• The Arts
      November 2019

      Masks in Horror Cinema

      Eyes Without Faces

      by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

      Why has the mask been such an enduring generic motif in horror cinema? This book explores its transformative potential historically across myriad cultures, particularly in relation to its ritual and myth-making capacities, and its intersection with power, ideology and identity. All of these factors have a direct impact on mask-centric horror cinema: meanings, values and rituals associated with masks evolve and are updated in horror cinema to reflect new contexts, rendering the mask a persistent, meaningful and dynamic aspect of the genre’s iconography. This study debates horror cinema’s durability as a site for the potency of the mask’s broader symbolic power to be constantly re-explored, re-imagined and re-invented as an object of cross-cultural and ritual significance that existed long before the moving image culture of cinema.

    • Film theory & criticism
      July 2015

      Downtown Film and TV Culture

      1975–2001

      by Hawkins, Joan

      Downtown Film and TV Culture 1975-2001 brings together essays by film-makers, exhibitors, cultural critics, and scholars from multiple generations of the New York Downtown scene to illuminate individual films and film-makers and explore the creation of a Downtown Canon, the impact of AIDS on younger film-makers, community access to cable television broadcasts, and the impact of the historic Downtown scene on contemporary experimental culture. The book includes J. Hoberman’s essay ‘No Wavelength: The Parapunk Underground,’ as well as historical essays by Tony Conrad and Lynne Tillman, interviews with film-makers Bette Gordon and Beth B, and essays by Ivan Kral and Nick Zedd.

    • Film theory & criticism
      October 2015

      Australian Film Theory and Criticism

      Volume 2 Interviews

      by King, Noel

      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.

    • Film theory & criticism
      May 2015

      Inclusion in New Danish Cinema

      Sexuality and Transnational Belonging

      by Shriver-Rice, Meryl

      Often recognized as one of the happiest countries in the world, Denmark, like its Scandinavian neighbours, is known for its progressive culture, which is also reflected in its national cinema. It is not surprising, then, that Danish film boasts as many successful women film directors as men and the highest number of women directors of any national cinema, uses scripts that are often co-written by both the director and the screenwriter, and produces among the highest numbers of queer films directed by and starring women. Inclusion in New Danish Cinema offers the film industry and the general public an opportunity to glimpse the power of digital filmmaking as both a vehicle for self-reflexive emotional release, and as a locus for the negotiation of contemporary social, political and aesthetic issues. In a period of transnational, post-closeted, post-feminist and multicultural transition, Danish fiction films are showcasing the contestations of a society undergoing the impacts of globalization and shifting cultural norms. In particular, these films speak to an impatient screen-oriented culture that is becoming increasingly difficult to engage. Despite all this, Danish film is not widely written about, especially in English. Inclusion in New Danish Cinema brings this vibrant culture to Englishlanguage audiences. Meryl Shriver-Rice argues that Denmark has demonstrated that film can reinforce cultural ethics and political values while also navigating the ongoing and mounting forces of digital communication and globalization.

    • Film theory & criticism
      June 2014

      Real Objects in Unreal Situations

      Modern Art in Fiction Films

      by Felleman, Susan

      Real Objects in Unreal Situations is a lucid account of a much-neglected subject in art and cinema studies: the material significance of the art object incorporated into the fiction film. By examining the historical, political, and personal realities that situate the artworks, Susan Felleman offers an incisive account of how they operate not as mere objects but as powerful players within the films, thereby exceeding the narrative function of props, copies, pastiches, or reproductions. The book consists of a series of interconnected case studies of movies, including The Trouble with Harry, An Unmarried Woman, The Player, and Pride & Prejudice, among others, ultimately showing that when real art works enter into fiction films, they often embody themes and discourses in ways that other objects cannot.

    • Film theory & criticism
      December 2014

      The Visceral Screen

      Between the Cinemas of John Cassavetes and David Cronenberg

      by Furze, Robert

      Robert Furze argues the defining characteristic of John Cassavetes and David Cronenberg’s respective approaches is that of “visceral” cinema, a term that illustrates the anxiety these film-makers provoke in their audiences. Cassavetes demonstrates this through disregard for plot structure and character coherence, while Cronenberg’s focus is on graphic depictions of mutilation, extreme forms of bodily transformation, and violence. Cassavetes and Cronenberg are established auteurs, but the elements of their films that appear to be barriers to their artistic status, for example, slipshod method and lingering violence or pre-digital special effects, are reassessed here as indicators of creativity. In this way, Furze encourages debates of what makes a film good or bad.

