The first behind-the-scenes history of the organization behind the Academy Awards.
For all the near-fanatic attention brought each year to the Academy Awards, the organization that dispenses those awards—the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences—has yet to be understood. To date, no one has ever produced a thorough account of the Academy’s birth and its awkward adolescence, and the few reports on those periods from outside have always had a glancing, cursory quality. Yet the story of the Academy’s creation and development is a critical piece of Hollywood’s history.
Now that story is finally being told. Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy for over twenty years, was given unprecedented access to its archives, and the result is a revealing and compelling story of the men and women, famous and infamous, who shaped one of the best-known organizations in the world. Davis writes about the Academy with as intimate a view of its workings, its awards, and its world-famous membership. Thorough and long overdue, The Academy and the Award fills a crucial gap in Hollywood history.
Provides a new foundation for discussions about theater, film, and translations between the two mediums.
Adapting Performance Between Stage and Screen provides an introduction to adaptations between theater and film, establishing a framework for considering these as distinct from literary adaptation. The book places emphasis on performance and event, opening new avenues of exploration to include non-literary issues such as the treatment of space and place, mis en scène, acting styles, and star personas. The recent growth of digital theater is examined to foreground the “events” of theater and cinema—largely ignored in adaptation studies—with phenomena such as National Theatre Live analyzed for the different ways that “liveness” is adapted.
Drawing from case studies that explore distinct periods in British film and theater history, the volume looks at issues surrounding theatrical naturalism and cinematic realism and illustrates the principle that adaptations can't be divorced from the historical and cultural moment in which they are produced. Adapting Performance Between Stage and Screen explores how cultural values can be articulated in the act of translating between media, providing a new framework for the discussion of theater and film as dramatic works.
Films provide valuable spaces for aesthetic experimentation and analysis, for cinema's openness to other media has always allowed it to expand its own. In Aesthetic Spaces, Brigitte Peucker shows that when painterly or theatrical conventions are appropriated by the medium of film, the dissonant effects produced open it up to intermedial reflection and tell us a great deal about cinema itself.
The films studied in these chapters include those by Abbas Kiarostami, Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard, Carl Th. Dreyer, Peter Greenaway, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Ingmar Bergman, Jacques Rivette, Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau, Lars von Trier, Spike Jonze, Éric Rohmer, Lech Majewski, and others. Where two media are in evidence in these films, there is usually a third, and often theater mediates between film and painting. Aesthetic Spaces interrogates issues of cinematic space and mise-en-scène from different but interconnected theoretical perspectives, organizing its chapters around some of the formal principles—space, spectator, frame, color and lighting, props, décor, and actor—that shape films.
Drawing on the older arts to renew cinema, the films examined deploy paintings as material: Poussin and Bruegel, Rembrandt, Hals and Klimt, and medieval illustrations and modernist abstractions are used to expand our notions of cinematic space. Peucker shows that when different media come together in film, they create effects of dissonance out of which new modes of looking may arise.
African Diasporic Cinema: Aesthetics of Reconstruction analyzes the aesthetic strategies adopted by contemporary African diasporic filmmakers to express the reconstruction of identity. Having left the continent, these filmmakers see Africa as a site of representation and cultural circulation. The diasporic experience displaces the center and forges new syncretic identities. Through migratory movement, people become foreigners, Others—and in this instance, black. The African diasporic condition in the Western world is characterized by the intersection of various factors: being African and bearing the historical memory of the continent; belonging to a black minority in majority-white societies; and finally, having historically been the object of negative, stereotyped representation. As a result, quests for the self and self-reconstruction are frequent themes in the films of the African diaspora, and yet the filmmakers refuse to remain trapped in the confines of an assigned, rigid identity. Reflecting these complex circumstances, this book analyzes the contemporary diaspora through the prism of cultural hybridization and the processes of recomposing fragmented identities, out of which new identities emerge.
This volume attempts to join the disparate worlds of Egyptian, Maghrebian, South African, Francophone, and Anglophone African cinema—that is, five “formations” of African cinema. These five areas are of particular significance—each in its own way. The history of South Africa, heavily marked by apartheid and its struggles, differs considerably from that of Egypt, which early on developed its own “Hollywood on the Nile.” The history of French colonialism impacted the three countries of the Maghreb—Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco—differently than those in sub-Saharan Africa, where Senegal and Sembène had their own great effect on the Sahelian region. Anglophone Africa, particularly the films of Ghana and Nigeria, has dramatically altered the ways people have perceived African cinema for decades. History, geography, production, distribution, and exhibition are considered alongside film studies concerns about ideology and genre. This volume provides essential information for all those interested in the vital worlds of cinema in Africa since the time of the Lumière brothers.
After Authority explores the tendency in art cinema to respond to political transition by turning to ambiguity, a system that ideally stems the reemergence of authoritarian logics in art and elsewhere. By comparing films from Italy, Hungary, South Korea, and the United States, this book contends that the aesthetic tradition of ambiguity in art cinema can be traced to post-authoritarian conditions and that it is in the context of a transition away from authoritarianism where art cinema aesthetics become legible. Art cinema, then, can be seen as a mode of cinematic practice that is at its core political, as its constitutive ambiguity finds its roots in the rejection of centralized and hierarchical configurations of authority. Ultimately, After Authority proposes a history of art cinema predicated on the potentials, possibilities, and politics of ambiguity.
In After the Post–Cold War eminent Chinese cultural critic Dai Jinhua interrogates history, memory, and the future of China as a global economic power in relation to its socialist past, profoundly shaped by the Cold War. Drawing on Marxism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, and feminist theory, Dai examines recent Chinese films that erase the country’s socialist history to show how such erasure resignifies socialism’s past as failure and thus forecloses the imagining of a future beyond that of globalized capitalism. She outlines the tension between China’s embrace of the free market and a regime dependent on a socialist imprimatur. She also offers a genealogy of China’s transformation from a source of revolutionary power into a fountainhead of globalized modernity. This narrative, Dai contends, leaves little hope of moving from the capitalist degradation of the present into a radical future that might offer a more socially just world.
