New CINEPHILE 8.2 on Contemporary Extremism


The Future of Cinema: Discussion with David Bordwell, Simon Field, Andréa Picard and Alan Franey

A very quick post at Film Studies For Free today to bring you a fascinating futurological film and film studies resource: the video of a very well informed panel discussion on where cinema is going.

It features, among others, film scholar extraordinaire David Bordwell, who, as a phenomenal researcher of (practically) the entirety of cinema’s past and present, is definitely one of the best qualified people in the world to comment on cinema’s future.

The video is a must see if you’re interested in the future of film technologies of production and especially of distribution and exhibition. It is part of the 2011 Vancouver International Film Festival collection at Vimeo.

Future of Cinema – Looking Forward After 30 Years
Event description:

The first few chapter headings in a film we did not program at this year’s [Vancouver International Film Festival] VIFF are: “Technology Is Great”, “The Industry Is Dead”, “Artists Have the Power”, and “The Craft Is Gone.” To which celluloid-loving film festival organizers might ask: Is it? Do they? Where on earth are we headed? And why?

VIFF has come a long way in its 30 years and never has the future of cinema–and VIFF‘s future–been more uncertain. Will it be bright and splendid and fair or will it move so quickly that a great deal of what is valuable will be lost before we know it? There are now dramatically more “film festivals” and “films” being made than ever, yet some fear that the industry may be dead. Filmmakers are acutely worried for funding, yet need to operate on a growing number of fronts. Given that the numbers of hours in a day and the numbers of days in a life remain fixed, what limits should we council for our own appetites? Why might we miss the Hollywood Theatre and Videomatica? Given that cultural agencies seemingly have shrinking resources but more new media and film festival applicants every year, will the centres hold or is babble ascendant? Will VIFF‘s function as an annual international universalist festival be superseded by myriad niche events?

Technology is indeed great in that it has put the means of creative motion picture production in almost everyone’s hands, but will the best artists be the ones to be recognized? The entrepreneurial spirit tends to favour change in hopes that it may profit from it, but will artists have the power? When entrepreneurs benefit, will consumers benefit? Will cultural institutions that have taken years to build remain viable? Will cinema, metrics of quality and craftsmanship and, ultimately, quality of life be improved or even be sustainable? What do you personally care about for the future of cinema to offer? What should VIFF 2020 aim to be?

Here to wrestle with these sorts of questions—and yours—will be a distinguished group of panellists including: David Bordwell, film critic, academic and author of numerous books on cinema; Simon Field, film producer and former Director, International Film Festival Rotterdam; Andréa Picard, film critic and programmer, formerly of the Toronto International Film Festival and the Cinémathèque Ontario; Tom Charity, film critic and Vancity Theatre program coordinator; and Alan Franey, director, Vancouver International Film Festival.

Articles from the New Review of Film and Television Studies

Images from The Story of Adèle H. (François Truffaut, 1975) and The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993) – two films referred to in Agustín Zarzosa’s article ‘Jane Campion’s The Piano: melodrama as mode of exchange

Film Studies For Free was very happy to hear that the excellent journal New Review of Film and Television Studies is now offering free access to a great selection of essays, including a recent offering by Thomas Elsaesser on Avatar, and translations from Christian Metz‘s book Impersonal Enunciation.

As well as the marvellous aforementioned items, FSFF also highly recommends the articles by Mette Kramer and Agustín Zarzosa.

All freely accessible material is linked to below. 

>Horror Ad-Nauseam!


Image from Pontypool (Bruce McDonald, 2009) Read Adam Nayman‘s essay on this ‘semiotic zombie film’ at ReverseShot, as well as Steen Christiansen’s article linked to below.

Film Studies For Free has been somewhat stopped in its tracks by an unseasonal cold. But, sustained by its usual missionary zeal for Open Access film and moving image studies, it rises zombie-like (see above) from its sick bed to bring you news of the latest issue of excellent online journal Cinephile (Vol. 6 No. 2 Fall 2010) on ‘Horror Ad-Nauseam’ (note: link to a very large PDF file, as are all the links below).