    • Film theory & criticism
      December 2014

      The Roots of Modern Hollywood

      The Persistence of Values in American Cinema, from the New Deal to the Present

      by Smedley, Nick

      In this insightful study of Hollywood cinema since 1969, film historian Nick Smedley traces the cultural and intellectual heritage of American films, showing how recent Hollywood movies owe a profound debt to the liberal values of New Deal cinema. Hollywood cinema is not usually thought of as politically or socially engaged, but the author argues that it is, in fact, one of the most value-laden of all national cinemas. Drawing on a long historical view of persistent themes in Hollywood cinema, Smedley demonstrates how film-makers in America continue to explore the balance between unbridled capitalism and a more socially-engaged liberalism. He also brings out the persistence of pacifism in Hollywood’s consideration of American foreign policy in Vietnam and the Middle East. His third theme concerns the belated acceptance by the film community of the post-feminist American woman. Featuring important new interviews with Michael Mann, Peter Weir, Paul Haggis, and Tony Gilroy, The Roots of Modern Hollywood is an incisive account of where Hollywood is today, and the path it has taken to get there.

    • Film theory & criticism
      January 2015

      Rhetoric of Modern Death in American Living Dead Films

      by Hakola, Outi

      Zombies, vampires and mummies are frequent stars of American horror films. But what does their cinematic omnipresence, and audiences’ hunger for such films, tell us about American views of death? In this book, Outi Hakola investigates the ways in which American living dead films have addressed death through different narrative and rhetorical solutions during the twentieth century. She focuses on films from the 1930s, including Dracula, The Mummy and White Zombie, films of the 1950s and 1960s such as Night of the Living Dead and The Return of Dracula, as well as more recent fare like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Mummy (1999) and Resident Evil. In doing so, the book frames the tradition of living dead films, discusses the cinematic processes of addressing the films’ viewers, and analyzes the films’ sociocultural negotiation with death in this specific genre.

    • Film theory & criticism
      December 2014

      Lure of the Big Screen

      Cinema in Rural Australia and the United Kingdom

      by Aveyard, Karina

      Lure of the Big Screen explores film exhibition and consumption in rural parts of the UK and Australia, where film theatres are often highly valued as spaces around which isolated communities can gather and interact. Going beyond national borders, this book examines how theatres in areas of social and economic decline are sustained by resourceful individuals and sub-commercial operating structures. Systematic analysis of cinemas in non-metropolitan locations has yielded an original five-tiered clustering model through which Karina Aveyard recognizes a range of types between large commercial multiplexes in stable regional centres and their smallest improvised counterparts in remote settlements.

    • Film theory & criticism
      December 2014

      (Re)viewing Creative, Critical and Commercial Practices in Contemporary Spanish Cinema

      by Wheeler, Duncan

      Formulated around a number of key thematic concerns – including new creative trends; the politics and practices of memory; auteurship, genre, and stardom in a transnational age – this reassessment of contemporary Spanish cinema from 1992 to 2012 brings leading academics from a broad range of disciplinary and geographical backgrounds into dialogue with critically and commercially successful practitioners to suggest the need to redefine the parameters of one of the world’s most creative national cinemas. This volume will appeal not only to students and scholars of Spanish films, but also to anyone with an interest in contemporary world cinema.

    • Film theory & criticism
      February 2015

      Immigration Cinema in the New Europe

      by Ballesteros, Isolina

      Immigration Cinema in the New Europe examines a variety of films from the early 1990s that depict and address the lives and identities of both first-generation immigrants and children of the diaspora in Europe. Whether they are authored by immigrants themselves or by white Europeans who use the resources and means of production of dominant cinema to politically engage with the immigrants’ predicaments, these films, Isolina Ballesteros shows, are unmappable—a condition resulting from immigration cinema’s re-combination and deliberate blurring of filmic conventions pertaining to two or more genres. In an age of globalization and increased migration, this book theorizes immigration cinema in relation to notions such as gender, hybridity, transculturation, border crossing, transnationalism, and translation.

    • Film theory & criticism
      June 2015

      Film on the Faultline

      by Wright, Alan

      Film has always played a crucial role in the imagination of disaster. The earthquake, especially, transforms our understanding of the limits and possibilities of cinema, as well as of life itself. After major quakes in countries as dissimilar as Japan, Chile, Iran and New Zealand, film-makers have responded with films that challenge ingrained social, political, ethical and philosophical categories of thinking and being in the world. Film on the Faultline explores the fractious relationship between cinema and seismic experience and addresses the important role that cinema can play in the wake of such events.

