>Paul Newman, 1925-2008

>One of the most intelligent Hollywood actors (and directors) ever, Paul Newman, died last Friday at the age of 83. Newman studied acting at Yale University and, under Lee Strasberg, at the Actors’ Studio in New York City. His first film acting role was in The Silver Chalice (1954), and his career in the movies went on to span six decades.

There’s a report and a good obituary on the BBC website (links HERE and HERE). And below you can find the three sections of a good video overview of Newman’s career, together with that of his partner, Joanne Woodward, who survives him.

YouTube videos posted by Cammie37, respectively HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Paul Newman, 1925-2008

One of the most intelligent Hollywood actors (and directors) ever, Paul Newman, died last Friday at the age of 83. Newman studied acting at Yale University and, under Lee Strasberg, at the Actors’ Studio in New York City. His first film acting role was in The Silver Chalice (1954), and his career in the movies went on to span six decades.

There’s a report and a good obituary on the BBC website (links HERE and HERE). And below you can find the three sections of a good video overview of Newman’s career, together with that of his partner, Joanne Woodward, who survives him.

YouTube videos posted by Cammie37, respectively HERE, HERE, and HERE.

>It’s a Wonderful Point…

>

It’s a Wonderful Life bank run scene, posted on YouTube by NemoPublius (March 30, 2008)

A little bit of … not very scholarly fun, today.

Chris Cagle over on Category D posted very wittily last week about the wonderful things that go on in the media While Rome Burns

Well, exactly a week has gone by since his post, and Rome is still burning, but I just wanted to share an essential link with you to an item from the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, as reported by the BBC website today, which was based on the quintessential ‘film-studies film’, It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, USA, 1946). The BBC page link is HERE; and the related Today programme audio file link HERE).

A little taster:

Russell Taylor, one of the writers of Alex, the cartoon of city life which runs in the Daily Telegraph’s business section, has written his own version of James Stewart’s speech from It’s A Wonderful Life [see video embed and audio file above]. It captures just how Alex Masterley – the caddish hero of the comic strip – would describe the events of the past week.

“So, you want to withdraw the money you deposited with us? Yes, well, I’m afraid we can’t give you back your money because we don’t have it. You see, what happened is that we lent the money you gave us to Joe and the Kennedys and Mrs Maklin to buy houses with, and then we lent them some more money to buy a second property on a buy-to-let basis and a third rental property too and then we lent them some more money against the value of all the various properties that we’d lent them the money to buy, so they could go on a nice holiday…”

And on it goes. Funny stuff. And timely, too. But, as they sometimes say in and around Rome, “Fa caldo…”

It’s a Wonderful Point…

It’s a Wonderful Life bank run scene, posted on YouTube by NemoPublius (March 30, 2008)

A little bit of … not very scholarly fun, today.

Chris Cagle over on Category D posted very wittily last week about the wonderful things that go on in the media While Rome Burns

Well, exactly a week has gone by since his post, and Rome is still burning, but I just wanted to share an essential link with you to an item from the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, as reported by the BBC website today, which was based on the quintessential ‘film-studies film’, It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, USA, 1946). The BBC page link is HERE; and the related Today programme audio file link HERE).

A little taster:

Russell Taylor, one of the writers of Alex, the cartoon of city life which runs in the Daily Telegraph’s business section, has written his own version of James Stewart’s speech from It’s A Wonderful Life [see video embed and audio file above]. It captures just how Alex Masterley – the caddish hero of the comic strip – would describe the events of the past week.

“So, you want to withdraw the money you deposited with us? Yes, well, I’m afraid we can’t give you back your money because we don’t have it. You see, what happened is that we lent the money you gave us to Joe and the Kennedys and Mrs Maklin to buy houses with, and then we lent them some more money to buy a second property on a buy-to-let basis and a third rental property too and then we lent them some more money against the value of all the various properties that we’d lent them the money to buy, so they could go on a nice holiday…”

And on it goes. Funny stuff. And timely, too. But, as they sometimes say in and around Rome, “Fa caldo…”

>More on artists’ film and video: an e-book, and ‘vodcast’ links

>

From Ecology, directed by Sarah Turner, 2007. Photo: Matthew Walter/Sarah Turner

A few more links have been added to Film Studies For Free‘s list of film-scholarly podcasts and videocasts, most notably one to a page on the LUXONLINE site, a brilliant web resource for exploring British based artists’ film and video in-depth (offering critical writing, stills, streaming video clips, and other contextual resources).

The link I’ve just added is to LUXONLINE‘s offering of ‘vodcasts’ of interviews with leading British film artists and curators (link HERE, please note, though, that you need to be registered first with iTunes in order to access almost all of the vodcasts). There are video interviews with Andrew Kötting, Angela Kingston (independent curator), Tina Keane, Ruth Novaczek, Chris Welsby, Alia Syed, Stephen Dwoskin, and Harold Offeh. The latest vodcast is with Sarah Pucill (there’s currently no need for an iTunes account for this one: there’s a direct link HERE)

The LUXONLINE site also has a lot of original artists’ films, or clips from artists’ films, available for viewing in streaming video, so it is well worth taking the time to explore the site properly. You can start your searches for resources by particular artists HERE and for particular streamed films/clips HERE.

