speak? In what categories do we think? Is even logic a bit of virile trickery? … Are our desires and notions of happiness so far removed from cultural traditions and models?” (p. 119)

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