The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze was one of the most innovative and revolutionary thinkers of the twentieth century. Author of more than twenty books on literature, music, and the visual arts, Deleuze published the first volume of his two-volume study of film, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, in 1983 and the second volume, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, in 1985. Since their publication, these books have had a profound impact on the study of film and philosophy. Film, media, and cultural studies scholars still grapple today with how they can most productively incorporate Deleuze's thought.
The first new collection of critical studies on Deleuze's cinema writings in nearly a decade, Afterimages of Gilles Deleuze's Film Philosophy provides original essays that evaluate the continuing significance of Deleuze's film theories, accounting systematically for the ways in which they have influenced the investigation of contemporary visual culture and offering new directions for research.
Contributors: Raymond Bellour, Centre Nationale de Recherches Scientifiques; Ronald Bogue, U of Georgia; Giuliana Bruno, Harvard U; Ian Buchanan, Cardiff U; James K. Chandler, U of Chicago; Tom Conley, Harvard U; Amy Herzog, CUNY; András Bálint Kovács, Eötvös Loránd U; Patricia MacCormack, Anglia Ruskin U; Timothy Murray, Cornell U; Dorothea Olkowski, U of Colorado; John Rajchman, Columbia U; Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier, U Paris VIII; Garrett Stewart, U of Iowa; Damian Sutton, Glasgow School of Art; Melinda Szaloky, UC Santa Barbara.
During the age of dictatorships, Latin American prisons became a symbol for the vanquishing of political opponents, many of whom were never seen again. In the postdictatorship era of the 1990s, a number of these prisons were repurposed into shopping malls, museums, and memorials. Susana Draper uses the phenomenon of the “opening” of prisons and detention centers to begin a dialog on conceptualizations of democracy and freedom in post-dictatorship Latin America. Focusing on the Southern Cone nations of Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina, Draper examines key works in architecture, film, and literature to peel away the veiled continuity of dictatorial power structures in ensuing consumer cultures.
The afterlife of prisons became an important tool in the “forgetting” of past politics, while also serving as a reminder to citizens of the liberties they now enjoyed. In Draper’s analysis, these symbols led the populace to believe they had attained freedom, although they had only witnessed the veneer of democracy—in the ability to vote and consume.
In selected literary works by Roberto Bolaño, Eleuterio Fernández Huidoboro, and Diamela Eltit and films by Alejandro Agresti and Marco Bechis, Draper finds further evidence of the emptiness and melancholy of underachieved goals in the afterlife of dictatorships. The social changes that did not occur, the inability to effectively mourn the losses of a now-hidden past, the homogenizing effects of market economies, and a yearning for the promises of true freedom are thematic currents underlying much of these texts.
Draper’s study of the manipulation of culture and consumerism under the guise of democracy will have powerful implications not only for Latin Americanists but also for those studying neoliberal transformations globally.
The beginning of this century has brought with it a host of assumptions about the newness of our technologies, globalized economies, and transnational media practices. Our own time is a period marked by experiences of fragmentation, sensation, and shock. The essays here are joined by a common concern to chart another side to modernity—precisely after the shock of the new—when the new ceases to be shocking, and when the extraordinary and the sensational become linked to the boring and the everyday. Patrice Petro explores how the mechanisms of modernism, German cinema, and feminist film theory have evolved, and she discusses the directions in which they are headed.
Petro’s essays—some published here for the first time—raise such questions as: What roles do television and other media play in film studies? What is the place of feminist film theory in our conceptions of film history? How is German film theory situated within international film theory?
Rather than continue to sensationalize sensation, Aftershocks of the New aims to lower the volume of debates over the place of cinema within the culture of modernity. And it accomplishes this by locating them within a more complex matrix of contending sensibilities, voices, and impulses.
Recognized in America chiefly for his films, Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922–1975) in fact reinvented interdisciplinarity in postwar Europe. Pasolini self-confessedly approached the cinematic image through painting, and the numerous allusions to early modern frescoes and altarpieces in his films have been extensively documented. Far less understood, however, is Pasolini’s fraught relationship to the aesthetic experiments of his own age. In Against the Avant-Garde, Ara H. Merjian demonstrates how Pasolini’s campaign against neocapitalist culture fueled his hostility to the avant-garde. An atheist indebted to Catholic ritual; a revolutionary communist inimical to the creed of 1968; a homosexual hostile to the project of gay liberation: Pasolini refused the politics of identity in favor of a scandalously paradoxical practice, one vital to any understanding of his legacy. Against the Avant-Garde examines these paradoxes through case studies from the 1960s and 1970s, concluding with a reflection on Pasolini’s far-reaching influence on post-1970s art. Merjian not only reconsiders the multifaceted work of Italy’s most prominent postwar intellectual, but also the fraught politics of a European neo-avant-garde grappling with a new capitalist hegemony.
Kelley Conway University of Illinois Press, 2015 Library of Congress PN1998.3.V368C66 2015 | Dewey Decimal 791.43
Both a precursor to and a critical member of the French New Wave, Agnès Varda weaves documentary and fiction into tapestries that portray distinctive places and complex human beings. Critics and aficionados have celebrated Varda's independence and originality since the New Wave touchstone Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962) brought her a level of international acclaim she has yet to relinquish. Film historian Kelley Conway traces Varda's works from her 1954 debut La Pointe Courte through a varied career that includes nonfiction and fiction shorts and features, installation art, and the triumphant 2008 documentary The Beaches of Agnès . Drawing on Varda's archives and conversations with the filmmaker, Conway focuses on the concrete details of how Varda makes films: a project's emergence, its development and the shifting forms of its screenplay, the search for financing, and the execution from casting through editing and exhibition. In the process, she departs from film history's traditional view of the French New Wave and reveals one artist's nontraditional trajectory through independent filmmaking. The result is an intimate consideration that reveals the artistic consistencies and bold changes in the career of one of the world's most exuberant and intriguing directors.
