• The Arts
      August 2019

      Cinematic Nihilism

      Encounters, Confrontations, Overcomings

      by John Marmysz

      Exposing and illustrating how an ongoing engagement with nihilistic alienation may contribute to, rather than detract from, the value of life, Cinematic Nihilism both challenges and builds upon past scholarship that has scrutinised nihilism in the media, but which has generally over-emphasised its negative and destructive aspects. Through case studies of popular films, including Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, Dawn of the Dead and The Human Centipede, and with chapters on Scotland’s cinematic portrayal as both a site of ‘nihilistic sacrifice’ and as ‘nowhere in particular’, this book presents a necessary corrective, re-emphasising the constructive potential of cinematic nihilism and casting it as a phenomenon that need not be overcome.

    • The Arts
      July 2019

      ReFocus: The Films of Elaine May

      by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Dean Brandum

      Spanning from obscurity to notoriety, the films of director, screenwriter, actor and comic Elaine May have recently experienced a long-overdue renaissance. Although she made only four films — A New Leaf (1971), The Heartbreak Kid (1972), Mikey and Nicky (1976) and Ishtar (1987) — and never reached the level of acclaim of her frequent collaborator Mike Nichols, May’s work is as enigmatic, sophisticated and unceasingly fascinating as her own complicated, reluctant star persona. This collection focuses both on the films she has directed, and also emphasises her work with other high profile collaborators such as John Cassavetes, Warren Beatty and Otto Preminger.

    • The Arts
      June 2019

      Animal Worlds

      Film, Philosophy and Time

      by Laura McMahon

      Focusing on a recent wave of international art cinema, Animal Worlds offers the first sustained analysis of the relations between cinematic time and animal life. Through an aesthetic of extended duration, films such as Bestiaire (2010), The Turin Horse (2011) and A Cow’s Life (2012) attend to animal worlds of sentience and perception, while registering the governing of life through biopolitical regimes. Bringing together Gilles Deleuze’s writings on cinema and on animals – while drawing on Jacques Derrida, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Nicole Shukin and others – the book argues that these films question the biopolitical reduction of animal life to forms of capital, opening up realms of virtuality, becoming and alternative political futures.

    • Films, cinema
      September 2014

      The Horrors of Trauma in Cinema

      Violence Void Visualization

      by Editor(s): Michael Elm, Kobi Kabalek, Julia B. Köhne

      This volume explores the multifaceted depiction and staging of historical and social traumata as the result of extreme violence within national contexts. It focuses on Israeli-Palestinian, German and (US) American film, and reaches out to cinematic traditions from other countries like France, Great Britain and the former USSR. International and interdisciplinary scholars analyze both mainstream and avant-garde movies and documentaries premiering from the 1960s to the present. From transnational and cross-genre perspectives, they query the modes of representation – regarding narration, dramaturgy, aesthetics, mise-en-scène, iconology, lighting, cinematography, editing and sound – held by film as a medium to visualize shattering experiences of violence and their traumatic encoding in individuals, collectives, bodies and psyches. This anthology uniquely traces horror aesthetics and trajectories as a way to reenact, echo and question the perpetual loops of trauma in film cultures. The contributors examine the discursive transfer between historical traumata necessarily transmitted in a medialized and conceptualized form, the changing landscape of (clinical) trauma theory, the filmic depiction and language of trauma, and the official memory politics and hegemonic national-identity constructions.