There’s another organisation which has even more user-friendly listings to assist with tracking down British-based artists’ film available for viewing more generally on the web (links HERE and HERE). The British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection is a research project led by David Curtis and Steven Ball and based at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London. It focuses in particular on the history of artists’ film and video in Britain.

Like LUXONLINE, the British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection also provides a good collection of freely accessible research papers on artists’ film or by film artists (link HERE), including ones by Malcolm Le Grice and Michael Mazière. There’s also a paper by my friend and former colleague in Film Studies at the University of Kent, Sarah Turner, which sets out some of the conceptual background to her 2007 film Ecology (read a BBC interview HERE), which premiered at last year’s Cambridge Film Festival.

Finally, there’s also a link now in Film Studies For Free‘s ‘Film Open Access e-books’ listing to Gene Youngblood‘s hugely influential and prescient Expanded Cinema, a 444 page book, originally published in 1970 (downloadable in a single .pdf via Ubu.com; and also accessible HERE in separate sections via http://www.vasulka.org/). Expanded Cinema, as the very useful Wikipedia article on it argues, was

the first book to consider video as an art form, [and] was influential in establishing the field of media arts. In the book [Youngblood] argues that a new, expanded cinema is required for a new consciousness. He describes various types of filmmaking utilising new technology, including film special effects, computer art, video art, multi-media environments and holography.

More on artists’ film and video: an e-book, and ‘vodcast’ links

From Ecology, directed by Sarah Turner, 2007. Photo: Matthew Walter/Sarah Turner

A few more links have been added to Film Studies For Free‘s list of film-scholarly podcasts and videocasts, most notably one to a page on the LUXONLINE site, a brilliant web resource for exploring British based artists’ film and video in-depth (offering critical writing, stills, streaming video clips, and other contextual resources).

The link I’ve just added is to LUXONLINE‘s offering of ‘vodcasts’ of interviews with leading British film artists and curators (link HERE, please note, though, that you need to be registered first with iTunes in order to access almost all of the vodcasts). There are video interviews with Andrew Kötting, Angela Kingston (independent curator), Tina Keane, Ruth Novaczek, Chris Welsby, Alia Syed, Stephen Dwoskin, and Harold Offeh. The latest vodcast is with Sarah Pucill (there’s currently no need for an iTunes account for this one: there’s a direct link HERE)

The LUXONLINE site also has a lot of original artists’ films, or clips from artists’ films, available for viewing in streaming video, so it is well worth taking the time to explore the site properly. You can start your searches for resources by particular artists HERE and for particular streamed films/clips HERE.

There’s another organisation which has even more user-friendly listings to assist with tracking down British-based artists’ film available for viewing more generally on the web (links HERE and HERE). The British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection is a research project led by David Curtis and Steven Ball and based at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London. It focuses in particular on the history of artists’ film and video in Britain.

Like LUXONLINE, the British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection also provides a good collection of freely accessible research papers on artists’ film or by film artists (link HERE), including ones by Malcolm Le Grice and Michael Mazière. There’s also a paper by my friend and former colleague in Film Studies at the University of Kent, Sarah Turner, which sets out some of the conceptual background to her 2007 film Ecology (read a BBC interview HERE), which premiered at last year’s Cambridge Film Festival.

Finally, there’s also a link now in Film Studies For Free‘s ‘Film Open Access e-books’ listing to Gene Youngblood‘s hugely influential and prescient Expanded Cinema, a 444 page book, originally published in 1970 (downloadable in a single .pdf via Ubu.com; and also accessible HERE in separate sections via http://www.vasulka.org/). Expanded Cinema, as the very useful Wikipedia article on it argues, was

the first book to consider video as an art form, [and] was influential in establishing the field of media arts. In the book [Youngblood] argues that a new, expanded cinema is required for a new consciousness. He describes various types of filmmaking utilising new technology, including film special effects, computer art, video art, multi-media environments and holography.

>Some Bordwellian inspiration (in blogpost and podcast)

>

The latest blog post by David Bordwell (‘They’re looking for us‘, 19 September 2008) treats the important issue of the reaction shot, a film technique which provides ‘one of the most enjoyable and arousing dimensions of cinematic storytelling’.

Bordwell’s post is, as usual, a remarkable, and beautifully illustrated, piece of digital scholarship which takes us, very entertainingly, from a contemporary example of a reaction shot (drawn from the 2007 film Music and Lyrics, directed by Marc Lawrence), and working thus in the context of what Bordwell considers intensified continuity editing; through Steven Spielberg‘s Jaws (1975), John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow (1986), Carl Dreyer’s La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (1928), and Carol Reed‘s The Third Man, ending up with Road Warrior (1981, aka Mad Max II, directed by George Miller).

Bordwell’s impressive tour of this technique explores the many ways in which the reaction shot instructs us ‘in how to respond to the fictional world as a whole’, as well as cognitive, or neuroscientific, theories of how ‘Reaction shots may gain their strength from not merely our ability to understand facial expressions but the power of facial expressions to trigger in us an echo of the emotion displayed.’