Alexander Kluge is best known as a founding member of the New German Cinema movement, but his work has spanned a number of genres and media. This wide-ranging book assembles a diverse selection of texts, from nonfiction writings and short stories by Kluge, to critical essays by renowned international scholars on Kluge’s work, to transcripts of interviews with the artist himself. A valuable collection for students and scholars in the fields of film, television, and media studies, Alexander Kluge: Raw Materials for the Imagination is a perfect introduction to Kluge’s key themes and ideas.
The Alexander Medvedkin Reader
Alexander Medvedkin University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress PN1998.3.M433A44 2016 | Dewey Decimal 791.430233092
Filmmaker Alexander Medvedkin (1900–89), a contemporary of Sergei Eisenstein and Alexander Dovzhenko, is celebrated today for his unique form of “total” documentary cinema, which aimed to bridge the distance between film and life, as well as for his use of satire during a period when the Soviet authorities preferred that laughter be confined to narrowly prescribed channels. This collection of selected writings by Medvedkin is the first of its kind and reveals how his work is a crucial link in the history of documentary film.
Although he was a dedicated Communist, Medvedkin’s satirical approach and social critiques ultimately led to his suppression by the Soviet regime. State institutions held back or marginalized his work, and for many years, his films were assumed to have been lost or destroyed. These texts, many assembled for this volume by Medvedkin himself, document for the first time his considerable achievements, experiments in film and theater, and attempts to develop satire as a major Soviet film genre. Through scripts, letters, autobiographical writings, and more, we see a Medvedkin supported and admired by figures like Eisenstein, Dovzhenko, and Maxim Gorky.
Ever wonder why so many stars and featured players, male or female, in movies of Hollywood’s “Golden Age” look like they just stepped out of a beauty parlor even if the story places them in a jungle, a hospital bed, or the ancient past? All for Beauty examines how and why makeup and hairdressing evolved as crafts designed partly to maintain the white flawlessness of men and women as a value in the studio era. The bookpays particular attention to the labor force, exploring the power and influence of cosmetics inventor and manufacturer Max Factor and the Westmore dynasty of makeup artists but also the contributions of others, many of them women, whose names are far less known. At the end of the complex, exciting, and at times dismaying chronicle, it is likely that readers will never again watch Hollywood films without thinking about the roles of makeup and hairdressing in creating both fictional characters and stars as emblems of an idealized and undeniably mesmerizing visual perfection.
Carl Plantinga Rutgers University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PN1995.9.R3P53 | Dewey Decimal 791.43612
From their very inception, movies have served two seemingly contradictory purposes. On one hand, they transport us to fantastical worlds and display mind-boggling special effects. On the other, they can document actual events and immerse us in scenarios that feel so realistic, we might forget we are watching a work of fiction.
Alternative Realities explores how these distinctions between cinematic fantasy and filmic realism are more porous than we might think. Through a close analysis of CGI-heavy blockbusters like Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy, it considers how even popular fantasies are grounded in emotional and social realities. Conversely, it examines how mockumentaries like This is Spinal Tap satirically call attention to the highly stylized techniques documentarians use to depict reality.
Alternative Realities takes us on a journey through many different genres of film, from the dream-like and subjective realities depicted in movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Memento, to the astonishing twists of movies like Shutter Island and The Matrix, which leave viewers in a state of epistemic uncertainty. Ultimately, it shows us how the power of cinema comes from the unique way it fuses together the objective and the subjective, the fantastical and the everyday.
At the turn of the twentieth century, cinema was quickly establishing itself as a legitimate form of popular entertainment.
The essays in American Cinema 1890-1909 explore and define how the making of motion pictures flowered into an industry that would finally become the central entertainment institution of the world. Beginning with all the early types of pictures that moved, this volume tells the story of the invention and consolidation of the various processes that gave rise to what we now call "cinema." By examining the battles over patents, production, exhibition, and the reception of film, readers learn how going to the movies became a social tradition in American society.
In the course of these two decades, cinema succeeded both in establishing itself among other entertainment and instructional media and in updating various forms of spectacle.
It was during the teens that filmmaking truly came into its own. Notably, the migration of studios to the West Coast established a connection between moviemaking and the exoticism of Hollywood.
The essays in American Cinema of the 1910s explore the rapid developments of the decade that began with D. W. Griffith's unrivaled one-reelers. By mid-decade, multi-reel feature films were profoundly reshaping the industry and deluxe theaters were built to attract the broadest possible audience. Stars like Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks became vitally important and companies began writing high-profile contracts to secure them. With the outbreak of World War I, the political, economic, and industrial groundwork was laid for American cinema's global dominance. By the end of the decade, filmmaking had become a true industry, complete with vertical integration, efficient specialization and standardization of practices, and self-regulatory agencies.
During the 1920s, sound revolutionized the motion picture industry and cinema continued as one of the most significant and popular forms of mass entertainment in the world. Film studios were transformed into major corporations, hiring a host of craftsmen and technicians including cinematographers, editors, screenwriters, and set designers. The birth of the star system supported the meteoric rise and celebrity status of actors including Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, and Rudolph Valentino while black performers (relegated to "race films") appeared infrequently in mainstream movies. The classic Hollywood film style was perfected and significant film genres were established: the melodrama, western, historical epic, and romantic comedy, along with slapstick, science fiction, and fantasy.
In ten original essays, American Cinema of the 1920s examines the film industry's continued growth and prosperity while focusing on important themes of the era.
