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Medium 9780253010643

5 “A Risky Experiment”: Zircon and Regeneration

Barbara Tepa Lupack Indiana University Press ePub

The years 1923 and 1924 were exciting ones for Norman. Not only did he continue to distribute and promote his two popular Westerns, The Bull-Dogger and The Crimson Skull, but he also defined a landmark black action serial, Zircon, to be filmed in fifteen episodes; wrote and produced a new film, Regeneration, a “Romance of the South Seas”; forged valuable alliances with Clarence Brooks and D. Ireland Thomas, seminal figures in race films; and moved his film operation into his own studio, the site of the former Eagle Studios in Arlington, Florida, a suburb of Jacksonville.

The black serial was a project that Norman conceived soon after he completed The Crimson Skull. From his experience distributing The Green-Eyed Monster and his other race pictures, Norman knew that black theaters were anxious to acquire first-run black-cast films; and he realized that, if offered an entire serial for a reasonable price, they would be likely to book it. Norman also believed that establishing and cultivating a “true black star” in his proposed “Star Series”—that is, an actor with visibility and name recognition—would not only benefit him but also bring increased attention to the race film industry.

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Medium 9780253356772

5 Inequality Is Old News

Harri Englund Indiana University Press ePub

Wayilesi yakwanu, “the radio from your place,” an editor of Nkhani Zam’maboma remarked to me one day when the BBC World Service blared in the newsroom. Before I could think of a response, the editor went on to state that even white people should have a program like Nkhani Zam’maboma. “White people also misbehave” (azungunso amapalamula), she asserted, making them seem comparable to the Malaŵian figures of authority whose deceptive appearances made the headlines on Nkhani Zam’maboma. Listening to his colleague’s comments, another editor of the program concurred with the view that white people, for all their superiority in wealth and education, should also be exposed as liars and adulterers. But he asked me if witchcraft (ufiti) existed where I came from. My answer that it did not exist in the same way as in Malaŵi confirmed the idea he already had about witchcraft and science as the defining domains of Africa and Europe, respectively.1 After a pause, however, the editor recalled that even white people could adopt Malaŵian ways, to the extent that a white priest had joined the gule wamkulu secret society, an incident that the editor said had been reported on Nkhani Zam’maboma.

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Medium 9780861966738

A Brief History of Animation

Amy M. Davis John Libbey Publishing ePub

 

This chapter begins with an overview of animation’s beginnings and a discussion of how animation, as both an art and as an industry, took shape in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. This is followed by a brief examination of two of the main animation studios in America in the 1930s and 1940s (and Disney’s main competitors), the Fleischer Brothers studio and the animation unit at Warner Brothers. These will help to underline and illustrate a comparison between how animation’s role and worth as a medium were perceived at the Disney studio and other studios. It is also important to outline, in general terms, animation techniques and practices of this period and at various studios in order to achieve a more complete understanding of how and why animated characters were created and presented as they were.

This chapter, despite its presence in a book on the films of the Disney studio, has very little discussion of topics which are directly related to Disney. While this may initially seem odd, there are in fact very good reasons: in order to appreciate the many ways in which the Disney studio differed (and continues to differ) from its competitors, it is important to become acquainted with the nature of Disney’s competition. From 1928 – the year in which the Disney studio achieved its first major success with the release of “Steamboat Willie” – up to the present day, animation at other studios has been defined, understood, and appreciated in relation to Disney (even if only to reject the Disney style and ethos), measuring achievements and failures by how much – or how little – the influence of the Disney studio can be detected. In other words, why the Disney studio did what it did, how it did what it did, what it did, how its ways changed (and how they stayed the same) over time, and even a sense of what Walt Disney and his successors hoped to achieve both within and for animation as a medium, are best understood within the context of how animation was approached at other studios. Because there were two studios in particular between 1925 and the 1950s which could be viewed as being equal to the competition offered by the Disney studio, it is only those two studios – the Fleischers’ studio at Paramount, then the animation unit at Warner Brothers studio – which will be discussed in any detail.58 Once the reader has a working knowledge of animation history and an idea of how animation outside the Disney studio was approached, it becomes much easier to understand the very real and important ways in which the Disney studio differed from other studios, and to appreciate the ways in which these differences contributed not only to the choices made by the Disney studio regarding its production, but also to the Disney studio’s ultimate success.

