|Open Lecture and Workshop by FSFF‘s very own author|
First of all, Film Studies For Free wanted to toot on its own trumpet today.
On Friday, its author will present at an event exploring the rapidly increasing take up in scholarly and online film studies of the distinct research methods of the digital humanities.
In the lecture that will open the event, she will explore whether and, if so, how these contexts and methods with their digital, multimedia tools and techniques (such as online film and film culture archiving, mining and metrics, digital video essays, digital publishing and networking) may be enabling productive moves away from the existing paradigms of purely text-based, or ‘traditional’ offline research, scholarship and pedagogy. The focus in the main workshop part of the event will be on the film studies video essay form, that is, on the practice of using film as the medium of its own study and criticism.
A written version of the talk will be published online later this year as part of a wide ranging edited collection, with contributions by world-leading scholars and critics, on related aspects of the same important topics. This collection, commissioned, assembled and guest-edited by FSFF‘s supremo, will form the inaugural issue of a brand new, Open Access journal hosted by a certain Film Studies department in one of the UK’s oldest and most revered universities. FSFF will bring you more precise, less teasing, news of this in due course….
But, staying with the digital theme, today’s FSFF post also brings you rather more immediately phenomenal news of and links to David Bordwell‘s recent and hugely important online series of studies of the transition to digital cinematic projection at his and Kristin Thompson’s peerless film studies website Observations on Film Art.
Not only are these unmissable discussions in their own right but they make themselves even more indispensable by linking to numerous further essential resources on these questions.
Below the list of links to these entries, for your convenience, FSFF has re-embedded the great videoed discussion of digital conversion issues in the film distribution and exhibition contexts at the Vancouver International Film Festival to which Bordwell and other luminaries contribute brilliantly.
- Pandora’s digital box: In the multiplex December 1, 2011
- Pandora’s digital box: The last 35 picture show December 15, 2011
- Pandora’s digital box: At the festival January 5, 2012
- Pandora’s digital box: From the periphery to the center, or the one of many centers January 11, 2012
- Pandora’s digital box: Art house, smart house January 30, 2012
- Pandora’s digital box: Pix and pixels February 13, 2012
- Pandora’s digital box: Notes on NOCs [Network Operations Centers] February 16, 2012
- Pandora’s digital box:from Films to Files February 28, 2012
Future of Cinema – Looking Forward After 30 Years
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.
Not since its December 2008 blog entry A-Z of Favourite Scholarly Film and Moving Image Blogs has the otherwise intrepid Film Studies For Free ventured into the rather crowded, online territory of end-of-year lists.
But, as it signs off on its seasonal break until the first few days of 2012, FSFF thought the time was right for a listing of links to its favourite, openly accessible, online Film Studies resources in 2011.
Thanks so much to all who worked hard to bring you these openly accessible treasures in the first place. And thanks also, dear readers, for being there to appreciate them.
FSFF very much looks forward to seeing you again in the New Year.
- Top seven film and moving image studies history resources online in 2011:
- The Colonial Film Project archive plus two freely accessible chapters by those involved in the project: Lee Grieveson and Colin MacCabe (eds), Empire and Film (BFI/Palgrave, 2011) and 32 sample pages; and Lee Grieveson and Colin MacCabe (eds), Film and the End of Empire (BFI/Palgrave, 2011) and 25 sample pages
- Media History Digital Library
- The Turconi Project
- EU Screen
- European Film Gateway
- The Permanent Seminar on Histories of Film Theories
- The Kracauer Lectures website
- Top five, most consistently brilliant Film Studies bloggers:
- David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson for Observations on Film Art
- Luke McKernan for The Bioscope (also see McKernan’s two new ScoopIt! projects: The Bioscope and Screen Research)
- Roland-François Lack for The Cine-Tourist, The Daily Map and The BlowUp Moment (also see The Autopsies Group website) and also on Twitter
- Dan North for Spectacular Attractions (also see The Cinema of Puppetry) and also on Twitter
- Tie between Michael J. Anderson and Lisa K. Broad for Tativille and Ten Best Films; and Omar Ahmed for Ellipsis
- Best new Film Studies blog: Katherine Groo’s Half/Films
- Best ‘media studies approaches to film and moving image studies’ blog – tie between:
- Just TV by Jason Mittell (also on Twitter)
- Celebrity Gossip, Academic Style by Anne Helen Petersen (also on Twitter)
- The Chutry Experiment by Chuck Tryon (also on Twitter)
- The Negarponti Files by Negar Mottahedeh (also on Twitter and Facebook)
- Most consistently original, Film and Moving Image Studies writer active online – a tie between:
- Adrian Martin (e.g. see all the links here)
- Nicholas Rombes (e.g. see here and here)
- Amanda Ann Klein (also see here)
- David Bordwell
- Kristin Thompson (also see here and here)
- Jeffrey Sconce (also see here)
