883 Slices
Medium 9780253016966

1932

Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

Blood of a Poet

France, 1932, 65 min, b&w

Dir and Scr Jean Cocteau; Asst dir Michel Arnaud and Louis Page; Prod Vicomte de Noailles; Cinematog Georges Périnal; Music Georges Auric; Art dir Jean d’Eaubonne; Sound Henri Labrély; Act Enrique Rivero (the poet), Lee Miller (the statue), Pauline Carton, Féral Benga (black angel), Jean Desbordes, and Odette Talazac.

In 1929, the Vicomte de Noailles provided Jean Cocteau, Luis Buñuel, and Man Ray with a million francs each to produce whatever films they wanted to in total liberty. Buñuel produced L’Âge d’or (#3); Cocteau produced Le Sang d’un poète. Initially an animated film had been proposed, but Cocteau rapidly came to see that the necessary techniques were complex and would take much of the control out of his hands. He decided to make a film exploring visually and dynamically the same themes that he had been exploring in his literary works and sketches. His desire for total personal control made him one of the first and most outspoken advocates of what was later to be called auteurism: “A work written by one man and brought to the screen by another is merely a translation. . . . A writer must not let someone else interpret a work written with his left hand, but rather plunge both hands into the work and construct an object in a style equivalent to his writing style.”56

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Medium 9780253021359

9. Black Patriarch on the Prairie: National Identity and Black Manhood in the Early Novels of Oscar Micheaux

Charles Musser Indiana University Press ePub

JAYNA BROWN

Oscar Micheaux’s career as a writer and filmmaker spanned four crucial decades in the history of American popular culture. Tenaciously and obsessively prolific, Micheaux wrote seven novels in addition to directing and producing some forty films. From his first novel, The Conquest, written in 1913, to his last film, The Betrayal, produced in 1948, Micheaux’s works reflect, as well as take part in the production of, this nation’s cultural biography.

Questions abound regarding just how to evaluate the aesthetic principles of Oscar Micheaux’s work. However conflicting aesthetic evaluation of his works may be, it is clear that his texts are of great social and historical importance. An exploration of the social and historical implications of his work will allow us to understand more fully how, and in what ways, Micheaux made the specific aesthetic and stylistic choices that he did. Attempting to read the interrelation between these choices and their social and historical contexts opens up new ways for us to understand the crucial work—and play—undertaken in American popular culture.

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Medium 9780861967155

Chapter 21 Ed Ruscha’s Moving Pictures

David E James John Libbey Publishing ePub

Matt Reynolds*

Ed Ruscha uses the language of film when he talks about making art in Los Angeles. He uses terms like “editing” and “montage” and often says that what he likes about the city “has to do with the movies” because in L.A. everything seems “so cinematic”.1 Ruscha’s oeuvre explores the close connections between the Hollywood movie industry and avant-garde art practices in Los Angeles during the 1960s and 1970s. Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) is an excellent example. Bound accordion-style and unfolding to a length of twenty-seven feet, the book is a continuous panorama of Sunset Boulevard between Laurel Canyon and Cory Street. The north side of the street appears at the top of the page and the south side is displayed upside down at the bottom.

Taken with a motorized Nikon camera mounted on a tripod in the back of a truck, Ruscha meticulously pasted the individual photographs together to approximate the illusion of a single uninterrupted image. The top and bottom strips resemble an unspooled movie reel, the width of the printed image being approximately 35mm, or commercial cinema’s standard gauge. Art historian Cecile Whiting foregrounds other cinematic properties of the book: “The layout of the photographs . . . mimics a filmstrip yet delineates no visual, spatial or narrative development”.2 These two features – the foregrounding of materiality and the conscious rejection of narrative – are, of course, among the defining features of experimental cinema.

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Medium 9781770906396

5.12 The Devil Inside

Crissy Calhoun, Heather Vee ECW Press ePub

Katherine: Seriously, I have never met a group of needier people.