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Medium 9780861967179

Chapter 4 William Randolph Hearst and the War

James W Castellan John Libbey Publishing ePub

As previously noted, William Randolph Hearst was pro-German, anti-English, and not a supporter of World War I. Hearst may have been ideologically driven to support Germany. However he would never pass up a good story, even if it came from the side of the Entente. For example, a Hearst-Selig News Pictorial newsreel of the German naval raid on Scarborough, England, in December of 1914, widely felt to be an example of German barbarism at the time, still survives in the John E. Allen Collection. Hearst was primarily a businessman interested in selling newspapers, so the fact that one of his cinematographers, Ariel Varges, ended up covering the war with the British did not bother him excessively. But in this chapter we will discuss two cinematographers who went to cover the German side of the war for Hearst (Colour Plate 5).

One of the most fascinating stories about the Americans in Germany involves Wallace, Dr. Lewis Hart Marks, American Ambassador James W. Gerard and Count J. M. de Beaufort. Offstage pulling largely invisible strings, we have William Randolph Hearst and Mumm von Schwarzenstein, press chief of the Auswärtige Amt or German Foreign Office. To a lesser degree Woodrow Wilson and Kaiser Wilhelm II were involved. For a while, these wildly dissimilar figures used each other to achieve their goals in wartime Germany.

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Medium 9780253009234

14. Karishika with Kiswahili Flavor: A Nollywood Film Retold by a Tanzanian Video Narrator

Edited by Matthias Krings and Onookome O Indiana University Press ePub

MATTHIAS KRINGS

A NIGERIAN MISE-EN-SCÈNE OF HELL FILLS THE SCREEN. WHILE Satan sends his female assistant to the world of the living, the Kiswahili voice-over announces the background to the impending drama: “Karishika was sent into a world full of evil in order to afflict people and to win them over for the devil.” A few seconds later the narrator continues: “She is called Becky Okorie, and she plays Karishika.” Now her face becomes visible, she straightens up, and the invisible Kiswahili narrator switches to direct speech in the first person: “I am here at home in Nigeria, at Lagos. I am greeting all Tanzanians who are in Dar es Salaam. May God bless you!” Meanwhile, the screen is filled with a close-up of Karishika's face, her eyes beaming in electric blue rays symbolizing her otherworldly powers, and the narrator continues: “One day, I will come, and you will see me, King Rich, with your own eyes, and I will continue to narrate Nigerian films.”

In Tanzanian video parlors, narrators are performing live translations of foreign films into Kiswahili so local audiences can follow the story. They are also ad-libbing, adding observations and personal commentary, and adapting the stories to a local hermeneutic framework. Pirated video copies of foreign films are thus subject to a profound practice of remediation. Recently, some video narrators also began selling their work as VHS cassettes and DVDS with Kiswahili voice-over. In this chapter, I will introduce one such video narrator, King Rich, who specializes in the interpretation of Nollywood films, and one of his works, the narration of Karishika – a Nigerian video film with strong Pentecostal imprint.

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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 9780253017451

Introduction: Why Maciste?

Jacqueline Reich Indiana University Press ePub

IN 1914 THE ITALA FILM COMPANY OF TURIN, ITALY, RELEASED the historical epic Cabiria, a film that was to alter the landscape of early Italian cinema. With intertitles by the renowned poet Gabriele D’Annunzio and directed by Giovanni Pastrone, a frequent contributor on many fronts to Turin’s thriving film industry, Cabiria told the story of the kidnapping and liberation of a noble Roman girl during the Punic Wars in the third century BC. The film’s enormous impact sprang from its many cinematic innovations: the historical accuracy of its elaborate sets, its highbrow literary aspirations, its pioneering tracking and dolly shots, and the extraordinary popularity of its unexpected hero, Maciste – a muscular African slave who, on behalf of his Roman commander, rescues the incarcerated heroine in enemy territory.