- Best Film Studies informed, commercial film criticism website: Alternate Takes
- Best new online film journal in 2011 – a tie between:
- LOLA edited by Adrian Martin and Girish Shambu
- ALPHAVILLE edited by Laura Rascaroli and others at the University of Cork
- JOAN’S DIGEST edited by Miriam Bale
- Best recently established online academic Film Studies journal: MOVIE: A Journal of Film Criticism
- Top twelve established, online, (mostly) English language, Film Studies journals:
- Screening the Past
- Jump Cut
- Senses of Cinema
- Bright Lights Film Journal
- La Furia Umana
- World Picture Journal
- For links to one hundred more journals (including some brilliant, primarily non-English language journals, like Transit: Cine…, see here)
- Most generous, Open Access Film Studies author: Thomas Elsaesser for the below freely accessible e-books and for the hundreds of further resources linked to from his website:
- Elsaesser, Thomas (ed), A Second Life : German Cinema’s First Decades (Amsterdam University Press, 1996)
- Elsaesser, Thomas (ed), Harun Farocki: Working on the Sight-Lines (Amsterdam University Press, 2004)
- Elsaesser, Thomas, Jan Simons, Lucette Bronk (eds), Writing for the Medium: Television in transition (Amsterdam University Press, 2004)
- Elsaesser, Thomas, European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood (Amsterdam University Press, 2005)
- Elsaesser, Thomas, Fassbinder’s Germany: History, Identity, Subject (Amsterdam University Press, 1996)
- Elsaesser, Thomas, Noel King, Alexander Horwath (eds), The Last Great American Picture Show: New Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s (Amsterdam University Press, 2004)
- Best online cinephile news and criticism site: MUBI Notebook (thanks so much to David Hudson and Daniel Kasman for their brilliant work)
- Best cinephile salon site – a tie between:
- Best seven multimedia/multiplatform/multichannel-style film and moving image studies websites:
- In Media Res
- Moving Image Source
- Screen Machine
- Screen Culture
- Antenna: Responses to Media and Culture
- Critical Studies in Television
- Most impactful online Film Studies work in 2011 – a tie between:
- Tim Smith’s work on how movie viewers watch, showcased here as well as on his blog Continuity Boy and his research site.
- Matthias Stork’s video essays on Chaos Cinema (see FSFF’s original post on this)
- Aitor Gametxo’s video essay: Variation: THE SUNBEAM, David W. Griffith, 1912
- Steven Shaviro’s work on Post-Cinematic Affect: see here for lots of links
- FSFF‘s favourite Film Studies academic links on Twitter: @filmdrblog (also see the Film Doctor’s actual blog)
- FSFF‘s favourite non-academic, film studies-informed, online film critics – a tie between:
- Srikanth Srinivasan (also on Twitter)
- Matt Zoller Seitz (also on Twitter
- Kevin B Lee (also on Twitter here and here)
- Jim Emerson (also on Twitter)
- Jonathan Rosenbaum (also on Twitter)
- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (also on Twitter)
- Farran Smith Nehme (also on Twitter)
- Marilyn Ferdinand and Roderick Heath (also on Twitter here and here) and see Rod’s blog
- Anne Billson (also writing for the Guardian and on Twitter)
- David Cairns (also on Twitter)
- FSFF‘s ten favourite FSFF blogposts (and blogpost clusters) in 2011:
- On ‘Affect’ and ‘Emotion’ in Film and Media Studies
- Double Vision: Links in Memory of Raúl Ruiz, a Filmmaking Legend and ¡Viva Raúl Ruiz!
- V.F. Perkins on FILM AS FILM and More Victor Perkins Video Interviews Online from Saarbruecken
- The Future of Cinema: Discussion with David Bordwell, Simon Field, Andréa Picard and Alan Franey
- The Tree of Links: Terrence Malick Studies
- Ingmar Bergman Studies
- Viewing Modes and Mise en Scene: 50 YEARS ON by Christian Keathley and The Obscurity of the Obvious: On the Films of Otto Preminger
- On Figural Analysis in Film Studies
- Liquid Atmospherics: On the cinema of Wong Kar-wai
- Its own video essay posts: Framing Incandescence: Elizabeth Taylor in JANE EYRE (1944); Studies of Film Noirishness, with Love; Links on videographical film criticism, editing, ‘intensified continuity’, ‘chaos cinema’, ‘hapticity’ and (post) cinematic affect; and Audiovisualcy: Videographic Film Studies
- FSFF‘s most read post in 2011 by some distance was “An incarnation of the modern”: In Memory of Miriam Bratu Hansen, 1949-2011
- Most popular resource at FSFF: Open Access Film E-books List
- Best search engine for Open Access Film Studies (and other Arts and Humanities resources): JURN (thanks, as ever, to the indefatigable David Haden)
TOUCHING THE FILM OBJECT? offers a brief audiovisual exploration of issues of sensuous proximity, contiguity or contact in experiencing or studying films – what theorist Laura U. Marks called ‘hapticity’. It quotes from Marks’ essay ‘Haptic Visuality: Touching with the Eyes‘ [in FRAMEWORK: the Finnish Art Review, No. 2, 2004, pp. 79-82], as well as from Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 film PERSONA (cinematography by Sven Nykvist). The music is excerpted from Robert Lippok and Beatrice Martini’s BRANCHES, available at the Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. You can read an accompanying written essay about this video and videographic film studies here.
A ragbag of links, today, at Film Studies For Free. But this blog wanted to flag up some recently published, and curiously related, audiovisual items of possible interest, together with some associated written resources.