    • Society & culture: general
      July 2013

      Imagining Blackness in Germany and Austria

      by Editor(s): Charlotte Szilagyi, Sabrina K. Rahman and Michael Saman

      Imagining Blackness in Germany and Austria offers a breadth of fresh and provocative perspectives on the ways that blackness has been configured and instrumentalized in cultural productions from around the modern German-speaking world. The essays collected here examine material ranging from eighteenth-century literary and philosophical landmarks, to Viennese modernist art; from colonial missionary literature, to twentieth-century sculpture, film, and music; from National Socialist ideology, to Leftist counterdiscourse.Spanning a range of literary, visual, and theoretical discourses, these essays identify crucial moments within radical paradigm shifts in the ways the concept of blackness has been employed by European intellectuals. One shift can be observed within the notion of blackness itself, which progresses from a state that precedes political articulation, to one that is negotiated discursively. Another shift sees conservative notions of “race” give way to a recodification of blackness as American rather than African. In this way, blackness becomes linked to the advent of a hegemonic power. A further shift can be discerned in the ways nationalist discourses of colonial supremacy and of an impending “darkening” of Europe progress toward the perception of blackness as an entry-point into the cultural complex known as Amerika, into mass culture, and into European modernity itself.With an introduction by Werner Sollors, this collection provides valuable, compelling, and timely material and insight for scholars and students interested in modern German-speaking culture, African American and African Diaspora studies, and their intersections.

    • Semiotics / semiology
      October 2007

      A Century of the Marx Brothers

      by Editor(s): Joseph Mills

      In 1905 Julius Marx began his vaudeville career with the singing group The Leroy Trio and was abandoned in the middle of the tour. It was an inauspicious start for the person who would become "Groucho." A hundred years later, the Marx Brothers have permeated our culture from the plastic noses and glasses worn at parties to a Smithsonian exhibition which explains DNA recombination using A Night at the Opera. Although they completed relatively few films together, the brothers have become icons, recognizable even to people who have never seen their movies. Most scholarly work on the Marx Brothers has focused on biographical aspects of their careers and lives; A Century of the Marx Brothers suggests a myriad of other useful approaches to their film and stage productions. The collection's eleven essays examine the Marx Brothers' work from a number of critical perspectives ranging from reader-response theory to film semiotics. The contributors include international scholars in a variety of fields, such as literature, cultural studies, performance studies, and film history.

    • Films, cinema
      July 2009

      Bresson and Others

      Spiritual Style in the Cinema

      by Author(s): Bert Cardullo

      A number of writers have attempted to capture Robert Bresson’s style as well as his substance with such terms as “minimalist,” “austere,” "ascetic," “elliptical,” “autonomous,” “pure,” even “gentle." Most famously, Paul Schrader once called Bresson’s films “transcendental,” while Susan Sontag described them as “spiritual.” Both these critics thus extended in anglicized form a tendency that had early been dominant in Bresson criticism in France: the attempt, made by such Catholic writers as André Bazin, Henri Agel, Roger Leenhardt, and Amédée Ayfre, to understand Bresson's work in religious terms, seeing his camera as a kind of god and the material world as (paradoxically) a thing of the spirit. That attempt, in Sontag’s essay, led to the introduction of Bresson to the New York-based avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s, whose films—such as Richard Serra’s Hand Catching Lead (1968), for one—show the influence of the French director’s severe, reductivist style. Jean-Luc Godard, of course, needed no such critical introduction to Robert Bresson, for, in his iconoclasm and integrity, in his rejection of the Gallic “Cinéma du Papa” as well as in his embrace of film as an independent art, Bresson was one of the heroes of the young directors who constituted the French New Wave in the early 1960s. So much so that Godard was moved to say in Cahiers du cinéma in 1957 that “Bresson is French cinema, as Dostoyevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is German music." The result is that Bresson has undeniably influenced a slew of contemporary European filmmakers, including Chantal Akerman, Olivier Assayas, Laurent Cantet, Alain Cavalier, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Claire Denis, Jacques Doillon, Bruno Dumont, Michael Haneke, Benoît Jacquot, and Maurice Pialat--not to speak of his influence on Asian and American cinema. Bresson and Others: Spiritual Syle in the Cinema is an attempt to document this influence through essays on fifteen international directors who followed in Bresson's wake, who in fact may have influenced him (Carl Dreyer), or who contemporaneously worked veins similar to those found in Bresson's films (Ingmar Bergman, Yasujiro Ozu). These essays are preceded by an introduction to the cinema of Robert Bresson and followed by film credits, a bibliography of criticism, and an index. The subject of Bresson and Others, then, may specifically be Bressonian cinema, but, in a general sense, it could also be said to be spirit and matter--or film and faith.