The Italian actor playing Maciste, Bartolomeo Pagano, was new to national screens. He had been a dock loader employed at the Genoa ports when discovered by Itala Film to play the role of Maciste. The strongman, however, was a familiar character in Italian cinema’s early years. Historical films set in Ancient Rome such as Quo Vadis? (Cines, 1913) and Spartaco (Spartacus, Pasquali e C., 1913), among others, had featured muscled heroes performing feats of athletic daring.1 The strongman in these extremely popular historical epics, for which Italian cinema was world renowned at the time, evolved from various cultural practices: the circus, specifically the clown and the strongman’s acts of strength; a new widespread interest in physical culture and the emergence of gymnasiums in cities such as Turin, Bologna, and Milan, where the nascent film industry flourished; and variety theater (il teatro di varietà) and its comic tradition, based on regional theatrical practices in local dialects.

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Medium 9780253010971

2 - Getting to “Going to the Show”

Edited by Julia Hallam and Les Roberts Indiana University Press ePub

ROBERT C. ALLEN

One of the first books I was assigned to read in graduate school more than thirty years ago was a collection of essays by Andre Bazin titled, in its English translation, What Is Cinema?1 David Rodowick introduces The Virtual Life of Film2 by arguing that nearly a half-century of scholarly books, journal articles, and conferences have still not produced a consensual answer to Bazin'n foundational interrogative. For the most part, this “continual state of identity crisis,” as Rodowick puts it, has concerned the aesthetic identity and character of cinema. But in the meantime, technological change has shifted the very material ground upon which cinema has rested for more than a century, pushing the cinema studies threat level from orange to red. As the reassuring physicality of celluloid is rapidly supplanted by immaterial digital simulations, what, Rodowick asks, is left of cinema? “Is this the end of film, and therefore the end of cinema studies? Does cinema studies have a future in the twenty-first century?”3 Rodowick concludes (a few hundred pages later) that cinema and cinema studies can both withstand the metaphysical threat represented by technological change, even if that means adjusting the ontological boundaries a bit, so that a “film” shot, edited, distributed, and projected digitally in a movie theater is still “cinema,” but watching YouTube videos on an iPhone is, well, something other than cinema.

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Medium 9780861966899

Chapter 19 Joseph Garncarz, The emergence of nationally specific film cultures in Europe, 1911–1914

Richard Abel John Libbey Publishing ePub

In this essay, I wish to introduce the notion of “national film culture”, trace the process of the emergence of nationally specific film cultures in Europe, and offer an explanation for that emergence, which I hope will be fruitful for the USA and other countries as well.1 Germany will be my main case study because it has been the focus of my empirical research on early cinema. Through the notion of national film culture I wish to avoid the usual ideological and essentializing connotations implicated in the term “nation”. As a concept, national film culture aims to define popular culture according to neither a canon of films nor simply the films produced in a country but rather the films most favorably received. As an empirical measure of film demand, this theoretical reframing relies on a crucial source of evidence: the list of the films most popular with German audiences between 1911 and 1914. It was the scale, context, and structure of a new film exhibition venue, the permanent cinema, that allowed German audiences to select films based on nationally specific traditions, which in turn further stimulated the production of such films.

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Medium 9780253016126

4. Minoritarian Cinematic Forms as Counter-History

Marcia Landy Indiana University Press ePub

There is a universal figure of minoritarian consciousness as the becoming of everybody, and that becoming is creation. One does not attain it by acquiring the majority. The figure to which we are referring is continuous variation, as an amplitude that continually oversteps the representative threshold of the majoritarian standard, by excess or default. In erecting the figure of a universal minoritarian consciousness, one addresses powers (puissances) of becoming that belong to a different realm from that of Power (Pouvoir) and Domination.

—Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus (1987, 106)

THIS CHAPTER EXPLORES counter-historicizing through the ways in which “a deterritorialising minority uses the language of the dominant, major voice but makes it speak in a minor way” (Martin-Jones 2008, 36). Minority expression addresses “a people who do not yet exist . . . a cinema of the body . . . a potentiality defined by relations and forces, or the power to affect and be affected” (Rodowick 1997, 154). These relations and forces are aligned to an emphasis on time that puts all into crisis, involving connections between past and present, objective and subjective perception, physical and mental sensations, and indeterminacy between the real and the imaginary. Time is present in both the movement- and time-image, indirect in the former and direct in the latter.

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Medium 9780253020659

Conclusion: “White Sea of the Middle” or “Wide Sea to Meddle In”?

Hakim Abderrezak Indiana University Press ePub

The works discussed in Ex-Centric Migrations provide a vision not solely of the other but of the other continent as well. Maghrebi works that treat the notion of clandestinity have presented the European Eldorado in its declination from “a country of light” to a land of disillusionment. It is the latter vision that has been the focus of the contemporary cinematic, literary, and musical productions examined here. In response to the old notion of Eldorado (the French one), which bred mythical stories that emigrants brought with them on their short visits back home, artists have crafted a “new” Eldorado—the Maghreb. The latter construction is a core theme in music such as Raï n’b and in films such as Bensalah’s Il était une fois dans l’oued. This conception of the “new Eldorado” tackled explicitly via musical and cinematic representations is an original one, which lies in sharp contrast to the portrayal of the global South as a place that individuals desire to leave.

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Medium 9780861967094

Afterword by Ian Christie

Ludwig VoglBienek John Libbey Publishing ePub

This collection of essays began life with a three-day conference held at the elegant Bloomsbury Square premises of the German Historical Institute London, a short distance from the British Museum and from the Warburg Institute. For me, it proved to be a location conducive to thinking about the origins of “public enlightenment”, many of which have their roots in this area of London. First developed in the late 17th century when the modern city’s topography and institutions were taking shape, Bloomsbury Square would later house a generation of enlightened patrons, who included John Radcliffe, benefactor of Oxford’s Radcliffe Library, and Hans Sloane, whose collection became the basis of the British Museum when this was launched just round the corner at Montagu House in 1759.

The current British Museum is one of London’s – indeed the world’s – great educational institutions, but how many of its millions of visitors realise that long before the Internet, much of its outreach work was carried on through loaning lantern slides for lectures?1 In the case of the Warburg Institute, which came to London in 1933 to escape the Nazi regime that would have destroyed Aby Warburg’s great collection, this included “thousands of slides” along with the books that are often regarded as its main resource.2 How many today realise the revolutionary role played by photography and lantern slides in Warburg’s work on “illustrating the processes by which the memory of the past affects a culture?”3

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Medium 9780253002952

10 Decolonial Border Queers: Case Studies of Chicana/o Lesbians, Gay Men, and Transgender Folks in El Paso / Juárez

ARTURO J ALDAMA Indiana University Press ePub

EMMA PÉREZ

. . . but I don’t consider myself gay, not because I think, that “ugh!” you know, it’s because I see me and I see a gay male right here, and then I see [a] heterosexual male on the other side, you know what I mean, and I’m like, in the middle . . .

ORAL INTERVIEW WITH TRANSGENDER COCA SAPIEN (2001)

How do queers in the US-México cities of El Paso and Juárez “recognize themselves as subjects of a sexuality,” and what “fields of knowledge” and types of normativity have led Chicana/o lesbians, gay men, and transgender folks to experience a particular subjectivity?1 I want to consider this specific, historical, political border to argue that for these border queers of color, the particular fields of knowledge that make up their sexuality constitute an epistemology of coloniality. More importantly, queers in El Paso and Juárez must engage and perform decolonial practices to survive the colonial landscape.