First up, is the video above, the latest of FSFF‘s videographic film studies experiments. Compared with FSFF’s other videos, this film-theoretical one turned out to be a close kin of two earlier video ‘primers‘ (on Gilda, film noir, gender and performance and on Elizabeth Taylor, framing and child stardom/performance). As befits primers, rather than
aiming to generate completely new insights, [these ‘rich text objects’ attempt], within the time-space of the average YouTube fan clip, to assemble and combine quotations from existing film scholarship on [their topics] with sequences from the film in question in order to provide a meaningful, scholarly and affective, immersive experience. [FSFF, April 7, 2011]
If you are beginning to be invested in, or just mildly curious about, the possibilities of videographic film criticism and film theory, then do read ‘Touching the Film Object? Notes on the ‘Haptic’ in Videographical Film Studies‘ by Catherine Grant at FSFF‘s sister blog Filmanalytical, and also check out further links and thoughts here.
There are a couple of interesting entries up already, with very lively comments streams. Further links will be added below as the posts go live. In the meantime, you can read a lengthy excerpt from Shaviro’s book on Post-Cinematic Affect here. And do visit his blog where you will find lots more material from this work.
- ‘Cinema’s Exhaustion and the Vitality …‘ by Elena del Rio
- ‘Post-Cinematic Effects’ by Paul Bowman
- ‘A hair of the dog that bit us’ by Adrian Ivakhiv
- ‘Fragments of unconscious’ by Patricia MacCormack
- ‘Steven Shaviro Presents’: A response to the week
Finally, FSFF wanted to make sure that its own readers were alerted to a very lively debate on ‘intensified continuity’ and ‘chaos cinema’ in relation to the action film (broadly defined) that has sprung up online as a result of the publication of a two part video essay on those topics at the wonderful new (video-essay-rich) website PressPlay, curated by film critic and video essayist extraordinaire Matt Zoller Seitz. The ‘Chaos Cinema‘ essay, embedded below, is by a young film scholar Matthias Stork and is well worth a look.
Below the videos, FSFF has linked to related online, scholarly and journalistic items treating substantially similar issues as ‘Chaos Cinema’, published before his essay, as well as to ones produced directly in response to Stork’s work.
The video essay Chaos Cinema, administered by Indiewire’s journalistic blog PRESS PLAY, examines the extreme aesthetic principles of 21st century action films. These films operate on techniques that, while derived from classical cinema, threaten to shatter the established continuity formula. Chaos reigns in image and sound. Part 1 contrasts traditional action films with chaotic ones and takes a close look at the “sound” track, especially its use in car chases.
- David Bordwell, ‘Intensified Continuity: Visual Style in Contemporary American Film’, originally in Film Quarterly, Vol. 55, No. 3 (Spring, 2002), pp. 16-28
- David Bordwell, ‘Intensified Continuity Revisited’, Observations of Film Art, May 2007
- David Bordwell, ‘Unsteadicam Chronicles’, Observations on Film Art, August 17, 2007
- David Bordwell, ‘Bond vs. Chan: Jackie shows how it’s done‘, Observations on Film Art, September 15, 2010
- Steven Boone, ‘Blind Fury: Notes on Chaos Cinema‘, PressPlay, August 27, 2011
- Chris Cagle, ‘More on (Post-)Classicism’, Category D: A Film and Media Studies Blog, February 18, 2007
- Jim Emerson, ‘Agents of Chaos’, Scanners, August 23, 2011
- Jim Emerson, ‘The Architecture of Gravity’, Scanners, January 20, 2009
- Jim Emerson, ‘Bye, Sally — Sally Menke, 1953 – 2010’, Scanners, September 28, 2010
- Catherine Grant, ‘Seeing the join: on film editing‘, Film Studies For Free, April 16, 2010
- Ian Grey, ‘The Art of Chaos Cinema’, PressPlay, August 26, 2011
- Ambrose Heron, ‘Chaos Cinema and the Rise of the AVID’, Film Detail, August 23, 2011
- Kevin Howley, ‘Breaking, Making, and Killing Time in Pulp Fiction’, Scope May 2004
- Neal King, ‘Secret Agency in Mainstream Postmodern Cinema’, Postmodern Culture, 18.3, 2008
- Jakob Isak Nielsen, ‘Structural completeness in The War Is Over’, Short Film Studies, 1.1, 2010
- Catherine O’Rawe, ‘More more Moro: Music and montage in Romanzo criminale’, the italianist 29 · 2009 · 214-226
- Steven Shaviro, ‘Slow Cinema Vs Fast Films’, The Pinocchio Theory, May 12, 2010
- Matthias Stork, ‘Chaos Cinema: The decline and fall of action filmmaking’, PressPlay, August 22, 2011
- James Udden, ‘Child of the Long Take: Alfonso Cuaron’s Film Aesthetics in the Shadow of Globalization’, Style, Volume 43, No. 1, Spring 2009
- Matt Zoller Seitz, ‘Why are so many modern action movies terrible?’, PressPlay, August 25, 2011
Almost devoid of irony, Wong’s films, like classic rock and roll, take seriously all the crushes, the posturing, and the stubborn capriciousness of young angst. They rejoice in manic expenditures of energy. They celebrate the momentary heartbreak of glimpsing a stranger who might be interesting to love. The best comparison is surely not with Godard, whose romantic streak has a bitter edge. In Wong Kar-wai, Hong Kong may have its Truffaut, the director who in Tirez sur le pianiste and Jules et Jim concentrated on not-quite-grown- up characters brooding on eternally missed chances. In any case, Wong stands out from his peers by abandoning the kinetics of comedies and action movies in favor of more liquid atmospherics. He dissolves crisp emotions into vaporous moods. For all his sophistication, his unembarrassed effort to capture powerful, pleasantly adolescent feelings confirms his commitment to the Hong Kong popular tradition.
