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Medium 9780253018618

Lincoln and the Radicals

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

a conversation with Tony Kushner

Daniel Itzkovitz

A SOMBER 1865 broadside, printed in the days after Lincoln’s assassination, hangs on a wall in the middle of Tony Kushner’s West Harlem office. It bears the image of an American flag above bold black letters: “God Will Avenge our Slaughtered Leader!”

“It’s such a scream of pain,” Kushner said about the image, “And I love the doubleness of it. It’s a call for vengeance, but it’s also in a way admonishing people to leave vengeance to the lord: ‘we don’t have to be vengeful because God will take care of it . . .’. We’ve been through other days somewhat like when Lincoln was killed, but there’s something about the confluence . . . the fact that he was killed four days after the end of the Civil War, and on Good Friday, in a country that was so predominantly and deeply Christian. It must have been really . . . unbearable.”

Kushner’s ability to imagine complex and sometimes unbearable human experience sits at the heart of his work as a playwright, screen-writer, and political activist. And so does the tension in his analysis of the broadside: between the call to popular action, and the belief that a greater force might also be there—and should be there—to help those who need it.

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Medium 9780253329059

Two Memory and Pedagogy in the “Wonderful World of Disney” Beyond the Politics of Innocence

Elizabeth Bell Indiana University Press ePub

Henry A. Giroux

An alarming defensiveness has crept into America’s official image of itself, especially in its representations of the national past. Every society and official tradition defends itself against interferences with its sanctioned narratives; over time these acquire an almost theological status, with founding heroes, cherished ideas and values, national allegories having an inestimable effect in cultural and political life. (Said 1993, 314)

Ideas, texts, even people can be made sacred . . . but even though such entities, once their sacredness is established, seek to proclaim and to preserve their own absoluteness, their inviolability, the act of making sacred is in truth an event of history. . . . And events in history must always be subject to questioning, deconstruction, even to declarations of their obsolescence. To respect the sacred is to be paralysed by it. (Rushdie 1991, 416)

In different ways, Edward Said and Salman Rushdie address the complex relationship between memory and history on the one hand and culture and power on the other. By historicizing culture, and problematizing knowledge, both authors point to the necessity for a cultural politics that engages the relationship between knowledge and authority, how it is established, and what relationship it has to dominant regimes of representation. Today’s “culture wars,” largely organized around liberal and conservative arguments, each make claims about how the “past is remembered, understood, and linked to the present” (Simon 1993, 77). On one side conservatives invoke claims to national unity and world responsibility through an appeal to a nostalgic past written as an unchanging narrative, the loss of which marks a crisis of leadership and innocence. On the other side, various nationalists and progressives embrace collective memory as something to be merely recovered, an essentialized force that must be granted its place in the public arenas that define the parameters of cultural authority.

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Medium 9780253007223

Chapter: 5. Cinema, Nationhood, and the New Wave

Michael Witt Indiana University Press ePub

“There’s no Longer any Cinema,” Godard has often claimed.1 Statements such as these refer in part to the effects of the successive humiliations and capitulations he identifies, and which we charted in the preceding chapter. However, they frequently also imply a very specific understanding of the term “cinema,” and it is to this that we now turn. The corpus of films sampled in Histoire(s) du cinéma can for the most part be divided into four broad, partially overlapping categories: the silent cinema he discovered in the cine-clubs and at the Cinémathèque française in the 1940s and 1950s; the work of a handful of auteurs, such as Chaplin, Dreyer, Barnet, Bergman, Lang, Hitchcock, Renoir, Rossellini, and Welles (a list that has changed little since his early critical articles); postwar American, Italian, and French cinema, especially the films he wrote about as a critic in the 1950s; and his own output. Underlying the manner in which he treats this corpus, however, is a model of cinema that had been in gestation since the 1970s and found its fullest initial formulation in his Montreal talks. This model, which is perhaps somewhat surprising given his origins in a movement, the New Wave, that was inspired by films from all eras and from around the globe, is based on a conceptualization of cinema in terms of the interrelationship of films, national identity and the construction of nationhood. This chapter examines the rationale underpinning the “cinema(s)” in circulation in and around Histoire(s) du cinéma, and the development and logic of the discourse on cinema and nation that underpins it. It goes on to consider Godard’s treatment of the principal national cinemas on which he focuses, and concludes with an analysis of his account of the New Wave.