Probably no decade saw as many changes in the Hollywood film industry and its product as the 1930s did. At the beginning of the decade, the industry was still struggling with the transition to talking pictures. Gangster films and naughty comedies starring Mae West were popular in urban areas, but aroused threats of censorship in the heartland. Whether the film business could survive the economic effects of the Crash was up in the air. By 1939, popularly called "Hollywood's Greatest Year," films like Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz used both color and sound to spectacular effect, and remain American icons today. The "mature oligopoly" that was the studio system had not only weathered the Depression and become part of mainstream culture through the establishment and enforcement of the Production Code, it was a well-oiled, vertically integrated industrial powerhouse.
The ten original essays in American Cinema of the 1930s focus on sixty diverse films of the decade, including Dracula, The Public Enemy, Trouble in Paradise, 42nd Street, King Kong, Imitation of Life, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Swing Time, Angels with Dirty Faces, Nothing Sacred, Jezebel, Mr. Smith Goes toWashington, and Stagecoach .
The 1940s was a watershed decade for American cinema and the nation. Shaking off the grim legacy of the Depression, Hollywood launched an unprecedented wave of production, generating some of its most memorable classics, including Citizen Kane, Rebecca, The Lady Eve, Sergeant York, and How Green Was My Valley. In 1942, Hollywood joined the national war effort with a vengeance, creating a series of patriotic and escapist films, such as Casablanca, Mrs. Miniver, The Road to Morocco, and Yankee Doodle Dandy.
With the end of the war, returning GIs faced a new America, in which the country had been transformed overnight. Film noir reflected a new public mood of pessimism and paranoia, in such classic films of betrayal and conflict as Kiss of Death, Force of Evil, Caught, and Apology for Murder, depicting a poisonous universe of femme fatales, crooked lawyers, and corrupt politicians.
With the threat of the atom bomb lurking in the background and the beginnings of the Hollywood Blacklist, the 1940s was a decade of crisis and change. Featuring essays by a group of respected film scholars and historians, American Cinema of the 1940s brings this dynamic and turbulent decade to life. Illustrated with many rare stills and filled with provocative insights, the volume will appeal to students, teachers, and to all those interested in cultural history and American film of the twentieth century.
From cold war hysteria and rampant anticommunist witch hunts to the lure of suburbia, television, and the new consumerism, the 1950s was a decade of sensational commercial possibility coupled with dark nuclear fears and conformist politics. Amid this amalgamation of social, political, and cultural conditions, Hollywood was under siege: from the Justice Department, which pressed for big film companies to divest themselves of their theater holdings; from the middleclass, whose retreat to family entertainment inside the home drastically decreased the filmgoing audience; and from the House Un-American Activities Committee, which was attempting to purge the country of dissenting political views. In this difficult context, however, some of the most talented filmmakers of all time, including John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Vincente Minnelli, Nicholas Ray, and Billy Wilder produced some of their most remarkable work.
Bringing together original essays by ten respected scholars in the field, American Cinema of the 1950s explores the impact of the cultural environment of this decade on film, and the impact of film on the American cultural milieu. Contributors examine the signature films of the decade, including From Here to Eternity, Sunset Blvd., Singin' in the Rain, Shane, Rear Window, and Rebel Without a Cause, as well as lesser-known but equally compelling films, such as Dial 1119, Mystery Street, Suddenly, Summer Stock, The Last Hunt, and many others.
Provocative, engaging, and accessible to general readers as well as scholars, this volume provides a unique lens through which to view the links between film and the prevailing social and historical events of the decade.
The profound cultural and political changes of the 1960s brought the United States closer to social revolution than at any other time in the twentieth century. The country fragmented as various challenges to state power were met with increasing and violent resistance. The Cold War heated up and the Vietnam War divided Americans. Civil rights, women's liberation, and gay rights further emerged as significant social issues. Free love was celebrated even as the decade was marked by assassinations, mass murders, and social unrest.
At the same time, American cinema underwent radical change as well. The studio system crumbled, and the Production Code was replaced by a new ratings system. Among the challenges faced by the film industry was the dawning shift in theatrical exhibition from urban centers to surburban multiplexes, an increase in runaway productions, the rise of independent producers, and competition from both television and foreign art films. Hollywood movies became more cynical, violent, and sexually explicit, reflecting the changing values of the time.
In ten original essays, American Cinema of the 1960s examines a range of films that characterized the decade, including Hollywood movies, documentaries, and independent and experimental films. Among the films discussed are Elmer Gantry, The Apartment, West Side Story, The Manchurian Candidate, To Kill aMockingbird, Cape Fear, Bonnie and Clyde, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Midnight Cowboy, and Easy Rider.
A smug glance at the seventies—he so-called "Me Decade"—unveils a kaleidoscope of big hair, blaring music, and broken politics—all easy targets for satire, cynicism, and ultimately even nostalgia. American Cinema of the 1970s, however, looks beyond the strobe lights to reveal how profoundly the seventies have influenced American life and how the films of that decade represent a peak moment in cinema history.
Far from a placid era, the seventies was a decade of social upheavals. Events such as the killing of students at Kent State and Jackson State universities, the Watergate investigations, the legalization of abortion, and the end of the American involvement in Vietnam are only a few among the many landmark occurrences that challenged the foundations of American culture. The director-driven movies of this era reflect this turmoil, experimenting with narrative structures, offering a gallery of scruffy antiheroes, and revising traditional genre conventions.
Bringing together ten original essays, American Cinema of the 1970s examines the range of films that marked the decade, including Jaws, Rocky, Love Story, Shaft, Dirty Harry, The Godfather, Deliverance, The Exorcist, Shampoo, Taxi Driver, Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever, Kramer vs. Kramer,and Apocalypse Now .