David Bordwell, ‘Avant-Pop Cinema Romance on Your Menu: Chungking Express’ in Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment (Second edition: e-book; Wisconsin: Irvington Way Institute Press Madison, 2011), pp. 178-179
There are two compelling reasons for this: the first is there are lots more scholarly resources available, or discoverable, now on this filmmaker’s work that are worth listing, including some great items on video.
The second is that this is the first of two posts in celebration of the online publication, as a PDF, of a full colour, second edition of the peerless David Bordwell’s book Planet Hong Kong, an opus well worth its $15 pricetag, in FSFF‘s humble and, usually, frugal opinion.
FSFF doesn’t normally celebrate, or promote, pay-to-own resources. But, apart from the fact that this is a highly interesting development in online Film Studies publishing in its own right, no one has given so generously online, either of his already published work or of his ongoing scholarly work, as David Bordwell.
What is more, Bordwell’s PHK chapter entitled ‘Avant-Pop Cinema’, with its lyrical and beautifully illustrated section on Wong’s work: ‘Romance on Your Menu: Chungking Express’, is worth the download price alone. If you need to save up to purchase Planet Hong Kong first, you can enjoy, in the meantime, several excellent posts at Observations on Film Art on Wong’s work, including ‘Ashes to Ashes (Redux)’ and ‘Years of being obscure’.
- Brian Hu, ‘Pop Music and Wong Kar-wai (visual essay)’ Mediascape, Winter 2011
- Vicky Thai, ‘Wing Kar-wai’s Notion of Time’, Vimeo, December 15, 2010
- Quentin Tarantino on Chungking Express on YouTube
- Acquarello on Wong Kar-wai at Strictly Film School
- Matt Bautch, ‘The Cultural Aesthetic of Wong Kar-wai’, Latent Image 2003
- Gary Bettinson, ‘Wong Kar-wai and the Aesthetics of Disturbance’, David C. Lam Working Paper Series, 105, November 2010
- Giorgio Biancorosso, ‘Romance, Insularity and Representation: Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love and Hong Kong Cinema’, Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures Volume 1, No. 1, 2007
- Allan Cameron, ‘Trajectories of identification: travel and global culture in the films of Wong Kar-wai’, Jump Cut, 49, 2007
- Felicia Chan, ‘In Search of a Comparative Poetics: Cultural Translatability in Transnational Chinese Cinemas’, PhD, Nottingham University 2007, (chapter 3 – p. 147-201 – treats Wong Kar-wai)
- Ethel Chong, ‘In the Mood for Love: Urban Alienation in Wong Kar Wai’s Films’, Kinema Spring 2003
- Jeremy Cohen, ‘Lonely Hearts: Wong Kar-Wai’s Obscure Objects of Desire’, Eye Candy Winter 2006
- Christopher Doyle and Wong Kar-wai interview for Interview Magazine on Ashes Redux
- Wendy Gan, “0.01cm: Affectivity and Urban Space in Chungking Express.” Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies, November 2003
- John Christopher Hamm, ‘Review of Wong Kar-Wai’s Ashes of Time by Wimal Dissanayake’, MCLC Resource Publication, October 2005
- Ian Johnston, ‘Unhappy Together: Wong Kar-Wai’s 2046‘, Bright Lights Film Journal, vol. 47, February 2005
- Kent Jones, “Of love and the city.” Film Comment, Jan/Feb 2001. Vol. 37, Issue 1; p. 22
- Jo C. Law, ‘Time without end: exploring the temporal experience of wong kar-wai’s 2046 through Walter Benjamin’, In A. Benjamin and C. Rice (Eds.), Walter Benjamin and the architecture of modernity (pp. 159-173). Melbourne: re.press.