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Medium 9780253010971

9 - Retracing the Local: Amateur Cine Culture and Oral Histories

Edited by Julia Hallam and Les Roberts Indiana University Press ePub


Oral history and moving images have considerable potential synergy.

While amateur films/footage of landscapes and sociocultural practices often account for the majority of regional film collections, accompanying materials such as scrapbooks and interview transcripts can take up more physical space than an archive can reasonably be expected to store in the long term. As a result, the thought processes behind the making of these productions can be difficult to discern for the visiting scholar who does not have the local knowledge required to assess the significance of the films. This problem is compounded by the lack of synchronized sound in many amateur cine productions, meaning that they have now effectively become silent films even if an accompanying soundtrack once existed. In particular, non-fiction films/footage that documented local events, buildings, and spaces are available to view, yet their significance often lies outside the boundaries of the frame.

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Medium 9780253007643

Part One

Joshua Malitsky Indiana University Press ePub

The Red Star Literary-Instructional Agit-Steamer of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee was a propaganda ship that traveled down the Volga River in 1919. It was also the name (without question a most unwieldy one!) of a two-reel film that Dziga Vertov made in accordance with its voyage. Red Star is a political travelogue that follows the ship as it spreads propaganda in towns and villages along the river. The ship itself was a multipurpose vessel: it carried movie-barge; it was equipped with a radio station tuned to the national news service; it exchanged goods made in Moscow for peasants’ grain; and it handed out propagandistic literature. Moreover, the ship was itself a piece of propaganda, as it was covered in banners and marquees championing political slogans.

To emphasize the importance of the mission, the Red Star bore celebrity leaders who would speak to citizens gathered along the way. Among the figures were Nadezhda Krupskaia (Lenin’s wife) and Viatcheslav Molotov (Stalin’s future minister of foreign affairs). The film captures the leaders in private moments—writing speeches, enjoying the sights, or conversing with comrades—and in public moments as they deliver speeches to crowds. In these latter cases, the emphasis is less on the individual speaking than on the crowd gathered. Close-ups of the speakers focusing on gestures quickly give way to long shots from the vantage point of, and covering, the crowd. The speech coverage, the handing out of propagandistic literature, and the political slogans marking the vessel contribute to the notion that the film is actually less about the content of the agit-prop than it is celebrating the propagandistic effort itself. It does not celebrate a speech; it celebrates speechmaking. It does not highlight a propagandistic message; it highlights propaganda.

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Medium 9780253016966


Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

(The Mimosa Boarding House)

France-Germany, 1935, 109 min, b&w

Dir Jacques Feyder; Asst dir Marcel Carné and Ary Sadoul; Prod Tobis; Scr Feyder and Charles Spaak; Cinematog Roger Hubert; Music Armand Bernard; Art dir Lazare Meerson; Sound Hermann Storr; Edit Jacques Brillouin; Act Françoise Rosay (Louise Noblet), Paul Bernard (Pierre), André Alerme (Gaston), Lise Delamare (Nelly), Arletty (Parasol), Ila Meery, Nane Germon, Sylviac, Paul Azaïs, Jean Max, Raymond Cordy, and Pierre Labry.

Pension Mimosas was commissioned to exploit Françoise Rosay’s immense success in Le Grand Jeu (#31). Funded by Tobis, it was made without any of the financial anxieties that beset Jacques Feyder’s previous film. It focuses on two thematic fields that were omnipresent and immensely popular in the years 1930–1945, namely gambling and (usually implicit) incest. The pension (boarding house) of the title is a rather elegant establishment not far from the casino. Its proprietors, the Noblets, are childless, and take over as their own son Pierrot, the son of a lodger sent to prison. Released, the lodger reclaims him and he grows up in bad company, obsessed with gambling (at which he loses catastrophically) and with an “unsuitable” woman, Nelly. Attempting to save him, his (adoptive) mother enters into an overt rivalry with Nelly for his affections. To refinance him, she herself gambles and wins big, but too late: Pierrot has committed suicide and dies in her arms.

