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Medium 9780253020871

2. Why Does Fictive Representation Exist?

Alistair Fox Indiana University Press ePub

The universal need for human beings to represent their world and explore the meaning of their experience by creating imaginative (or “imaged”) stories is attested by history and confirmed in our times by the mass consumption of fiction in cinematic, televisual, and printed forms. In short, fictive representation is intrinsic to the way the human brain has evolved in response to the need to ensure biological survival. As discussed in the previous chapter, theorists since classical times have speculated on the formal and thematic attributes of fictive representation and on the effect it has on the reader/spectator. Understandably, however–because of a lack of scientific knowledge of the brain–there has yet to be a fully satisfying theoretical account of why fiction exists or how it comes into being, given that until recently we have not had sufficient knowledge of what takes place biologically to motivate and shape the creative process. As Eric Kandel puts it, “For biologists, the study of creativity ranks with the study of consciousness as being on the edge of the unknown.”1

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Medium 9780253016447

8. Mohamed Chouikh: From Anticolonial Commemoration to a Cinema of Contestation (Algeria)

Josef Gugler Indiana University Press ePub

Guy Austin

Mohamed Chouikh occupies a key position as a kind of relay between the postcolonial, idealized Algeria of the 1960s and what one might call the contested, dysfunctional Algeria of the 1980s and since. As an actor, he played a part in the pioneering Algerian films of the sixties and early seventies, sometimes known as cinéma moudjahid or what we might call freedom-fighter cinema, predominantly state-sponsored, nationalist commemorations of the liberation struggle against French colonial rule. But his work as director, especially his mature work from The Citadel (1988) onward, interrogates the social, cultural, and political power of the Algerian state. Chouikh in this way embodies a general shift within Algerian cinema from the nationalist and anticolonial confidence of the presidency of Boumediene (1965–1978) to the disjuncture between the state and the people, the contestation of the one-party system of the FLN (Front de libération nationale), and the search for emancipation from traditional conceptions of gender, history, and power of the 1980s and since (see Austin 2012). His work can in this way be related to current forms of Algerian protest and can be read as mirroring the disillusionment of the Algerian people with state power. This cinema of contestation has focused in particular on women’s rights, and on the codes of violence (both literal and symbolic) that are imposed upon women in the Arab world. In terms of aesthetics, Chouikh’s cinema makes sustained use of allegory, metaphor, and symbol, but rather than instrumentalizing these as means to perpetuate a nationalist discourse based on realism, Chouikh effectively uses them as forms of critique, as well as—less obviously—in order to celebrate the possibilities that he still locates in values such as pluralism and tolerance, and in formal terms in the visual construction of space.

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Medium 9780253006790

1 Introduction: Multiplexing Russia

Stephen M. Norris Indiana University Press ePub

The renovated October Theater on Moscow’s New Arbat Street is a nice place to watch a film. Owned and operated by the Karo Group, Russia’s largest multiplexer, October houses eleven state-of-the-art cinema halls, Karo’s offices, a video store, restaurants, and other commercial outlets. You can sit and have gelato or grab a cocktail before you watch your movie.

The theater is also a battleground. October has clearly made the transition from a Soviet-era movie house into a post-Soviet multiplex, but in making this change, October and its fellow Karo multiplexes have become sites of contestation. These theaters are not just entertainment centers: they are the foci of heated debates about Russian national cinema, post-Soviet politics, and the state of patriotism.

Founded in 1997, Karo Film first renovated the crown jewel of Russian cinema halls, the Rossiia [Russia] Theater on Moscow’s Pushkin Square. In 2000 it opened the first-ever Russian multiplex at Moscow’s first Ramstore (the Turkish-based mega supermarket chain). A year later, Karo unveiled its first multiplexes in St. Petersburg and Nizhnii Novgorod. By 2008, the company had built in Samara, Kazan´, and Kaliningrad, as well as in Moscow suburbs such as Podolsk and Mytishchi. The company boasts that it runs 34 modern multiplexes with 165 cinema halls, serving a capacity of 38,000. In total, 1.55 million Russians watch films on Karo screens each month.1

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Medium 9780253010773

7 Going Backstage: Network Heritage, Industrial Identities, and Reiterated Mediation of Saturday Night Live’s Work Worlds

Ron Becker Indiana University Press ePub

DEREK JOHNSON

In the fall of 2007, the newly appointed head of NBC Entertainment, Ben Silverman, shared with Esquire magazine his aversion to the programming choices made by his predecessor, Kevin Reilly. While Silverman took issue with any number of strategies that had failed the struggling network, he held in particular disdain NBC’s massive 2006–2007 investment in not one but two industrially self-reflexive series inspired by the backstage workplace of Saturday Night Live. While 30 Rock (2006–2013) became a critical and cult darling, the more expensive Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006–2007)—around which NBC had focused its fall 2006 marketing campaign—faced cancellation after only one season. As Silverman chastised, “How could you ever order two shows about the same subject matter and put numbers in their titles? That’s so transparently flawed to me.” The wrath of Silverman was not reserved for the overproduction of late-night sketch comedy themes, extending more widely to the network’s overreliance on extending successful brands and multiplying production from them. “And why would you put on Martha Stewart and Donald Trump at the same time under the same brand [The Apprentice] twice a week?,” he added. “I would never have done that.”1 Silverman took umbrage not just at the triple-dipping of Saturday Night Live by NBC, but also at the wider industrial logics of branding and franchising that rationalized the multiplied, reiterative production of television from previous successes.2

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Medium 9780861966820

1995 – Three More Half Hour Specials

Beardmore, Marie John Libbey Publishing ePub

 

With the huge success of the first six Beatrix Potter episodes, it seemed to make sense to make another three films. Jumping Jack (Dave Unwin’s company formed in the meantime) Geoff and Ginger and TVC did one each: The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies and Mrs. Tittlemouse; The Tale of Mr. Tod and the further Adventures of Peter Rabbit; and the Tale of Two Bad Mice and Johnny Town-Mouse. They shot a new top and tail with Dennis Abey directing the live action, which worked out fine, despite the unceasing rain.

Peter Orton, of Hit fame, took over the distribution of the films and did fantastically well from them. In the US The Tales of Beatrix Potter became the favourite programme on television – and the video sales made him millions. The money he got from Beatrix Potter enabled him to go public: at that point, they’d sold something like 3 or 4 million videos in America at 19 or 20 dollars each, and Peter Orton took 35 per cent off the top.

TVC got a little bit of the profit in the end, but not an awful lot. Even so, there’s an interesting little addendum to the story. After delivery of the first six, there was immediate talk of doing three more, but they kept being put off. TVC were running a bit low on funds and having quite a hard time – this was the time of recession and it had hit lots of independent studios in London. John had a decent share in the first six, around 25 per cent, so he offered Penguin the chance to buy back 5 per cent. Penguin said they would consider it, and produced an enormous sheet of facts and figures to prove that the films wouldn’t be in profit until the year 2000 and something, and used that as an excuse for what John considered a real mean offer. He needed the money and didn’t have much to bargain with, so Penguin upped the offer a tiny bit and then he accepted it. Stephen Hall was then the finance director, who the TVC team all liked and got on well with. John, incensed at their time schedule, told him “Stephen, I bet you £25,000 it’s in profit by Christmas 1998. Ahaa, he said, it won’t be. But I’ll take you on.” Time passed and then in November 1998, John came back from somewhere raising money and Norman was standing there grinning from ear to ear. “You won’t guess but I’ve got a cheque here for £72,000.’” “I said what! And he said, Beatrix Potter went into profit in the September quarter and Stephen Hall has honoured the bet.”

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