- Anthony Leong, ‘Meditations on Loss: A Framework for the Films of Wong Kar Wai’, Asian Cult Cinema 1999
- Toh Hai Leong, ‘Wong Kar-wai: Time, Memory, Identity’, Kinema Spring 1995
- Trish Maunder, ‘Interview with Tony Leung’, Senses of Cinema 2001
- Kathryn Millard, ‘Writing for the Screen: Beyond the Gospel of Story’, SCAN, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2006
- Martha Nochimson, ‘Ashes of Time Redux’, Cineaste,Vol.XXXV No.1, 2009
- Robert M Payne, ‘Ways of seeing wild: the cinema of Wong Kar-Wai’, Jump Cut 44, 2001, text version HERE
- Mark Peranson, ‘The Numbers Game: Wong Kar-wai finally finishes 2046’, Cinemascope, 19
- Effie Rassos, ‘Everyday Narratives: Reconsidering Filmic Temporality and Spectatorial Affect Through the Quotidian,’ PhD, University of New South Wales, 2005
- Tony Rayns, ‘The Innovators 1990-2000: Charisma Express’, Sight and Sound January 2000
- Mina Shin, ‘Review of Planet Hong Kong’, Framework, 42, 2000
- Stephen Teo, ‘Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love: Like a Ritual in Transfigured Time’, Senses of Cinema 2001
- Stephen Teo, ‘2046: A Matter of Time, a Labour of Love’, Senses of Cinema 2005
- Stephen Teo, ‘Local and Global identity: Whither Hong Kong Cinema?’ Senses of Cinema 2007
- Donato Totaro, ‘My Blueberry Nights: Love Drives Full Circle’, Offscreen Journal, July 31, 2008
- Fiona A. Villella (symposium ed.), ‘The Cinema of Wong Kar-wai – A ‘Writing Game’, Senses of Cinema 2001 (entries on Backside; Blue; Creation; Dali-esque Time‘ Desire; Emotion; Look; Love; Possibility; Repetition; Space; Third-World; Time; Wrongheaded)
- Flannery Wilson,‘Viewing Sinophone Cinema Through a French Theoretical Lens: Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love, 2046, and Deleuze’s Cinema’, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, Volume 21, Number 1 (Spring 2009)
- Elizabeth Wright, ‘Profile of director Wong Kar-wai’, Senses of Cinema 2002
- Laurel Wypkema, ‘Corridor Romance: Wong Kar-wai’s Intimate City, Synoptique, August 1, 2005
- Xuelin Zhou, ‘On the Rooftop: A Study of Marginalized Youth Films in Hong Kong Cinema’, Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies. Vol. 8, No. 2, 2008
- Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh, ‘Transcultural Sounds: Music, Identity and the Cinema of Wong Kar-wai’, David C. Lam Working Paper Series, 69, November 2007
|An empirical approach? Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby in Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)|
Scholars often resist the cognitive approach to art because they’re reluctant to mount causal or functional explanations. Instead of asking how films work or how spectators understand films, many scholars prefer to offer interpretive commentary on films. Even what’s called film theory is largely a mixture of received doctrines, highly selective evidence, and more or less free association. Which is to say that many humanists treat doing film theory as a sort of abstract version of doing film criticism. They don’t embrace the practices of rational inquiry, which includes assessing a wide body of evidence, seeking out counterexamples, and showing how a line of argument is more adequate than its rivals. [David Bordwell, introducing a free download of his article ‘A Case for Cognitivism: Further Reflections‘, Iris no. 11 (Summer 1990): 107–112.]
Film Studies For Free has previously only touched on the burgeoning field of cognitivist film studies in passing. Today, however, it has decided to gather together links to some excellent online resources, above all from two journals — Film Studies and The Journal of Moving Image Studies — in order to provide a good introduction to this field, as well as to the related field of analytic (film) philosophy, two increasingly influential sets of approaches to our discipline.
As one of the most eloquent and persuasive champions of cognitivism is film scholar extraordinaire David Bordwell, one of the very best places to begin such an introduction is with a selection of openly accessible writings on this topic by that author. For instance, here, Bordwell summarises the history of cognitive film studies and discusses some recent work as a prelude to the second annual meeting of The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (note: link now updated). Scroll down for lots more great work…
(Note: David Bordwell is probably the most generous of scholars in relation to making his invaluable work freely available online. As always, FSFF thanks him very sincerely for helping to make online film studies such a rewarding focus. This entry is dedicated to his work).
Introductions to Cognitivist Film Studies:
- David Bordwell, ‘Minding Movies’, Observations on Film Art, March 5, 2008
- David Bordwell, ‘Invasion of the Brainiacs II’, Observations on Film Art, June 10, 2009
- David Bordwell, ‘A Case for Cognitivism‘, Iris no. 9 (Spring 1989): 11–40.
- David Bordwell, ‘A Case for Cognitivism: Further Reflections‘, Iris no. 11 (Summer 1990): 107–112.
- Noël Carroll, ‘Cognitivism, Contemporary Film Theory and Method: A Response to Warren Buckland’, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Spring 1992
- Also see Warren Buckland, ‘The Cognitive Turn in Film Theory’, long excerpt from The Cognitive Semiotics of Film (Cambridge University Press, 2000)
Volume 8, Summer 2006
- Amy Coplan, ‘Catching Characters’ Emotions: Emotional Contagion Responses to Narrative Fiction Film’
- Patrick Colm Hogan, ‘Narrative Universals, Nationalism, and Sacrificial Terror: From Nosferatuto Nazism’
The Journal of Moving Image Studies –
Note: Apologies but there’s currently a problem with the links set out below, which FSFF will fix as soon as it can. But in the meantime, all the below articles can be accessed via this page.