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Medium 9780861966592

Chapter I The Cartoon-Making Technique

Floriane Place-Verghnes John Libbey Publishing ePub

Provided that you have seen a few cartoons and you are rather curious, you must have wondered “How did they do that?” The magic atmosphere that pervades cartoons actually conceals a more practical side; that of the various techniques employed in order to achieve a maximum impact on the audience by constantly flirting with reality, without anyone noticing the amount of pain taken in timing the whole thing precisely. Five weeks of intense work, 8,640 frames and no less than 1,300 metres of film are required to create a six-minute cartoon. Cartoons in the 1940s had to be six minutes long, not more, not less, both for obvious financial reasons and because of their status of film preview: the duration of a cartoon, a set of commercials, a newsreel, and a film had to be precisely two hours long.

I now propose to follow the birth of a cartoon from its conception to the final result, by examining all the different departments that deal with its creation.

The very first thing you need to make a cartoon is obviously a screenplay. The script-writer (or storyman) is therefore the first person to put his shoulder to the wheel. Not only does he write the dialogue (unless a dialogue-man is appointed for this part of the process), but he is also responsible for the whole atmosphere of the cartoon through his detailed description of the characters, places, and forces at work in the story. He then works closely with the director to produce characters and situations that will work together visually. His role will be to translate the story in a limited number of sketches (from 50 and 150 for a six-minute cartoon), and to pair it with a few lines of dialogue, in order to see if the combination is effective. The drawings are very rough, not refined, and only depict extreme positions, behaviours, or physical expressions. “Extreme”, because knowing that a character, object, or landscape will gradually change (at a rhythm of 24 frames per second) between a period X and a period Y, the story-artist will not take the time (or the financial risk) to draw all the pictures between X and Y, but will merely sketch out the two extremes X and Y. The resulting story-board, which looks like a huge comic-strip, will then be pinned onto a cork panel so that the whole team (animators, model-makers, scene painters, etc.) can discuss potential modifications. The technique of the story-board has been used since the 1920s, but was significantly developed by Walt Disney.

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Medium 9780253015594

2. Italian Cinema and the Colonies to 1935

Ruth Ben-Ghiat Indiana University Press PDF



Italian Cinema and the Colonies to 1935


his chapter offers an overview of the imbrications and encounters of Italian c­ inema with the colonies up to 1935. I focus on the 1920s, a decade that has been slow to receive attention in accounts of both Italian colonial and filmic enterprises. During those years, the Fascists developed the ideologies and strategies of conquest that would serve them in Ethiopia and during World War II, quelling active rebellion in Somalia and carrying out a ruthless repression of resistance in the Libyan regions of

Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. In the realm of ­cinema, the 1920s is normally considered a period of crisis and retrenchment, due to the collapse of production and distribution structures. Tenacious research has revealed a variegated filmic landscape, though, one characterized by a good number of colonial and exotic-­themed productions.1 I bring these imperial and filmic histories together in my reading of Camerini’s 1927 work Kif Tebbi, which is located within the Orientalist genre that flourished internationally in the decade after World War I. My discussion of this Italian narrative of masculine redemption emphasizes the ways it sets the tone for empire films, but also highlights Orientalist elements that found less favor in the militaristic climate of later Fascism. This chapter also explores the notion of c­ inema as an “eye of the war” as it emerged during the Italo-­Turkish

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Medium 9781864620542

Stereotyping a Competitor: Images of Television in Spanish Cinema in the 1960s

John Libbey Publishing ePub

An image may comprise a number of rather different things. Of the various mental, visual and physical objects with which it may be identified, I am concerned in this essay with a rather practical definition. My principal concern is with the cinematographic representation of television, both in image and sound.

If the question of the interrelationship of the cinematographic image to its signified cannot be avoided, the prime purpose of this study is not to establish whether there is a ‘discrepancy between facts and representations’.1 My aim will be to analyse the ways in which an historical process, in this case, the establishment and diffusion of television, is liable to produce a variety of images amongst which the cinematographic happens to be comparatively easy to reconstruct. The outcome of this limited study is to determine a diachronic series of images which in some way map a case in the history of culture. In so far as the content of that development is concerned, what is at stake is the way in which films addressed the new world of moving images which television brought into existence during the period in which the new technology had its initial impact. My basic question relates to the ways in which film represented television as a social phenomenon and provided the medium with a narrative content that contributed to socially received ideas regarding the image of television in the popular imagination.

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Medium 9780253010407

12 East Side, West Side

Kathy Sloane Indiana University Press ePub

I always wore my little crazy hippie
stuff. It was California! Definitely
wasn’t New York.