During the 1980s, American cinema underwent enormous transformations. Blockbusters like Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., and The Empire Strikes Back grabbed huge revenues for the studios. At the same time, the growth of home video led to new and creative opportunities for independent film production, resulting in many of the decade's best films. Both large- and small-scale filmmakers responded to the social, political, and cultural conditions of the time. The two-term presidency of Ronald Reagan spawned a new Cold War with the Soviet Union, which Hollywood film both embraced and critiqued. Also during this time, Hollywood launched a long-awaited cycle of films about the Vietnam War, exploring its impact both at home and abroad. But science fiction remained the era's most popular genre, ranging from upbeat fantasies to dark, dystopic visions.
Bringing together original essays by ten respected scholars in the field, American Cinema of the 1980s examines the films that marked the decade, including Ordinary People, Body Heat, Blade Runner, Zelig, Platoon, Top Gun, Aliens, Blue Velvet, Robocop, Fatal Attraction, Die Hard, Batman, and sex, lies & videotape.
With the U.S. economy booming under President Bill Clinton and the cold war finally over, many Americans experienced peace and prosperity in the nineties. Digital technologies gained popularity, with nearly one billion people online by the end of the decade. The film industry wondered what the effect on cinema would be.
The essays in American Cinema of the 1990s examine the big-budget blockbusters and critically acclaimed independent films that defined the decade. The 1990s' most popular genre, action, channeled anxieties about global threats such as AIDS and foreign terrorist attacks into escapist entertainment movies. Horror films and thrillers were on the rise, but family-friendly pictures and feel-good romances netted big audiences too. Meanwhile, independent films captured hearts, engaged minds, and invaded Hollywood: by decade's end every studio boasted its own "art film" affiliate.
The decade from 2000 to 2009 is framed, at one end, by the traumatic catastrophe of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and, at the other, by the election of the first African American president of the United States. In between, the United States and the world witnessed the rapid expansion of new media and the Internet, such natural disasters as Hurricane Katrina, political uprisings around the world, and a massive meltdown of world economies.
Amid these crises and revolutions, American films responded in multiple ways, sometimes directly reflecting these turbulent times, and sometimes indirectly couching history in traditional genres and stories. In American Cinema of the 2000s, essays from ten top film scholars examine such popular series as the groundbreaking Matrix films and the gripping adventures of former CIA covert operative Jason Bourne; new, offbeat films like Juno; and the resurgence of documentaries like Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Each essay demonstrates the complex ways in which American culture and American cinema are bound together in subtle and challenging ways.
The 2010s might be remembered as a time of increased polarization in American life. The decade contained both the Obama era and the Trump era, and as the nation’s political fissures widened, so did the gap between the haves and have-nots. Hollywood reflected these divisions, choosing to concentrate on big franchise blockbusters at the expense of mid-budget films, while new players like Netflix and Amazon offered fresh opportunities for low-budget and independent filmmakers. As the movie business changed, films ranging from American Sniper to Get Out found ways to speak to the concerns of a divided nation.
The newest installment in the Screen Decades series, American Cinema in the 2010s takes a close look at the memorable movies, visionary filmmakers, and behind-the-scenes drama that made this decade such an exciting time to be a moviegoer. Each chapter offers an in-depth examination of a specific year, covering a wide variety of films, from blockbuster superhero movies like Black Panther and animated films like Frozen to smaller-budget biopics like I, Tonya and horror films like Hereditary. This volume introduces readers to a decade in which established auteurs like Quentin Tarantino were joined by an exceptionally diverse set of new talents, taking American cinema in new directions.
American Energy Cinema
Robert Lifset West Virginia University Press, 2023 Library of Congress PN1995.9.P656A44 2023 | Dewey Decimal 791.43653
Historians investigate the relationships between film, culture, and energy.
American Energy Cinema explores how Hollywood movies have portrayed energy from the early film era to the present. Looking at classics like Giant, Silkwood, There Will Be Blood, and Matewan, and at quirkier fare like A Is for Atom and Convoy, it argues that films have both reflected existing beliefs and conjured new visions for Americans about the role of energy in their lives and their history.
The essays in this collection show how film provides a unique and informative lens to understand perceptions of energy production, consumption, and infrastructure networks. By placing films that prominently feature energy within historical context and analyzing them as historical objects, the contributing authors demonstrate how energy systems of all kinds are both integral to the daily life of Americans and inextricable from larger societal changes and global politics.
A series of movies that share images, characters, settings, plots, or themes, film cycles have been an industrial strategy since the beginning of cinema. While some have viewed them as "subgenres," mini-genres, or nascent film genres, Amanda Ann Klein argues that film cycles are an entity in their own right and a subject worthy of their own study. She posits that film cycles retain the marks of their historical, economic, and generic contexts and therefore can reveal much about the state of contemporary politics, prevalent social ideologies, aesthetic trends, popular desires, and anxieties.
American Film Cycles presents a series of case studies of successful film cycles, including the melodramatic gangster films of the 1920s, the 1930s Dead End Kids cycle, the 1950s juvenile delinquent teenpic cycle, and the 1990s ghetto action cycle. Klein situates these films in several historical trajectories—the Progressive movement of the 1910s and 1920s, the beginnings of America's involvement in World War II, the "birth" of the teenager in the 1950s, and the drug and gangbanger crises of the early 1990s. She shows how filmmakers, audiences, film reviewers, advertisements, and cultural discourses interact with and have an impact on the film texts. Her findings illustrate the utility of the film cycle in broadening our understanding of established film genres, articulating and building upon beliefs about contemporary social problems, shaping and disseminating deviant subcultures, and exploiting and reflecting upon racial and political upheaval.
While the anti-establishment rebels of 1969's Easy Rider were morphing into the nostalgic yuppies of 1983's The Big Chill, Seventies movies brought us everything from killer sharks, blaxploitation, and disco musicals to a loving look at General George S. Patton. Indeed, as Peter Lev persuasively argues in this book, the films of the 1970s constitute a kind of conversation about what American society is and should be—open, diverse, and egalitarian, or stubbornly resistant to change.