    • Film theory & criticism
      October 2018

      Napoli/New York/Hollywood

      Film between Italy and the United States

      by Muscio, Giuliana

      Napoli/New York/Hollywood is an absorbing investigation of the significant impact that Italian immigrant actors, musicians, and directors—and the southern Italian stage traditions they embodied—have had on the history of Hollywood cinema and American media, from 1895 to the present day. In a unique exploration of the transnational communication between American and Italian film industries, media or performing arts as practiced in Naples, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, this groundbreaking book looks at the historical context and institutional film history from the illuminating perspective of the performers themselves—the workers who lend their bodies and their performance culture to screen representations. In doing so, the author brings to light the cultural work of families and generations of artists that have contributed not only to American film culture, but also to the cultural construction and evolution of “Italian-ness” over the past century. Napoli/New York/Hollywood offers a major contribution to our understanding of the role of southern Italian culture in American cinema, from the silent era to contemporary film. Using a provocative interdisciplinary approach, the author associates southern Italian culture with modernity and the immigrants’ preservation of cultural traditions with innovations in the mode of production and in the use of media technologies (theatrical venues, music records, radio, ethnic films). Each chapter synthesizes a wealth of previously under-studied material and displays the author’s exceptional ability to cover transnational cinematic issues within an historical context. For example, her analysis of the period from the end of World War I until the beginning of sound in film production in the end of the 1920s, delivers a meaningful revision of the relationship between Fascism and American cinema, and Italian emigration. Napoli/New York/Hollywood examines the careers of those Italian performers who were Italian not only because of their origins but because their theatrical culture was Italian, a culture that embraced high and low, tragedy and comedy, music, dance and even acrobatics, naturalism, and improvisation. Their previously unexplored story—that of the Italian diaspora’s influence on American cinema—is here meticulously reconstructed through rich primary sources, deep archival research, extensive film analysis, and an enlightening series of interviews with heirs to these traditions, including Francis Coppola and his sister Talia Shire, John Turturro, Nancy Savoca, James Gandolfini, David Chase, Joe Dante, and Annabella Sciorra.

    • The Arts
      April 2018

      Front Lines of Community

      Hollywood Between War and Democracy

      by Hermann Kappelhoff

      Based on the premise that a society’s sense of commonality depends upon media practices, this study examines how Hollywood responded to the crisis of democracy during the Second World War by creating a new genre - the war film. Developing an affective theory of genre cinema, the study’s focus on the sense of commonality offers a new characterization of the relationship between politics and poetics. It shows how the diverse ramifications of genre poetics can be explored as a network of experiental modalities that make history graspable as a continuous process of delineating the limits of community.

    • The Arts
      May 2019

      Tempi der Bewegung – Modi des Gefühls

      Expressivität, heitere Affekte und die Screwball Comedy

      by Sarah Greifenstein

      Wie ist die zeitliche Gestaltung audiovisueller Bilder mit den verschiedenen Modi des Zuschauergefühls verbunden? Am Gegenstand der Screwball Comedy wird diese Frage erörtert: Die Filme des klassischen Hollywood-Genres der 1930er und 1940er präsentieren rasante Gespräche, Schlagabtausch, Wortwitz und Sprachakrobatik einer Paarinteraktion. Komik und Heiterkeit werden in erster Linie dadurch gestaltet, wie Gesten, Mimiken, Stimmen und Redeäußerungen zeitlich in das filmische Bild eingebettet sind. Vor diesem Hintergrund wird erörtert, welcher grundsätzliche Zusammenhang zwischen Bewegungsqualitäten und Affektivität besteht bzw. wie die zeitliche Gestaltung audiovisueller Bilder mit den verschiedenen Modi des Zuschauergefühls verbunden ist. In den Screwball Comedies ist das Empfinden oftmals kontrastiv-komisch gestaltet: Interaktionen von Streit und Wut werden als eleganter Tanz einer Paarbewegung wahrnehmbar. Durch diese Perspektive wird das Verhältnis von Sprachäußerung, Schauspiel und Filmbild sehr grundsätzlich befragt. Das heitere Zuschauergenießen ist weniger an narrative Handlungen gebunden als an ästhetisch-expressive Orchestrierungen, Taktungen und verkörperte Bedeutungen.

    • The Arts
      October 2018

      Pictorial Affects, Senses of Rupture

      On the Poetics and Culture of Popular German Cinema, 1910-1930

      by Michael Wedel

      German film in the Wilhelmine and Weimar periods is regarded as marked by a strong sense of cultural conservatism and the aspiration to be recognized as an art form. This book takes an alternative approach to the history of German cinema from the emergence of the early feature film to the transition to sound by focusing on the poetics of popular genres such as the disaster film, melodrama, the musical and the war film, exploring their cultural reverberations and modes of audience address. Based on the assumption that popular cinema contributed immensely to the breakthrough of a modern audiovisual "culture of the senses" in Germany between 1910 and 1930, Pictorial Affects, Senses of Rupture offers close readings of a number of rarely analyzed films, including one of the first cinematic adaptations of the Titanic disaster from 1912 and the German version of All Quiet on the Western Front from 1930. Restoring the films' horizons of historicity by locating them at crucial points of intersection between social, cultural, technological and aesthetic discourses, this book argues for the prominent role popular German cinema’s own forms of discursivity have played within the historical formation of modernity.