Eddie Marshall

Todd Barkan

Sometimes, people had bands that got together in New York and came out, but I was able to put a lot of bands together, like the band that eventually became the Timeless All-Stars: Harold Land, Curtis Fuller, Bobby Hutcherson, George Cables, Buster Williams, Billy Higgins. That was a combination of East Coast–West Coast, and they came together at Keystone. Roy Haynes and George Cables joined forces at the Keystone Korner, with Bobby Hutcherson, and they recorded at Fantasy. Red Garland, Ron Carter, Philly Joe Jones – likewise. Orrin Keepnews really put that together.

George Cables

I considered myself an East Coast musician even though I’d been living in Los Angeles for several years. But as far as the concept of playing jazz, I felt that I was more akin with the people from the East Coast. I was born here [in New York]. The attitude in the music was a little more high energy, and I think I was very much a part of that – in my spirit, in my attitude, in my New York musical attitude – although I don’t think I wanted to be a New York pianist, or even a West Coast pianist. I don’t want to be limited by those terms. But in the positive sense, I had a New York attitude.

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Medium 9780861967155

Chapter 10 Underground Movies Rise to the Surface

Edited by David E James and Adam Hyman John Libbey Publishing ePub

Kevin Thomas*

The presentation of Andy Warhol’s The Chelsea Girls at the Cinema Theater marks the surfacing of underground films in Los Angeles. For over three years this theater has shown much of this so-called New American Cinema at its Movies ‘Round Midnight programs every Saturday, and some of it has been seen at the Cinematheque 16 since it opened on the Sunset Strip last June. But never before has such a film been accessible in a regular art theater run.

Not all of Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni, or even Resnais will prepare audiences for The Chelsea Girls. A kind of contemporary Dante’s Inferno, it consists of eight reels of 16mm film, three of which are in color. Even though two reels are projected simultaneously, the film lasts three hours and twenty minutes.

Each section deals with people who supposedly live in Greenwich Village’s venerable Hotel Chelsea, and everyone seems either drug-addicted or sexually deviated or both. They are given parts to act out, but Warhol’s busy camera sticks to them until they start revealing themselves in all their self-indulgent misery. Virtually nothing is left to the imagination – visually and especially verbally.

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Medium 9780861966820

John Coates

Marie Beardmore John Libbey Publishing ePub


This is me giving you a little epilogue for the book. First I’d like to thank Marie (Beardmore) for all the hard work she’s put into the book over all these years and Raymond Briggs for his witty forward. I hope you enjoy reading it; I’ve had a lot of fun in my life and consider myself a lucky person.

Without all that’s gone before, and especially Bettina and my daughters and Chris, my wife, who has looked after me so well and kept me young, I wouldn’t be the man I am today.

There are a number of things I’ve thought about in between doing the things I’ve done. Amongst them was an interest as a young man in motorcars. Strangely enough that’s disappeared, my interest in motorcars is now something that gets me from a to b comfortably and never breaks down. Like a lot of young men, I was fascinated by the motorcar, alongside my girlfriends of course. It was largely the design and not so much in carburetors and back axles and things like that. With this design in mind, I was forever doing little scribbles of the kinds of motor cars I’d like. One thing I remember was on holiday with my daughters when they were very little in Tamariu on the Costa Brava in Spain. I was doodling about the perfect holiday car; I don’t think that anybody has made anything quite like it, and it was along the following lines. There were two comfortable armchairs in the nose of the vehicle ahead of the front wheels, in a sort of bus style glass nose. Immediately behind those seats and across between the front wheels was the engine, something pretty powerful, as the vehicle was quite big and heavy. And then there was a compartment between the sets of wheels, in which were four armchairs, comfortable, leather, facing each other with a table in the middle. This was the passenger compartment. And behind the rear wheels, there was a fairly massive boot to fit all the luggage and baggage and things one needs on holiday. It was four-wheel drive and had a relatively flat roof throughout the length. It was probably 18ft or so. The flat roof had two rails running either side to which a fibreglass boat like a ‘Firefly’ sailing boat slid on the top, the bow forming the streamlining for it. Inside the boat, strapped into non-rattling compartments was a powerful outboard motor, a telescopic mast and oars and everything you needed to either sail or water-ski or if need be, row. I’ve often wondered if there isn’t room for a vehicle like this, particularly with the amount of money around these days.