    • Films, cinema
      July 2015

      Bodies of Desire and Bodies in Distress

      The Golden Age of Italian Cult Cinema 1970-1985

      by Author(s): Xavier Mendik

      In recent years, there has been an explosion of critical interest in the icons, genres and traditions of 1970s Italian cult film. Thanks to the international success of directors such as Dario Argento and Sergio Martino, and the influential giallo (thriller) cycle in which they worked, these unconventional and often controversial films are now impacting on new generations of filmmakers, scholars and moviegoers alike.Bodies of Desire and Bodies in Distress: The Golden Age of Italian Cult Cinema 1970–1985 considers the current interest in specific Italian directors and cult genres, exploring the social, political and cultural factors that spawned a decade of cinema dominated by extreme, yet stylish, images of sexuality and violence. Bodies of Desire and Bodies in Distress situates the explosion of 1970s Italian cult ‘excess’ against the toxic backdrop of political violence and terrorist activity that produced shocking images of carnage and crime during this period. The volume also considers why the iconography of the sexually liberated female became recast as a symbol of fear and violation in a range of Italian cult film narratives. In addition, the book also analyses how longstanding regional distinctions between Italy’s urban North and the much maligned rural South fed into sex and death cycles produced between 1970 and 1985. Bodies of Desire and Bodies in Distress profiles leading 1970s Italian directors and performers including Aristide Massaccesi (Joe D’Amato), Laura Gemser, and Dario Argento (who also provides an interview discussing his work and 1970s Italian society). The volume also provides case-studies of the giallo cycle, rape and revenge dramas, the Italian rogue cop series, post-apocalypse films, barbarian movies, and sex comedy formats. By considering the icons and genres from the golden age of Italian cult film alongside the crucial social and sexual tensions that influenced their creation, this book will be of interest to film scholars and cult movie fans alike.

    • Cultural studies
      May 2014

      New Cinema, New Media

      Reinventing Turkish Cinema

      by Editor(s): Murat Akser, Deniz Bayrakdar

      This volume covers approaches concerning the relationship between innovation in cinema and the politics of filmmaking in new cinema practices in Turkey. The contributors focus on historiography, genres, mainstream and art cinema production, and transnational cinema, as well as changing narratives and identities. The new cinema movement in Turkey is here analysed from perspectives of new technologies, new production and distribution structures, the impact of film training, the televisual industry, new actors in commercial and art cinema, as well as the impact of the film festival circuit. Additionally, recurring themes of memory, trauma, and identity are dealt with from multidisciplinary angles. The volume covers in depth analyses of the internationally renowned filmmakers Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Fatih Akın, Semih Kaplanoğlu, Reha Erdem, Zeki Demirkubuz, Yeşim Ustaoğlu and Derviş Zaim. A timely study on the centenary of Turkish cinema in 2014, students of Middle Eastern Studies, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Urban Studies, Gender Studies, and Identity Studies will find this volume extremely relevant to their work.

    • Film theory & criticism
      November 2007

      Women Willing to Fight

      The Fighting Woman in Film

      by Editor(s): Silke Andris and Ursula Frederick

      Women Willing to Fight is a collection of essays that explores the presence of the fighting woman in contemporary Hollywood cinema. Drawn from a variety of genres, the authors examine the changing role, image and position of this figure in film over recent decades. The increasing dominance of this character and her repositioning as a protagonist reinvigorates discussion concerning the dynamics of film narrative and spectacle.Each contribution takes as its focus a central character from the Hollywood blockbuster era, examining in detail the motivations and implications of the fighting female. In doing so the collection raises significant questions about the place of the fighting woman in contemporary media and the relationships she forges on and off-screen.With a strong appreciation of the mixed messages inherent in images of fighting women, Women Willing to Fight seeks to draw attention to the embodied forms - physical, intellectual and emotional - through which female fighters are represented. The anthology places particular emphasis on the emergence of the physically empowered woman, a character for whom the body has become a weapon and a target. While early cinematic representations allowed women to voice their fury and frustration, today’s female fighters not only ‘speak up’ but ‘muscle up’.Putting aside the supernatural powers of many action heroines, this volume focuses on the kinds of fighting skills, abilities and desires that are engendered in characterisations of mortal women. To this end the volume implicitly addresses complex and cross-cultural notions of ‘extra-ordinary’ power. By examining the embodied arsenal that these characters possess and develop - through training, conditioning, and life experience - it considers the representation of motivation and metamorphoses into ‘the fighting woman’: how a woman fights holds implicit meaning and inevitably urges us to consider why and what she is fighting for.