Normal FSFF service will resume on Thursday…

>In-Sight from Excursions: action movies, neuroscience, dreamscapes, intermediality and spectatorship


Bruce Willis as John McClane in Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)

The image seems to be a way of marking such a potential separation between exterior and interior while belonging to both. Moreover, that condition of holding ‘in sight’, as a means of externalisation as belonging to the image, is realised in the easy conceptual slippage from ‘in sight’ to ‘insight’- originally ‘internal sight’ or seeing with the eyes of the mind, that later becomes a seeing into a thing or subject. To bring an object within sight is to affect the ‘inner eye’, to re-formulate the relationship of the visible to the invisible, presence to absence.  Lindsay Smith, ‘Foreword: In-Sight’, Excursions, Vol. 1, Issue 1 (June 2010), i-ii

Thanks to the regular updates to Jurn, the excellent search-engine that Film Studies For Free uses in its every waking hour (and then dreams of every night), FSFF found its way to a newish e-journal — Excursions — with a first issue replete with interesting and, yes, insightful items on film.

Its Mission Statement reads as follows:

Excursions is an invitation to journey into the unfamiliar, a space in which to reflect upon the travels of concepts, beyond the boundaries of one’s discipline. An on-line peer-reviewed journal, Excursions is designed to showcase high-quality, innovative and inventive postgraduate research. Run by postgraduates in the School of English at the University of Sussex, we aim to encourage work that plays with the permeable nature of academic disciplines. As such, our interest lies in the interdisciplinary. Each issue of the journal has a theme which contributors can interpret as they see fit. We welcome critical papers or creative pieces and seek to place cultural, political, artistic and scientific discourses together in surprising combinations and illuminating moments of collision.

And here is the table of contents:


Concordia cinema studies resources freely accessible online

The woman at the window: image from Jane Campion‘s Bright Star (2009); a trope explored in Julianne Pidduck‘s PhD thesis on the costume film now accessible online

Film Studies For Free was excited to hear last week that Concordia University has launched its online Institutional Research Repository Spectrum, with 6,000 full-text theses and dissertations. It was excited because it knows that based at Concordia is the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema of the Faculty of Fine Arts, the largest, university centre for the study of film animation, film production and film studies in Canada.

FSFF also specifically knew that highly significant Canadian scholars, such as Julianne Pidduck (now a professor at the Université de Montréal) and André Habib (also at the Université de Montréal) had produced graduate theses there.

So, it is delighted to bring you the below links to the fabulous (mostly) Film Studies thesis resources accessible via the repository, including ones by Pidduck on the costume film (and also on contemporary film noir), Habib’s brilliant francophone thesis on Jean-Luc Godard, and great work by other (now) well-known scholars such as Liz Czach.

Film International for free – Lynch, Kieślowśki, Gomorrah, Brokeback Mountain, Tearoom, and Caché

Still from Tearoom (William E Jones, 1962/2007)

A very busy Film Studies For Free has just got round to reading yet another of Intellect‘s freely accessible journal issues: Film International (Volume: 7 | Issue: 1 February 2009). This was an excellent, highly stimulating read indeed. Below are links to all the main articles. FSFF particularly enjoyed the essays by Orr, Supanick, Sharrett and Ogrodnik.

Michael Snow videos and links

My paintings are done by a filmmaker, sculpture by a musician, films by a painter, music by a filmmaker, paintings by a sculptor, sculpture by a filmmaker, films by a musician, music by a sculptor … sometimes they all work together. (Michael Snow)

[N]o other artist has done so much to destabilise our approximation of the visible than Michael Snow. By threatening the very tools we rely on to process what we perceive, the artist creates unnerving yet frequently poetic works. His avant-garde film-making is less about a way of understanding the camera as a device for recording than as an instrument whose structural, material properties can form the main focus of the work. (Tim Clarke)

Today, Film Studies For Free brings you another video gem from the Tate Channel in which the highly distinguished Canadian artist Michael Snow, one of the most influential experimental filmmakers (including of such masterworks as Wavelength [1967)], La Région Centrale [1971], and *Corpus Callosum [2002]) discusses his work. Snow, who will reach the grand old age of 80 this December, gave this illustrated talk at the Tate Modern in London on October 26, 2001, on the occasion of a major retrospective of his work that year at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol. The talk, a very detailed and insightful revisiting of the entirety of his work to that point, lasts just under two hours.

Here also, as is FSFF‘s wont, are links to further wonderful, freely accessible, online, scholarly Michael Snow resources. Below the list are two other embedded videos: the first, a ten minute overview of Snow’s work; the second, a video version of Snow’s 1967 experimental film Wavelength (please read the comments on this post for a discussion of the ethics of reproducing this very poor copy of the film):