Vol. 1, 2002
- Analyzing the Reality Effect in Dogma Films By Peter Wuss
- Film Experimentation and the Sublime Experience By Laszlo Tarnay
- Motion Pictures, Mental Imagery, and Mentation By Edward S. Small
- Diegetic Breaks and the Avant-Garde By Curt Hersey
- Emotional Response to Computer Generated Special Effects:Realism Revisited By Benjamin Meade
Vol. 2, 203
- Science, Evolution, and Cinematic Representation By Stephen S. Daggett
- (NON)FICTION AND THE VIEWER: RE-INTERPRETING THE DOCUMENTARY FILM By Tammy Stone
- The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful (literary review) By Murray Smith
- Memory Simulated By Jung-In Kwon
Vol. 3, 2004
- An Attentional Model of Film Viewing By Bruce D. Hutchinson
- Science, Evolution, and Cinematic Representation By Stephen S. Daggett
- (NON)FICTION AND THE VIEWER: RE-INTERPRETING THE DOCUMENTARY FILM By Tammy Stone
- The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful (literary review) By Murray Smith
- Memory Simulated By Jung-In Kwon
- Synthesizing approaches in film theory by Kathrin Fahlenbrach (bio) (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle, Germany)
- The Emotional Design of Music Videos. Approaches to Audiovisual Metaphors. by Stefano Ghislotti (bio)University of Bergamo – Italy
- Do you remember Sammy Jankins? Film narration and spectator’s memory. by Katherine Thomson-Jones
- No-Belief Empathy in Film by Joseph G. Kickasola, Ph.D
Vol. 5, 2006
- Video as Ambience: Reception and Aesthetics of Flat-Screen Video Display By Jim Bizzocchi
- Running head: Interest and unity in the emotional response to film By Carl Plantinga and Ed Tan
- Emotional Response Model By Carl Plantinga
- Re-reading the Femme Fatale in Film Noir: an evolutionary perspective By Deborah Walker
- Voice and Gesture within the Context of Mirror Neuron Research By Charles Eidsvik
- Anaconda, a Snakes and Ladders Game By Bernard Perron
- An Aesthetic of Wonderment: IMAX and Affect By Eric Crosby
- Implications of Dispositional Overattribution for Film and Television Narrative By Bruce Hutchinson
- Picturing Motion: A Semiotic Model of Image Role-Reversal and Cultural Identity Displacement
By Michelle Waggener
- “The Case for Menippeanism: The Meaning of Life” By Pete Porteri
Film Studies For Free begins its rather atypical post with the following questions: does FSFF have any film fanatical/cinephile, teenage readers? Or, do any of its venerable, film-academic readers have any film fanatical/cinephile, teenage relatives? If so (and if they are UK based), please read/get them to read about the “Film Critic of Tomorrow” competition – all details given at the foot of this post. Do please fondly remember this potentially life-changing blog-post if any of you or yours win…
Secondly, FSFF would like to help whip up some timely interest in the work one of the more talented, cinema-inspired, video essayists working today, New-York based Steven Boone, in order to help him make some more films. So, it proudly presents its first ever competition (and there’s no age restriction, unlike the Film Critic of Tomorrow comp, as set out at the foot of this post)!
Here are the rules: write a piece of film criticism, in 200-400 words, about Boone’s video “Notes for a David Lynch adaptation of [Michael Jackon’s autobiography] Moonwalk“ embedded above. Submit your entry by email to this address by next Thursday, July 1st (deadline extended), 17.00 hours GMT.
The most interesting entries received (and hopefully there will be some…) will be published in a future FSFF post. And the author of the most insightful and well-crafted will be mailed the more pristine copy (of the two in FSFF‘s possession) of Scott Balcerzak and Jason Sperb’s important and fascinating 2009 collection of essays Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Film, Pleasure and Digital Culture, Vol. 1. . Let the competition commence! (And thank you for your kind indulgence).
You may not believe it, but magical things will happen if you do. Indeed, it was while she was doing just that, that FSFF‘s author noticed for the first time an item in Bordwell and Kristin Thompson‘s wonderful list of freely accessible research items (in the upper left hand column of the site): a link to a PDF file of the introductory chapter to Bordwell’s magnificent opus The Way Hollywood Sees It: Story and Style in Modern Movies [Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006]). If you haven’t read this before, you must. And now you easily can!
Here’s looking at you kids……VIRGIN MEDIA and JAMES KING LAUNCH SEARCH FOR THE FILM CRITIC OF TOMORROWVirgin Media has joined forces with broadcaster, James King [a Film and Television Studies graduate from the University of Warwick’s brilliant degree programme], in searching the country for aspiring young film critics, to join the judging panel for the third annual Virgin Media Shorts competition.As one of the industry’s finest film critics, James has already secured his place on the Virgin Media Shorts judging panel and is now looking for one lucky teenager to join him, alongside follow judges:– Award-winning British film actress, Thandie Newton– Film director, Duncan Jones, best known for his directorial debut Moon– Film director, Mike Newell, director of Four Weddings and a Funeral– Executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, Cindy Rose– Senior production executive at the UK Film Council, Chris CollinsAs part of the judging panel, the lucky teen will work with the expert panel to select the Grand Prize Winner from the short-listed films entered into this year’s competition. The winner will also get the Hollywood treatment, receiving an all expenses paid trip to London to attend the red carpet awards ceremony and mingle with the star-studded judging panel. Following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, 14-year old Jordan Campbell from Glasgow, who described the experience as feeling as popular as Susan Boyle!Speaking about the competition, James King said: “Virgin Media Shorts already offers a fantastic opportunity for British film-making talent – shining a light on new and established individuals. However, what I am most looking forward to is discovering the talent of tomorrow. The search for a young film critic to join me on the Virgin Media Shorts judging panel will open the door to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for one aspiring youngster. And, I may even pick up some tips from them too!”Entry is open to film fanatics aged between 13-19 years old and who think they’ve got what it takes to impress James. To enter, young film fans should visit www.virginmediashorts.co.uk/vipjudge and fill out the simple entry form. Deadline for entries is 5pm on Wednesday 30th June when all entries will be reviewed and one teenager crowned the overall winner.