    • Films, cinema
      February 2011

      Andrei Tarkovsky’s Poetics of Cinema

      by Author(s): Thomas Redwood

      “If you look for a meaning, you’ll miss everything that happens.”Almost twenty-five years after the death of Andrei Tarkovsky, the mystery of his films remains alive and well. Recent years have witnessed an ever-increasing number of film theorists, critics and philosophers taking up the challenge to decipher what these films actually mean. But what do these films actually show us?This study undertakes a close formal analysis of Tarkovsky’s later films. Charting the stylistic and narrative innovations in Mirror, Stalker, Nostalghia and The Sacrifice, it succeeds in shedding new light on these celebrated but often misunderstood masterpieces of narrative film. Tarkovsky is revealed here both as a cinematic thinker and as an artistic practitioner, a filmmaker of immense poetic significance for the history of cinema.

    • Films, cinema
      October 2009

      Cinemas, Identities and Beyond

      by Editor(s): Ruby Cheung with D. H. Fleming

      Cinemas, Identities and Beyond examines different modes of representing and constructing identities in and through the medium of film, transcending the narrow confines of the local / national / regional, and challenging spatial and temporal boundaries. It gathers fifteen essays that explore different dimensions of identities in contexts ranging from domestic spheres, urban milieus, socio-political environments, diasporic film-making issues, anthropology, film festivals, and psychoanalysis, to the examination of stardom in society.Engaging with cinematic representations, narrative conventions, film form, industry concerns, and other socio-cultural-economic-political factors relating to the production, distribution, exhibition and consumption of film, Cinemas, Identities and Beyond contributes to one of the most thought-provoking contemporary debates on cinemas and identities in film studies. Revisiting films such as Farewell My Concubine, The Matrix trilogy, The Straight Story, El Topo, and Days of Being Wild, this anthology establishes a framework that actively queries stabilised, ideological paradigms. The book discovers new frontiers and discourses to help us better understand ourselves and our surroundings when another decade of the new millennium is about to begin.Cinemas, Identities and Beyond will prove to be of value to a broad range of scholars, critics and students who are interested in issues pertaining to identities, and their construction in and beyond film.

    • Film theory & criticism
      December 2006

      From Camera Lens To Critical Lens

      A Collection Of Best Essays On Film Adaptation

      by Editor(s): Rebecca Housel

      From Camera Lens to Critical Lens: A Collection of Best Essays on Film Adaptation, edited by Rebecca Housel, takes the reader through films by directors like Alfred Hitchcock to examining the relevance of twenty-first century British politics with current film; from screenwriter Charlie Kaufman to author Virginia Woolf; and, examining new theoretical approaches to international film adaptations from China, Japan, Britain, Canada, and France, as well as films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Daughters of the Dust. The collection is derived from the Popular Culture Association (PCA) film-adaptation-area conference papers, researched and written by fourteen diverse scholars from all over the world, who gathered together in San Diego, California in April 2005 to further their research by presenting their ideas on film adaptation, now in full text versions within this exciting new volume. Accessible, engaging and informative, any audience may read and enjoy this edited collection on film adaptation. The volume would also work well for pedagogical purposes, both in and out of the classroom. Such a volume may easily be used in courses for English, film studies, gender studies, women’s studies, fine art, psychology, political science, history, and more. A work of diverse international voices, this collection represents the very best on film adaptation today.

    • Films, cinema
      July 2009

      Practical Approaches to Teaching Film

      by Editor(s): Rachel S. Ritterbusch

      Rachel Ritterbusch’s Practical Approaches to Teaching Film is a collection of essays focusing on the use of film in settings ranging from an introductory film class to an upper-division Women’s Studies course. Drawing on their experience in the classroom, contributors to this anthology show how movies can be used to promote critical thinking, create an awareness of the male gaze, challenge dominant ideology, and unmask the constructedness of film. This volume treats a wide variety of film texts, from box-office hits like The Da Vinci Code to underappreciated art films such as Susan Streitfeld’s Female Perversions; from Pépé le Moko and other French classics to more contemporary francophone works like Chaos and Rosetta; from self-reflexive films that interrogate the act of filmmaking itself to those that draw attention to the phallocentric nature of cinematic apparatus. Common to all these essays is the belief that, if used judiciously, film can be a valuable pedagogical tool. Aimed both at those currently teaching film and those wishing to do so, this volume provides practical support in the form of sample syllabi, assignments, and a glossary of film terms.