Examining forty films thematically, Lev explores the conflicting visions presented in films with the following kinds of subject matter:
Hippies (Easy Rider, Alice's Restaurant)
Cops (The French Connection, Dirty Harry)
Disasters and conspiracies (Jaws, Chinatown)
End of the Sixties (Nashville, The Big Chill)
Art, Sex, and Hollywood (Last Tango in Paris)
Teens (American Graffiti, Animal House)
War (Patton, Apocalypse Now)
African-Americans (Shaft, Superfly)
Feminisms (An Unmarried Woman, The China Syndrome)
Future visions (Star Wars, Blade Runner)
As accessible to ordinary moviegoers as to film scholars, Lev's book is an essential companion to these familiar, well-loved movies.
Shanghai in the early twentieth century was alive with art and culture. With the proliferation of popular genres such as the martial arts film, the contest among various modernist filmmakers, and the advent of sound, Chinese cinema was transforming urban life. But with the Japanese invasion in 1937, all of this came to a screeching halt. Until recently, the political establishment has discouraged comprehensive studies of the cultural phenomenon of early Chinese film, and this momentous chapter in China's history has remained largely unexamined.
The first sustained historical study of the emergence of cinema in China, An Amorous History of the Silver Screen is a fascinating narrative that illustrates the immense cultural significance of film and its power as a vehicle for social change. Named after a major feature film on the making of Chinese cinema, only part of which survives, An Amorous History of the Silver Screen reveals the intricacies of this cultural movement and explores its connections to other art forms such as photography, architecture, drama, and literature. In light of original archival research, Zhang Zhen examines previously unstudied films and expands the important discussion of how they modeled modern social structures and gender roles in early twentieth-century China.
The first volume in the new and groundbreaking series Cinema and Modernity, An Amorous History of the Silver Screen is an innovative—and well illustrated—look at the cultural history of Chinese modernity through the lens of this seminal moment in Shanghai cinema.
Anti-Heimat Cinema: The Jewish Invention of the German Landscape studies an overlooked yet fundamental element of German popular culture in the twentieth century. In tracing Jewish filmmakers’ contemplations of “Heimat”—a provincial German landscape associated with belonging and authenticity—it analyzes their distinctive contribution to the German identity discourse between 1918 and 1968. In its emphasis on rootedness and homogeneity Heimat seemed to challenge the validity and significance of Jewish emancipation. Several acculturation-seeking Jewish artists and intellectuals, however, endeavored to conceive a notion of Heimat that would rather substantiate their belonging.
This book considers Jewish filmmakers’ contribution to this endeavor. It shows how they devised the landscapes of the German “Homeland” as Jews, namely, as acculturated “outsiders within.” Through appropriation of generic Heimat imagery, the films discussed in the book integrate criticism of national chauvinism into German mainstream culture from World War I to the Cold War. Consequently, these Jewish filmmakers anticipated the anti-Heimat film of the ensuing decades, and functioned as an uncredited inspiration for the critical New German Cinema.
Rethinking the significance of films including Pillow Talk, Rear Window, and The Seven Year Itch, Pamela Robertson Wojcik examines the popularity of the “apartment plot,” her term for stories in which the apartment functions as a central narrative device. From the baby boom years into the 1970s, the apartment plot was not only key to films; it also surfaced in TV shows, Broadway plays, literature, and comic strips, from The Honeymooners and The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Subways are for Sleeping and Apartment 3-G. By identifying the apartment plot as a film genre, Wojcik reveals affinities between movies generally viewed as belonging to such distinct genres as film noir, romantic comedy, and melodrama. She analyzes the apartment plot as part of a mid-twentieth-century urban discourse, showing how it offers a vision of home centered on values of community, visibility, contact, mobility, impermanence, and porousness that contrasts with views of home as private, stable, and family-based. Wojcik suggests that the apartment plot presents a philosophy of urbanism related to the theories of Jane Jacobs and Henri Lefebvre. Urban apartments were important spaces for negotiating gender, sexuality, race, and class in mid-twentieth-century America.
“A filmmaker is a man like any other; and yet his life is not the same. . . . This is, I think, a special way of being in contact with reality.” Or so says Michelangelo Antonioni, the legendary filmmaker behind the stark landscapes and social alienation of Blow-Up and L’Avventura, who here reveals his idiosyncratic relationship with reality in The Architecture of Vision.
Through autobiographical sketches, theoretical essays, interviews, and conversations with such luminaries as Jean-Luc Godard and Alberto Moravia, this compelling volume explores the director’s unique brand of narrative-defying cinema as well as the motivations and anxieties of the man behind the camera.
“The Architecture of Vision provides a filmmaker’s absorbing reflections and insights on his career. . . . Antonioni’s comments . . . deepen and humanize a sometimes cerebral book.”—Publishers Weekly
“[Antonioni’s] erudition is astonishing . . . few of his peers can match his verbal articulateness.”—Film Quarterly
“This valuable resource offers entrée to material difficult to gain access to under other circumstances.”—Library Journal
Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the worldwide mass protest movements of 1968—against war, imperialism, racism, poverty, misogyny, and homophobia—the exciting anthology Architectures of Revolt explores the degree to which the real events of political revolt in the urban landscape in 1968 drove change in the attitudes and practices of filmmakers and architects alike.
In and around 1968, as activists and filmmakers took to the streets, commandeering public space, buildings, and media attention, they sought to re-make the urban landscape as an expression of utopian longing or as a dystopian critique of the established order. In Architectures of Revolt, the editor and contributors chronicle city-specific case studies from Paris, Berlin, Milan, and Chicago to New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Tokyo. The films discussed range from avant-garde and agitprop shorts to mainstream narrative feature films. All of them share a focus on the city and, often, particular streets and buildings as places of political contestation and sometimes violence, which the medium of cinema was uniquely equipped to capture.