    • The Arts
      March 2018

      Dream and Reality among Light and Shadow: The Code of Cannes Film Festival

      by Zheng Shi

      This title chooses 40 winners of Cannes Film Festival to introduce and analyze to the readers. The author not only gives thorough representation of these classical works, but also express his own ideas about good films, the standard and core spirit of Cannes Film Festival.

    • Film theory & criticism
      October 2018

      Napoli/New York/Hollywood

      Film between Italy and the United States

      by Muscio, Giuliana

      Napoli/New York/Hollywood is an absorbing investigation of the significant impact that Italian immigrant actors, musicians, and directors—and the southern Italian stage traditions they embodied—have had on the history of Hollywood cinema and American media, from 1895 to the present day. In a unique exploration of the transnational communication between American and Italian film industries, media, or performing arts as practiced in Naples, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, this groundbreaking book looks at the historical context and institutional film history from the illuminating perspective of the performers themselves—the workers who lend their bodies and their performance culture to screen representations. In doing so, the author brings to light the cultural work of families and generations of artists that have contributed not only to American film culture, but also to the cultural construction and evolution of “Italian-ness” over the past century. Napoli/New York/Hollywood offers a major contribution to our understanding of the role of southern Italian culture in American cinema, from the silent era to contemporary film. Using a provocative interdisciplinary approach, the author associates southern Italian culture with modernity and the immigrants’ preservation of cultural traditions with innovations in the mode of production and in the use of media technologies (theatrical venues, music records, radio, ethnic films). Each chapter synthesizes a wealth of previously under-studied material and displays the author’s exceptional ability to cover transnational cinematic issues within an historical context. For example, her analysis of the period from the end of World War I until the beginning of sound in film production in the end of the 1920s, delivers a meaningful revision of the relationship between Fascism and American cinema, and Italian emigration. Napoli/New York/Hollywood examines the careers of those Italian performers who were Italian not only because of their origins—their blood—but because their theatrical culture was Italian, a culture that embraced high and low, tragedy and comedy, music, dance and even acrobatics, naturalism, and improvisation. Their previously unexplored story—that of the Italian diaspora’s influence on American cinema—is here meticulously reconstructed through rich primary sources, deep archival research, extensive film analysis, and an enlightening series of interviews with heirs to these traditions, including Francis Coppola and his sister Talia Shire, John Turturro, Nancy Savoca, James Gandolfini, David Chase, Joe Dante, and Annabella Sciorra.

    • Film theory & criticism
      October 2018

      Napoli/New York/Hollywood

      Film between Italy and the United States

      by Muscio, Giuliana

      Napoli/New York/Hollywood investigates the work of Italian immigrant performers and the impact of the traditions of the Italian stage within the history of Hollywood cinema and of American media from 1895 to today. The book discusses the historical context and institutional film history, from the perspective of the performers–the workers, who lend their bodies and their performance culture to screen representations. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the book associates Southern Italian culture with Modernity and the immigrants’ preservation of cultural traditions with innovations in the mode of production and in the use of media technologies (theatrical venues, music records, radio, ethnic films.) It deeply revises the relation between fascism and American cinema, and Italian emigration. The book examines the careers of those Italian performers who were not only born in Italy or were of Italian descent, but came either from the immigrant or the Italian stage, in order to be able to credit their influence on a cultural level. This unknown story is reconstructed through primary sources and extensive film-viewing, in addition to a series of interviews with heirs to these traditions, such as Francis Coppola and his sister Talia Shire, John Turturro, Nancy Savoca, James Gandolfini, David Chase, Joe Dante, and Annabella Sciorra.

    • Film theory & criticism
      October 2018

      Napoli/New York/Hollywood

      Film between Italy and the United States

      by Muscio, Giuliana

      Napoli/New York/Hollywood investigates the work of Italian immigrant performers and the impact of the traditions of the Italian stage within the history of Hollywood cinema and of American media from 1895 to today. The book discusses the historical context and institutional film history, from the perspective of the performers–the workers, who lend their bodies and their performance culture to screen representations. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the book associates Southern Italian culture with Modernity and the immigrants’ preservation of cultural traditions with innovations in the mode of production and in the use of media technologies (theatrical venues, music records, radio, ethnic films.) It deeply revises the relation between fascism and American cinema, and Italian emigration. The book examines the careers of those Italian performers who were not only born in Italy or were of Italian descent, but came either from the immigrant or the Italian stage, in order to be able to credit their influence on a cultural level. This unknown story is reconstructed through primary sources and extensive film-viewing, in addition to a series of interviews with heirs to these traditions, such as Francis Coppola and his sister Talia Shire, John Turturro, Nancy Savoca, James Gandolfini, David Chase, Joe Dante, and Annabella Sciorra.

    Subscribe to our newsletter