Bordwell concludes his highly informative and enlightening post with characteristic modesty: ‘There’s much more to say about the reaction shot’. He’s right, of course: we might ‘want as well to talk about films that withhold information about characters’ reactions—by using enigmatic or ambiguous reaction shots, or by eliminating reaction shots altogether’. ‘ But it is really difficult to imagine saying anything more, or saying anything in a more illuminating way, in under 2,750 words. With their blog Observations on film art and Film Art, Bordwell, and Kristin Thompson, his partner and frequent co-writer, have very much perfected the art of concise and scholarly digital communication.

We must be very thankful, thus, that both of them came to be inspired by the possibilities for the creation and dissemination of new film scholarship which are offered by the internet, in general, and by weblogging, in particular. There’s a great podcast in which Bordwell talks about this very topic (recorded in January 2007), which is very much worth checking out. It’s accessible HERE at Zoom in Online (be warned that you have to endure a short advert, and not-the-best audio quality, though).

[Note added on September 8, 2008: Check out a fascinating, subsequent post on reaction shots – ‘Non-Reaction Shots’ on the great blog IScreen Studies, by Ben Goldsmith, who reacts very productively indeed to Bordwell’s thoughts]

Some Bordwellian inspiration (in blogpost and podcast)

The latest blog post by David Bordwell (‘They’re looking for us‘, 19 September 2008) treats the important issue of the reaction shot, a film technique which provides ‘one of the most enjoyable and arousing dimensions of cinematic storytelling’.

Bordwell’s post is, as usual, a remarkable, and beautifully illustrated, piece of digital scholarship which takes us, very entertainingly, from a contemporary example of a reaction shot (drawn from the 2007 film Music and Lyrics, directed by Marc Lawrence), and working thus in the context of what Bordwell considers intensified continuity editing; through Steven Spielberg‘s Jaws (1975), John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow (1986), Carl Dreyer’s La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (1928), and Carol Reed‘s The Third Man, ending up with Road Warrior (1981, aka Mad Max II, directed by George Miller).

Bordwell’s impressive tour of this technique explores the many ways in which the reaction shot instructs us ‘in how to respond to the fictional world as a whole’, as well as cognitive, or neuroscientific, theories of how ‘Reaction shots may gain their strength from not merely our ability to understand facial expressions but the power of facial expressions to trigger in us an echo of the emotion displayed.’

Bordwell concludes his highly informative and enlightening post with characteristic modesty: ‘There’s much more to say about the reaction shot’. He’s right, of course: we might ‘want as well to talk about films that withhold information about characters’ reactions—by using enigmatic or ambiguous reaction shots, or by eliminating reaction shots altogether’. ‘ But it is really difficult to imagine saying anything more, or saying anything in a more illuminating way, in under 2,750 words. With their blog Observations on film art and Film Art, Bordwell, and Kristin Thompson, his partner and frequent co-writer, have very much perfected the art of concise and scholarly digital communication.

We must be very thankful, thus, that both of them came to be inspired by the possibilities for the creation and dissemination of new film scholarship which are offered by the internet, in general, and by weblogging, in particular. There’s a great podcast in which Bordwell talks about this very topic (recorded in January 2007), which is very much worth checking out. It’s accessible HERE at Zoom in Online (be warned that you have to endure a short advert, and not-the-best audio quality, though).

[Note added on September 8, 2008: Check out a fascinating, subsequent post on reaction shots – ‘Non-Reaction Shots’ on the great blog IScreen Studies, by Ben Goldsmith, who reacts very productively indeed to Bordwell’s thoughts]

>More great Film Studies podcasts: Pinewood Dialogues

>I just came across another great, free source of podcasts of film scholarly note, via the wonderful Museum of the Moving Image‘s  Moving Image Source website, where I was checking out a girish recommendation for the publication of September articles.

The podcasts are accessible via a Moving Image Source page called Pinewood Dialogues (‘Selected Conversations with Innovative and Influential Creative Figures in Film, TV, and Digital Media’). There are some 73 podcasts currently posted, of interviews with, and dialogues between, filmmakers and other creative folk, including the likes of Werner Herzog and Jonathan Demme, Stan Brakhage, Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker, Michael Powell, Patricia Rozema, George A. Romero, Fernando Meirelles and Rachel Weisz,  and François Ozon, among many others.

More great Film Studies podcasts: Pinewood Dialogues

I just came across another great, free source of podcasts of film scholarly note, via the wonderful Museum of the Moving Image‘s  Moving Image Source website, where I was checking out a girish recommendation for the publication of September articles.

The podcasts are accessible via a Moving Image Source page called Pinewood Dialogues (‘Selected Conversations with Innovative and Influential Creative Figures in Film, TV, and Digital Media’). There are some 73 podcasts currently posted, of interviews with, and dialogues between, filmmakers and other creative folk, including the likes of Werner Herzog and Jonathan Demme, Stan Brakhage, Martin Scorsese, Thelma Schoonmaker, Michael Powell, Patricia Rozema, George A. Romero, Fernando Meirelles and Rachel Weisz,  and François Ozon, among many others.