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Medium 9780253016447

9. Merzak Allouache: (Self-)Censorship, Social Critique, and the Limits of Political Engagement in Contemporary Algerian Cinema (Algeria)

Edited by Josef Gugler Indiana University Press ePub

Will Higbee

I am from a generation that grew up in the years that followed the war of liberation. Like many others, I was patient and idealistic. I attached great hope to the country’s independence, tomorrow looked promising, the nation was being rebuilt. Today, we need to reconsider everything, tear it all down, and rebuild from scratch.

—Merzak Allouache in Khatibi, 2011

In a career of almost forty years, comprising fourteen feature films as well as numerous TV films and documentaries, Merzak Allouache has confirmed his reputation as one of the most prolific and critically acclaimed directors in the history of Algerian cinema. From his award-winning directorial debut Omar Gatlato, one of the key works of Algerian and indeed Arab cinema of the 1970s, to The Rooftops, a film that combines narratives from five different neighborhoods in Algiers as a means of exploring class and religious divides in Algeria, Allouache has repeatedly demonstrated, both on and off-screen, his commitment to engaging with the realities and crises facing Algerian society since decolonization, and, above all, the struggles facing Algerian youth. The director has, moreover, achieved this prominent position among contemporary Algerian filmmakers despite spending almost as much time working in France as he has in Algeria over the past three decades. Such conditions of exile or temporary displacement are not unusual for postcolonial Arab directors, a point acknowledged by Tunisian director and critic Férid Boughedir when writing about the significant contribution of exilic and diasporic filmmakers to New Arab cinema of the 1970s and 1980s (Boughedir 1987, 10). For his part, Allouache defines himself not as an émigré director but as a cinéaste de passage: a filmmaker whose movement between France and Algeria is dictated by the political, artistic, and economic conditions associated with each new project. The director’s key distinction between émigré filmmaker and cinéaste de passage underlines the complex position occupied not just by Allouache but by many filmmakers of the North African diaspora(s) living and working in France: maintaining a presence that is simultaneously between and within the film cultures and industries of France and the Maghreb (Higbee 2007, 62).

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Medium 9780253010407

5 Ora’s Kitchen

Kathy Sloane Indiana University Press ePub

[Rahsaan Roland Kirk] was not
going to let me say no to making
Todd a kitchen. So I did. I basically
did it as a favor to Rahsaan.

Ora Harris

Ora Harris

I came to California from Boston where myself and a girlfriend had started an organization called the Black Avant Garde. ’70, ’71 – about like that. A minister allowed us to have the basement of his church on Friday nights and Saturday nights, and we made ourselves a jazz club. We put in tables and made tablecloths; we shopped and made food; and it was just absolutely wonderful. There were many, many good, talented musicians in Boston at the time: Bill Saxton, Ralph Penland, Justo Amario. Many, many – I can’t name them all now. But we thought they were all so good that we started our little club. And it worked out well because the people just loved it. My girlfriend Mattie and I, we would make brown rice and chicken cacciatore, cornbread and fried chicken and cabbage. Good, basic soul food. We made banana nut bread and carrot cake and, of course, the word got out that there’s not only music but there’s really good food.

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Medium 9780253353801

20 Brunswick = Fluxus

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Aaron Jaffe

The image of man is always intrinsically chronotopic.

This chapter considers the cultural meaning of “wood” in The Big Lebowski.

There are unusual quantities of wood in the film: paneling, floors, bowling alley lanes, furniture, numerous props, and so on. From the opening sequence of exquisitely shot bowling balls casting down wooden runways to the final encounter between the Dude and the Stranger bellied up to the wooden bowling alley bar, Lebowski makes the uncanny “cultural power of wood” conspicuous, as Harvey Green puts it in his book on this subject (xxii).

In Coen films—and in Lebowski especially—design takes on a degree of agency that moves its significance from the background into the foreground. The role of wood, in particular, underscores a decisive concern in the plot and a cultural innovation the film makes concerning it: the role of genealogy—as in the genealogical tree. The Lebowski family tree (Jeffrey, Bunny, the Dude, Maude, the little Lebowski on the way) is decidedly not arborescent in the sense Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari criticize in A Thousand Plateaus, because it’s hardly unidirectional, patrilinear, patrimonial, or branching ever vertically. Nor is it rhizomatic, the more famous alternative the pair propose to designate the non-hierarchical, heterogeneous, and horizontal. The Lebowski family wood might be more adequately described as lumberescent—cultural wood that functions no longer as a signifier of vertical or horizontal growth but as a plasticized gift and plaything of design.

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