Contributors include: Stephen Barber,Stanley Corkin,Jesse Lerner, Jon Lewis,Gaetana Marrone, Jennifer Stob, Andrew Webber, and the editor.
How is the look of a film achieved? In Art Direction and Production Design, six outstanding scholars survey the careers of notable art directors, the influence of specific design styles, the key roles played by particular studios and films in shaping the field, the effect of technological changes on production design, and the shifts in industrial modes of organization.
The craft’s purpose is to produce an overall pictorial “vision” for films, and in 1924 a group of designers formed the Cinemagundi Club—their skills encompassed set design, painting, decoration, construction, and budgeting. A few years later, in recognition of their contributions to filmmaking, the first Academy Awards for art direction were given, a clear indication of just how essential the oversight of production design had become to the so-called majors. The original essays presented in Art Direction and Production Design trace the trajectory from Thomas Edison’s primitive studio, the Black Maria, to the growth of the Hollywood “studio system,” to the influence of sound, to a discussion of the “auteur theory,” and to contemporary Hollywood in which computer-generated imagery has become common. By 2000, the Society of Motion Picture Art Directors became the Art Directors Guild, emphasizing the significance of the contributions of art direction and production design to filmmaking.
Art Direction and Production Design is a volume in the Behind the Silver Screen series—other titles in the series include Acting, Animation, Cinematography, Directing, Editing and Special/Visual Effects, Producers, Screenwriting, and Sound.
Arthouse: A Novel
Jeffrey DeShell University of Alabama Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3554.E8358A89 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
An audacious transformation in prose of fourteen Modernist films
From film to film, Jeffrey DeShell follows a forty-something failed film studies academic—The Professor. While The Professor is reinvented with each new chapter (or film), what remains is DeShell’s inventive deconstruction and representation of modern cinema. At times borrowing imagery, plot, or character elements, and at times rendering lighting, rhythm, costuming, or shot sequences into fictional language, The Professor’s journey sends him from the Southwestern town of Pueblo, Colorado, into the role of rescuer as he aids an attempted-rape victim, and finally to Italy. Ultimately though, The Professor is left alone, struggling to reconcile the real world with his life in cinema.
Artificial Generation: Photogenic French Literature and the Prehistory of Cinematic Modernity investigates the intersection of film theory and nineteenth-century literature, arguing that the depth of amalgamation that occurred within literary representation during this era aims to replicate an illusion of life and its sensations, in ways directly related to broader transitions into our modern cinematic age. A key part of this evolution in representation relies on the continual re-emergence of the artificial woman as longstanding expression of masculine artistic subjectivity, which, by the later nineteenth century, becomes a photographic and filmic drive. Moving through the beginning of film history, from Georges Méliès and other “silent” filmmakers in the 1890s, into more contemporary movies, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) and Blade Runner 2049 (2017), the book analyzes how films are often structured around the prior century’s mythic and literary principles, which now serve as foundation for film as medium—a phantom form for life’s re-presentation. Artificial Generation provides a crucial reassessment of the longstanding, mutual exchange between cinematic and literary reproduction, offering an innovative perspective on the proto-cinematic imperative of simulation within nineteenth-century literary symbolism.
An original and incisive account of one of the world's most exciting cinemas.
Breathtaking swordplay and nostalgic love, Peking opera and Chow Yun-fat's cult followers-these are some of the elements of the vivid and diverse urban imagination that find form and expression in the thriving Hong Kong cinema. All receive their due in At Full Speed, a volume that captures the remarkable range and energy of a cinema that borrows, invents, and reinvents across the boundaries of time, culture, and conventions.
At Full Speed gathers film scholars and critics from around the globe to convey the transnational, multilayered character that Hong Kong films acquire and impart as they circulate worldwide. These writers scrutinize the films they find captivating: from the lesser known works of Law Man and Yuen Woo Ping to such film festival notables as Stanley Kwan and Wong Kar-wai, and from the commercial action, romance, and comedy genres of Jackie Chan, Peter Chan, Steven Chiau, Tsui Hark, John Woo, and Derek Yee to the attempted departures of Evans Chan, Ann Hui, and Clara Law.
In this cinema the contributors identify an aesthetics of action, gender-flexible melodramatic excesses, objects of nostalgia, and globally projected local history and identities, as well as an active critical film community. Their work, the most incisive account ever given of one of the world's largest film industries, brings the pleasures and idiosyncrasies of Hong Kong cinema into clear close-up focus even as it enlarges on the relationships between art and the market, cultural theory and the movies.
Contributors: Jinsoo An, David Bordwell, Rey Chow, Steve Fore, Elaine Yee-Lin Ho, Law Kar (Lau Yiu-kuen), Kwai-cheung Lo, Linda Lai Chiu-han, Gina Marchetti, Hector Rodriquez, Bhaskar Sarkar, Marc Siegel, and Stephen Teo.
Esther C. M. Yau is associate professor of film and new media at Occidental College.
Edited by Ian Christie Amsterdam University Press, 2012 Library of Congress PN1995.9.A8A95 2012
Moving away from the recent prevalence of text-based analysis in the field of film studies, Audience tackles one of the most important issues in cinema—how the audience engages with film. Ian Christie has assembled contributions from many of the major figures in media studies, including Gregory Waller, John Sedgwick, and Martin Baker, in order to provide a wide-ranging survey of viewers’ relationships with the screen. Audiences utilizes psychoanalysis and psychology, which dominated early academic examinations of film, to parse and explain modern film-viewing habits. This wide-ranging volume also takes advantage of new technology to gain access to important data on audiences, from traditional box office studies to information on digital access to movies in the home. With a particular interest in individual consumers and their motivations, this timely collection spans the spectrum of contemporary audience studies.