5.12 The Devil Inside

Original air date January 30, 2014

Written by Brett Matthews and Sonny Postiglione

Directed by Kellie Cyrus

Edited by Joel T. Pashby Cinematography by Michael Karasick

Guest cast Taylor Treadwell (Mia)

Previously on The Vampire Diaries Paul Wesley

Matt and Tyler throw a party, and Katherine stirs up trouble as Elena.

Relationship drama can have deadly consequences on a vampire show, and in “The Devil Inside” Katherine Pierce does what she does best: she goes after what she wants and raises some hell on her way there. The Katherine-bodyjacking-Elena plot line takes its next inevitable step, with dutiful daughter Nadia securing a way for her mother to take control of Elena — for Katherine to be pilot, not passenger.

In past seasons, the writers have gained a lot of mileage out of the delight of seeing one doppelgänger impersonate the other, and here the gag goes further. As Nadia says to Katherine, she isn’t pretending to be Elena, she is Elena. There’s no end to the ruse — by episode’s end, Katherine’s corpse has been torched — and her top-notch Elena impersonation is put to the test. While Nadia is concerned about her mother tripping up on the details of Elena’s life, Katherine is more confident, and bolder, in her knowledge of Elena, her life, and her loved ones. She calls on a compelled Matt to be her informant in a comedic BFF consultation about wardrobe and hair. From taking out the trash to “accidentally” spilling Caroline’s Klaus-hookup secret within earshot of Tyler, Katherine manages to simultaneously impersonate and mock Elena, giving the audience relief from and perspective on a character who can be all the things Katherine has accused her of being (self-righteous, the world’s most boring vampire … ). But Elena is also the center of the show, the girl who has fought for love and to live, despite all the horror thrown her way, and here during those brief moments she has control of her own body, she fights to escape what she immediately recognizes as a Katherine Pierce hijack. Though Elena briefly fools Nadia and Mia in order to escape, she is ultimately not as ruthless as her doppelgänger — she doesn’t kill Mia or Nadia; she runs, and she loses the battle for dominance.

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Medium 9780253007445

7. Trashy Women, Fallen Men: Fanta Nacro’s “Puk Nini” and La Nuit de la vérité

Kenneth W. Harrow Indiana University Press ePub

Trashy women were there from the start, and their appearance was often predictable. Although there is ambiguity about Borom Sarret’s wife who goes off to get food for the family—as Borom Sarret says to himself, where is she going?—Sembène is more direct with the model of the trashy woman in a conventional Marxist depiction of Oumi, the bourgeois, Frenchified wife who sells herself for her husband’s money. When that is gone, so is she, and the kids and the TV (Xala, 1974). The trashy woman, in the eyes of many male directors, had two qualities for which she had to be punished (Chakravarty). She was erotic and she had power. Even if she had only one of these qualities, it was enough for her to be judged and to merit punishment. For Chakravarty, this punishment was an allegorization of the betrayal of the past, whereby true African society (or Indian, or other postcolonial societies) representing precolonial times had been betrayed when the colonizers came and conquered the land, and then took the minds of the women, “liberating” them with modern ideas about womanhood. When Oumi, wife of El Hadj Abdou Kader Beye, adopts the French language, wigs, Evian bottled water, French cuisine, European mannerisms, and expressions (“chéri, chéri”), she comes to define the image of the bourgeois prostitute in the form of the trashy woman. She is shown as sexually demanding, as bossing her husband around, as mercenary, and especially as being in contrast with the quiet, subdued, and dignified Adja Astou, El Hadj’s first wife. The contrast foregrounds the decline of the African woman, though she has not yet fallen to the point of becoming merely attractive flesh for her husband, that being the status of El Hadj’s third wife Ngoné, now silenced, naked, objectified for the camera and merely a marker for her husband’s sexual deficiencies. Simultaneously, her aunt the Badian embodies the other fearful side of women for the patriarchy, the bossy or powerful, if unerotic, figure of the maternal woman.

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