When I began my study of queer Chicanas/os and Mexicanas/os in a region that was my home for fourteen years, I realized that questions outnumbered answers and that the twenty-four transcripts of oral interviews in my possession would only provide cursory insights into the lives of a few lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender folks in these geographic borderlands.2 My friend and former colleague at the University of Texas in El Paso, Gregory Ramos, conducted the oral interviews from 2000 to 2002 and subsequently wrote a poignant performance piece, “Border Voices,” inspired by the LGBTQ folks he interviewed. Of the twenty-five interviewees, seven were women, seventeen were men, and one was a transgender woman. Six of the seven women identified as Chicana, fronteriza, or Hispanic. One was white. Of the men, twelve identified as Chicano, Hispanic, or Mexicano; one was African American, one was Latino with parents from El Salvador, and three were white men.3 Overall, the majority of interviewees identified as Chicana/o, Mexican, or Hispanic. Those interviewed probably represent a cross-section of the predominantly Chicana/o and Mexican communities of El Paso, where seventy-eight percent of the population is of Mexican origin. Although some of the Chicano/a interviewees may have been born in Juárez or have family in Juárez, only one of the twenty-five said he was a Mexicano from Juárez. Although he lived in El Paso, his dual citizenship allowed his allegiance to México.4

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Medium 9780253016966

1934

Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

(Street without a Name)

France, 1934, 82 min (now 78 min), b&w

Dir Pierre Chenal; Asst dir Roger Blin and Louis Daquin; Prod Les Productions Pellegrin; Scr Chenal, Blin, and Marcel Aymé, from the novel by Aymé; Cinematog Joseph-Louis Mundwiller; Music Paul Devred; Art dir Roland Quignon; Sound Jacques Hawadier and A. Puff; Edit Chenal; Act Constant Rémy (Méhoul), Gabriel Gabrio (Finocle), Paul Azaïs (Manu), Enrico Glori (Cruséo), Pola Illéry (Noâ), Dagmar Gérard (La Jimbre), Fréhel (Madame Méhoul), Paule Andral (Louise Johannieu), Robert Le Vigan (Vanoël), Marcel Delaitre (Johannieu), and Pierre Larquey.

This is a typical instance of “the street film,” a subgenre inherited from the German cinema of the 1920s (e.g., Karl Grune, The Street, 1923; Georg-Wilhelm Pabst, The Joyless Street, 1925; Bruno Rahn, Tragedy of the Street, 1927).25 It was to flourish in 1930s France, and the titles of surviving films are indicative of the genre’s focus on harsh street life in the poorer quarters of Paris: Faubourg Montmartre (1931); Dans les rues/On the Street (1933); La Rue sans nom (1933); Jeunesse/Youth (1934); Ménilmontant (1936); La Rue sans joie/The Joyless Street (1938); and L’Enfer des anges/A Hell for Little Angels (1939). Typically this genre exploited the standard melodramatic conventions of such films as Les Misérables and Les Deux Orphelines but combined them with a raw realism often labeled “naturalism.” The teeming, seething squalor of “the street” rendered all too credible the inevitable corruption of innocent youth that was often a central theme, and aimed to evoke not pity for the vulnerable poor, as in melodramas, but rather a sort of fascinated horror.

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Medium 9780253010773

11 Skits Strung Together: Performance, Narrative, and the Sketch Comedy Aesthetic in SNL Films

Ron Becker Indiana University Press ePub

NICK MARX

Popular press coverage of Saturday Night Live commonly refers to the program as the “graduate school” of comedy.1 Performers such as Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, David Spade, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, and Kristen Wiig have all honed their skills in comedic performance and developed their star personas on SNL before moving on to the higher-profile platform of feature films. While the show has produced some of the top box office draws of the last thirty years, some film critics tend to see the influence of SNL as a nuisance on the big screen. They lament the tendency of SNL alumni to play “the same character[s] seen on SNL,2 or question whether this performative mode can “carry a whole movie.”3 Others see an ill fit between SNL’s short-form comedic sensibility and the structural demands of feature-length film narratives. Reviewers noted of Ferrell’s Anchorman (2004), for example, that it felt “like an extended skit stretched and stretched”4 or like “loosely strung-together SNL skits”;5 of Fey and Poehler’s Baby Mama (2008) that it “plays out like a very long and very mediocre sketch on SNL”;6 and of Sandler’s Jack and Jill (2011) that the actor appears “caught in an abysmal Saturday Night Live sketch.”7

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