    • Films, cinema
      April 2011

      Cinema and Intermediality

      The Passion for the In-Between

      by Author(s): Ágnes Pethő

      Within the last two decades “intermediality” has emerged as one of the most challenging concepts in media theory with no shortage of various taxonomies and definitions. What prompted the writing of the essays gathered in this volume, however, was not a desire for more classifications applied to the world of moving pictures, but a strong urge to investigate what the “inter-” implied by the idea of “intermediality” stands for, and what it actually entails in the cinema. The book offers in each of the individual chapters a cross-section view of specific instances in which cinema seems to consciously position itself “in-between” media and arts, employing techniques that tap into the multimedial complexity of cinema, and bring into play the tensions generated by media differences. The introductory theoretical writings deal with the historiography of approaching intermedial phenomena in cinema presenting at the same time some of the possible “gateways” that can open up the cinematic image towards the perceptual frames of other media and arts. The book also contains essays that examine more closely specific paradigms in the poetics of cinematic intermediality, like the allure of painting in Hitchcock’s films, the exquisite ways of framing and un-framing haptical imagery in Antonioni’s works, the narrative allegories of media differences, the word and image plays and ekphrastic techniques in Jean-Luc Godard’s “total” cinema, the flâneuristic intermedial gallery of moving images created by José Luis Guerín, or the types of intermedial metalepses in Agnès Varda’s “cinécriture.” From a theoretical vantage point these essays break with the tradition of thinking of intermediality in analogy with intertextuality and attempt a phenomenological (re)definition of intermedial relations. Moreover, some of the analyses target films that expose the coexistence of the hypermediated experience of intermediality and the illusion of reality, connecting the questions of intermediality both to the indexical nature of cinematic representation and to the specific ideological and cultural context of the films, thus offering insights into a few questions regarding the “politics” of intermediality as well.

    • Film theory & criticism
      May 2012

      Subaltern Vision

      A Study in Postcolonial Indian English Text

      by Editor(s): Aparajita De, Amrita Ghosh and Ujjwal Jana

      “Ever since the Gramscian notion of the subaltern became the lynch-pin of the counter-hegemonic project developed by the Subaltern Studies group in the early 1980s, attempts to give voice to India’s unrepresented or under-represented classes have played a crucial role in commentary on the nation’s history and cultures. The subaltern project has explored possibilities for recuperating and articulating occluded discourses, interrogated the approaches of elite historiography and proposed alternative epistemologies. In the early twenty-first century, subaltern concerns have been prominent in cultural debates around the globe and they remain equally central to analyses of the gap between elite and marginalized classes within India itself.The present volume offers a stimulating collection of essays primarily devoted to literary representations of subaltern issues by Indian novelists writing in English and with a particular focus on gender, nation and language. It brings together essays on two writers who have been frequently associated with subaltern concerns, Amitav Ghosh and Mahasweta Devi, and discussions of other internationally acclaimed writers, such as Kiran Desai, Rohinton Mistry and Khushwant Singh, whose work also deals with disparities in Indian society and the problematics of representing this. Subaltern Vision has a valuable contextualizing Preface by Debjani Ganguly. The editor, Aparajita De’s Introduction, both illuminates the evolution to subaltern studies and introduces the individual essays. The volume is a significant intervention in the field and it is essential reading for anyone interested in the ways in which literature has responded to the challenges posed by the widening gap between India’s haves and have nots.”– John Thieme, Professor, University of East Anglia