For more information about Virgin Media Shorts and to view some of this year’s entries, visit www.virginmediashorts.co.uk
Maybe it’s that back-to-school feeling in the air, but Film Studies For Free‘s attentions turn today to one of the most important topics in its discipline: the film-historical and film-theoretical behemoth that is ‘Classical Hollywood Cinema‘.
Below are direct links to online studies of Hollywood and other comparable cinematic classicisms — together with related explorations — ranging from the foundational (Bordwell, Thompson, Staiger, plus Hansen) through to the new and challenging (Cagle, Galt, Paneva, Thanouli). FSFF reckons you should also take in what one might call that most early-classical of relevant studies, online in its entirety: Aristotle’s Poetics, written 350 B.C.E, Translated by S. H. Butcher.
- Deborah Allinson, ‘Novelty title sequences and self-reflexivity in classical Hollywood cinema’, Screening the Past, 20, 2006
- John Belton, ‘Preface’, American Cinema/American Culture (McGraw-Hill, 2005, 2/e)
- John Belton, ‘The Mode of Production’, American Cinema/American Culture (McGraw-Hill, 2005, 2/e)
- David Bordwell, ‘Classical Hollywood Cinema: Narrational Principles and Procedures’, Philip Rosen (ed). In Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology. New York: Columbia U P, 1986. 17-34
- David Bordwell interviewed by Erlend Lavik, ‘The Way Bordwell tells it on classical and post-classical Hollywood cinema’, University of Bergen, Norway, June (Year unknown)
- David Bordwell, ‘Anatomy of the Action Picture’, Observations on film art and FILM ART, January 2007
- David Bordwell, ‘The Hook: Scene Transitions in Classical Cinema’, Observations on film art and FILM ART, January 2008
- Catalin Brylla, ‘How are Film Endings shaped by their socio-historical context? (part I)’, Image & Narrative, Issue 8, May 2004
- Catalin Brylla, ‘How are Film Endings shaped by their socio-historical context? (part II)’, Image & Narrative, Issue 9, October 2004
- Chris Cagle, ‘More thoughts on Classicism’, Category D: A Film and Media Studies Blog, February 14, 2007
- Chris Cagle, ‘Post-Classicism’, Category D: A Film and Media Studies Blog, February 15, 2007
- Chris Cagle, ‘More on Post-Classicism’, Category D: A Film and Media Studies Blog, February 18, 2007
- Chris Cagle, ‘Self-Reflexivity in Classical Cinema’, Category D: A Film and Media Studies Blog, September 2, 2007
- Susan Courtney, ‘Introduction: What Happened in the Tunnel and Other Open American Secrets’, Hollywood Fantasies of Miscegenation: Spectacular Narratives of Gender and Race, Princeton University Press, 2004
- Jacobia Dahm, ‘Lollywood Adventures: On Robert Blanchet’s Blockbuster’, Film-Philosophy, Vol. 9 No. 24, May 2005
- Fred Davies, ‘Review of Bernardoni, James, The New Hollywood: What the Movies Did with the New Freedoms of the Seventies’, H-USA, H-Net Reviews. June, 2003
- Lucy Fife, ‘Review: Joe McElhaney (2006) The Death of Classical Cinema: Hitchcock, Lang, Minnelli State University of New York Press: New York’, Film-Philosophy, 11.3, December 2007
- Brian Gallagher, ‘Greta Garbo is sad: Some Historical Reflections on the Paradoxes of Stardom in the American Film Industry, 1910-1960’, Images Journal, Issue 3
- Rosalind Galt, ‘The Obviousness of Cinema’, World Picture Journal, Issue 2, Autumn 2008
- Miriam Bratu Hansen, ‘The Mass Production of the Senses: Classical Cinema as Vernacular Modernism’, Modernism-Modernity, Vol. 6.2, 1999
- Tim Henderson, ‘Classic Film Narrative and Flying with Pigs: What Have we been Missing?’, Nausicaa.net, May 2005
- Curt Hersey, ‘Diegetic Breaks and the Avant-Garde’, Journal of Moving Image Studies, Volume 1, 2002
- Kevin Howley, Breaking, Making, and Killing Time in Pulp Fiction’, Scope, May 2004
- Annamarie Jagose, Interview with Patricia White about her book, Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability [Indiana University Press, 1999]’, Genders 32 2000 Limited preview of book from Google Books HERE
- Hermann Kappelhoff, ‘Narrative Space – Plot Space – Image Space’, trans. by Brian Currid, Herman Kappelhof Articles Online, 2005
- Michelle Langford, ‘[Reflections on and syllabus for the teaching of] The Hollywood Sytem’, The Australasian Journal of American Studies, Vol. 26, No. 1, July 2007
- Richard Maltby, ‘Taking Hollywood Seriously’, Hollywood Cinema (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003, 2nd ed.)