As the film experience fragments across multiple formats, Audiences studies a broad range of viewers, andis essential reading for scholars and lovers of cinema.
The production, distribution, and perception of moving images are undergoing a radical transformation. Ever-faster computers, digital technology, and microelectronic are joining forces to produce advanced audiovision -the media vanishing point of the 20th century. Very little will remain unchanged.
The classic institutions for the mediation of film - cinema and television - are revealed to be no more than interludes in the broader history of the audiovisual media. This book interprets these changes not simply as a cultural loss but also as a challenge: the new audiovisions have to be confronted squarely to make strategic intervention possible.
Audiovisions provides a historical underpinning for this active approach. Spanning 100 years, from the end of the 19th to the end of the 20th century, it reconstructs the complex genesis of cinema and television as historically relative - and thus finite - cultural forms, focussing on the dynamics and tension in the interaction between the apparatus and its uses. The book is also a plea for "staying power" in studies of cultural technology and technological culture of film.
Essayistic in style, it dispenses with complicated cross references and, instead, is structured around distinct historical phases. Montages of images and text provide supplemental information, contrast, and comment.
The first part of a planned three-volume work devoted to mapping the transnational history of Australian film studies, AustralianFilm Theory and Criticism, Volume 1 provides an overview of the period between 1975 and 1990, during which the discipline first became established in the academy.
Tracing critical positions, personnel, and institutions across this formative period, Noel King, Constantine Verevis, and Deane Williams examine a multitude of books and journal articles published in Australia and distributed internationally though such processes as publication in overseas journals, translation, and reprinting. At the same time, they offer important insights about the origins of Australian film theory and its relationship to such related disciplines as English, and cultural studies. Ultimately, Australian Film Theory and Criticism, Volume 1 delineates the historical implications—and reveals the future possibilities—of establishing new directions of inquiry for film studies in Australia and internationally.
A three-volume project tracing key critical positions, people, and institutions in Australian film, Australian Film Theory and Criticism interrogates not only the origins of Australian film theory but also its relationships to adjacent disciplines and institutions. The second volume in the series, this book gathers interviews with national and international film theorists and critics to chart the development of different discourses in Australian film studies through the decades. Seeking to examine the position of film theorists and their relationship to film industry practitioners and policy makers, this volume succeeds mightily in reasserting Australian film’s place on the international scholarly agenda.
Roger Ebert has been writing film reviews for the Chicago Sun-Times for nearly forty years. And during those four decades, his wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor have made him America’s most celebrated film critic. He was the first such critic to win a Pulitzer Prize—one of just three film critics ever to receive that honor—and the only one to have a star dedicated to him on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His groundbreaking hit TV show, At the Movies, meanwhile, has made “two thumbs up” one of the most coveted hallmarks in the entire industry.
No critic alive has reviewed more movies than Roger Ebert, and yet his essential writings have never been collected in a single volume—until now. With Awake in the Dark, both fans and film buffs can finally bask in the best of Ebert’s work. The reviews, interviews, and essays collected here present a picture of this indispensable critic’s numerous contributions to the cinema and cinephilia. From The Godfather to GoodFellas, from Cries and Whispers to Crash, the reviews in Awake in the Dark span some of the most exceptional periods in film history, from the dramatic rise of rebel Hollywood and the heyday of the auteur, to the triumph of blockbuster films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to the indie revolution that is still with us today.
The extraordinary interviews gathered in Awake in the Dark capture Ebert engaging not only some of the most influential directors of our time—Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Werner Herzog, and Ingmar Bergman—but also some of the silver screen’s most respected and dynamic personalities, including actors as diverse as Robert Mitchum, James Stewart, Warren Beatty, and Meryl Streep. Ebert’s remarkable essays play a significant part in Awake in the Dark as well. The book contains some of Ebert’s most admired pieces, among them a moving appreciation of John Cassavetes and a loving tribute to the virtues of black-and-white films.
If Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris were godmother and godfather to the movie generation, then Ebert is its voice from within—a writer whose exceptional intelligence and daily bursts of insight and enthusiasm have shaped the way we think about the movies. Awake in the Dark, therefore, will be a treasure trove not just for fans of this seminal critic, but for anyone desiring a fascinating and compulsively readable chronicle of film since the late 1960s.
For nearly half a century, Roger Ebert’s wide knowledge, keen judgment, prodigious energy, and sharp sense of humor made him America’s most renowned and beloved film critic. From Ebert’s Pulitzer Prize to his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, from his astonishing output of daily reviews to his pioneering work on television with Gene Siskel, his was a career in cinema criticism without peer.
Arriving fifty years after Ebert published his first film review in 1967, this second edition of Awake in the Dark collects Ebert’s essential writings into a single, irresistible volume. Featuring new Top Ten Lists and reviews of the years’ finest films through 2012, this edition allows both fans and film buffs to bask in the best of an extraordinary lifetime’s work. Including reviews from The Godfather to GoodFellas and interviews with everyone from Martin Scorsese to Meryl Streep, as well as showcasing some of Ebert’s most admired essays—among them a moving appreciation of John Cassavetes and a loving tribute to the virtues of black-and-white films—Ebert’s Awake in the Dark is a treasure trove not just for fans of this era-defining critic, but for anyone desiring a compulsively readable chronicle of the silver screen.
Stretching from the dramatic rise of rebel Hollywood and the heyday of the auteur to the triumph of blockbuster films such as Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, to the indie revolution that is still with us today, Awake in the Dark reveals a writer whose exceptional intelligence and daily bursts of insight and enthusiasm helped shape the way we think about the movies. But more than this, Awake in the Dark is a celebration of Ebert’s inimitable voice—a voice still cherished and missed.