    • Film theory & criticism
      November 2007

      Cinematic Illusions

      Realism, Subjectivity, and the Avant-Garde

      by Author(s): Bert Cardullo

      Cinematic Illusions: Realism, Subjectivity, and the Avant-Garde" is a collection of twelve essays arranged around the primordial subject of realism and anti-realism (the experimental or non-representational) in film. The book treats not only the issue of realism versus anti-realism in the cinema, but also a number of subjects related to thisissue: sex; violence; the avant-garde; subjective response versus objective creation; and the New American Cinema versus Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave. In sum, Cinematic Illusions treats the subject of illusion from the point of view of the cinema’s unsurpassed ability to create not only the illusion of reality, but also the reality of illusion on the silver screen.There are a number of books that treat this subject from an abstract or theoretical point of view. The virtue of "Cinematic Illusions" is that it treats the subject in actual filmic practice and in highly readable yet at the same time subtly expressive prose. In combination with the subjects listed above, moreover, this collection of essays treats such major film directors as Robert Bresson, Vittorio De Sica, and Michelangelo Antonioni--each of whom, in his own way, confronted the question of what constitutesrealism in the cinema.

    • Film, TV & radio
      December 2014

      Faith and Spirituality in Masters of World Cinema, Volume III

      by Editor(s): Kenneth R. Morefield, Nicholas S. Olson

      Faith and Spirituality in Masters of World Cinema, Volume III continues the work presented in the first two volumes of this title, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in 2008 and 2011. It provides informed yet accessible articles that will provide readers with an introduction to masters of world cinema whose works explore the themes of human spirituality and religious faith. Volume III contains essays dealing with canonical directors notably absent from the first two entries of the series, such as De Sica and Hitchcock, while also including examinations of contemporary auteurs who are still actively working, like Asghar Farhadi and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. While retaining an international emphasis similar to the first two volumes, it also includes a focused look at a few American auteurs not yet considered in the series. Volume III also acts as an important contribution to canon formation, illustrating the complexity and variety in the films of those who are truly the masters of world cinema. Built solidly around close, formal readings of selective films, the essays in Volume III also demonstrate familiarity with film history and bring insight from varied disciplines. Framed by the question “What makes movies material?”, Volume III continues the series’ endeavour to have faith and spirituality provide a context for considering what makes cinema significant.

    • Literature: history & criticism
      May 2018

      The Partition of India

      Beyond Improbable Lines

      by Editor(s): Daniela Rogobete, Elisabetta Marino

      This volume offers a collection of essays focused upon the representation of one of the most traumatic events in the history of India―the 1947 Partition―in literature and cinematographic adaptations. The focus here is placed on various strategies of representation and different types of memory at work in the process of remembering/re-membering Partition. All these avoid the traditional Hindu vs. Muslim perspective, and analyse other sides of the same story, seen from the perspective of marginal people belonging to other religious minorities, whose stories have generally been ignored and silenced by the official historical discourse. The book also demonstrates that the multiple “truths” engendered by this crucial event in India’s history lie along “improbable lines” randomly generated between history, amnesia and memory, between personal drama and collective trauma, loss and rupture, religion and nationalism, and longing and belonging.

    • Film theory & criticism
      December 2006

      Film and Sexual Politics

      by Editor(s): Kylo-Patrick R. Hart

      Film and Sexual Politics: A Critical Reader features a variety of noteworthy critical essays that explore the evolution, representation, and social construction of sex, gender, and sexual orientation from the early days of cinema to the early twenty-first century. This collection investigates the complex relations between film form/style and sexual politics (past and present), as well as the ideological and social ramifications of those relations for the lived realities of individuals in the United States over the course of the twentieth century and beyond. Contrary to popular perceptions of films as relatively simplistic forms of “entertainment,” the essays in this collection demonstrate clearly how the act of producing meaning through the use of cinematic verbal and visual signs is far from a simple process with negligible historical consequences.This book offers insightful and satisfying reading to established and emerging scholars who explore film history, theory, and criticism, as well as to all readers with a general interest in film history and the effects of cinema on individuals and popular culture. The range of films analyzed includes Being John Malkovich, Citizen Kane, Elizabeth, Female Perversions, From Here to Eternity, Gidget, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Jackass the Movie, The Matrix, Maurice, My Own Private Idaho, Porcile, The Road to Ruin, and Wilde.

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