- Angela Ndalianis, ‘Architectures of Vision: Neo-Baroque Optical Regimes and Contemporary Entertainment Media’, MIT Communications Forum, December 19, 1999
- Steve Neale, ‘Review of Storytelling in the New Hollywood: Understanding Classical Narrative Technique by Kristin Thompson, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999’, Scope, November 2000
- John Orr, ‘Otto Preminger and the End of Classical Cinema’, Senses of Cinema, 40, 2006
- Iva Paneva,“Chapter 1: Monster versus mainstream: classical narrative structure and the representation of women”, A study of female aggression as represented in Patty Jenkins’ fiction film Monster, e–PhD Thesis, December 2008 (rest of thesis on Monster HERE)
- Janet Staiger, ‘Self-Regulation and the Classical Hollywood Cinema’, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Fall 1991
- Eleftheria Thanouli, ‘”Art Cinema” Narration: Breaking Down a Wayward Paradigm’, Scope, Issue 14, June 2009
- Kristin Thompson, ‘Classical cinema lives! New evidence for old norms!’, Observations on film art and FILM ART, February 12, 2007
- David Trotter, ‘Virginia Woolf and Cinema’, Film Studies, Issue 6, Summer 2005
- Yigit Yuksel, ‘Classical Narration And Art Narration. Or: Hollywood vs Western Europe in 1950s’ , The Long Take, September 21, 2008
A quickie from Film Studies For Free today just to shout out about two of the best film studies blogs out there which, coincidentally, have very high-quality and worthwhile recent posts on films about duelling magicians:
- David Bordwell has posted Niceties: how classical filmmaking can be at once simple and precise on Christopher Nolan‘s The Prestige (2006). He examines, in minute frame-grabbed detail, the varied patternings in Nolan’s film. ‘[S]tudying such microforms is enlightening, Bordwell writes:
It’s a way to understand films as wholes, dynamic constructions that shift their shapes across the time of their unfolding. Moreover, by examining things this closely, we can try to understand not only how this or that film works, but how this or that film relies on principles distinctive of a filmmaking tradition. Consider this another plug for poetics.
- University of Exeter film academic Dan North’s blogpost The Last Trick (Jan Švankmajer, 1964) examines the Czech surrealist ‘s first film Poslední trik pana Schwarcewalldea a pana Edgara as part of his latest research (a larger project on puppetry and cinema). North writes,
this short film is my starting point, and it reveals to me the challenges that lie ahead. Often we have to look carefully at films to come to terms with their idiosyncrasies, but Švankmajer’s work is particularly daunting in its concentration of allegory and allusion. […] For eleven minutes [of this film], two magicians do battle, and their tricks require a montage of colliding images and a range of animation techniques: the two actors wear giant masks on their heads, probably papier-mâché, making them look like living, stringless marionettes, and Švankmajer manipulates them accordingly. The black backdrop allows a bunraku performance of sorts, with objects appearing to fly and float unaided through space; frame-by-frame animation moves the eyes of the masks; a shot of pixilation makes their bodies flit around the stage in a lightning fast chase. These are endlessly mutable bodies, but there is none of the joyous spectacle of Méliès’ filmed tricks here – the artifice is always signposted, never seamlessly suggestive, and the stolid expressions on the masked faces convey no fun, only procedure and routine. [links added by FSFF]
In addition to this (like Bordwell‘s) beautifully illustrated post, Dan’s blog Spectacular Attractions has also taken up the challenge of Nicholas Rombes’ 10 /40 / 70 film criticism exercise (see FSFF‘s post on this back on March 5). 10/40/70 is, according to Rombes:
[a]n experiment in writing about film: select three different, arbitrary time codes (in this case the 10 minute, 40 minute, and 70 minute mark), freeze the frames, and use that as the guide to writing about the film. No compromise: the film must be stopped at these time codes. What if, instead of freely choosing what parts of the film to address, one let the film determine this? Constraint as a form of freedom.
In recent posts, North has souped up the engine of the original exercise,
using a random number generator to choose three points from which to take my grabs, and then I have a limited amount of time to write a little about each frame. It’s a quick workout for the critical faculties, and hopefully a way of snapping a jaded blogger out of the comfortable routines of selecting only the most appropriate or illustrative images for a piece of writing
- Jaws Randomised
- Frankenstein Randomised
- The Bride of Frankenstein Randomised
- This is Spinal Tap Randomised With Two Brains
One last thought, the following movies may not all be about duelling magicians, but does anyone want to write about The Magician (1926), a horror film directed by Rex Ingram, or The Magician (1958), directed by Ingmar Bergman, or The Illusionist (2006), directed by Neil Burger, and make the highly completist Film Studies For Free one very happy blog indeed? Oh and there’s the parody Magicians (2007), directed by Andrew O’Connor too. Any takers?