Surveillance Film Studies

Call Northside 777 (Henry Hathaway, 1948). Take a look at
Hannah Gregory’s great visual essay on this film

Today, the compulsively unsecretive, positively Panoptic, Film Studies For Free focuses on ‘surveillance film studies’. Do cast a beady eye, therefore, at the unsuspiciously Open Access scholarly resources linked to further down the page.

The post has been inspired by the thrilling chronometric proximity of an interdisciplinary conference, taking place next week, on the “Cultures of Surveillance” at University College London (September 29-October 1), with keynote lectures by the very brilliant professors Tom Gunning and Simon Cole.

The full programme can be found here. Anyone interested in these topics should also check out some related and highly innovative work online by the amazing film and humanities scholars at UCL at the following four websites:

  • Objects Under Surveillance Museum Roundtable, University College London, January 19, 2011 Videos [m4v] of the event can be viewed by clicking on the images below.

Intro. & Simon Baker / Sue Woods & Katy McGahan  /  Neil Paterson  /  Discussion                  

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>On Film Education and Appreciation

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Updated January 13, 2011
British Film Institute library in Dean Street in 1950s
BFI Library today in Stephen Street

Film Studies For Free loves the British Film Institute. It’s a remarkable cultural institution in many ways – one of the finest in the world. And its online film educational offerings are unrivalled, both at its main website and at Screenonline

Today, FSFF celebrates some newly published, online, BFI resources on the subject of film appreciation and education in the 1950s. As is its wont, FSFF has supplemented these links with its own curation of online items on international film education and appreciation. All links may be found below.



But FSFF has been dismayed to hear of proposed changes to the British Film Institute National Library (still going strong after 76 wonderful years) and the Viewing Service at the BFI. The proposals are outlined here. These changes are likely to have serious implications for the field and for research opportunities in film and television in the UK. If any of FSFF‘s readers are concerned about the proposals, you may like to make your views known to the BFI – possibly through the chairman Greg Dyke. If anyone knows of an online petition to register discontent about these changes please let FSFF know and it will happily publish the link. This has now been set up: Please sign!

Selected resources made available by the BFI in the 1950s to support film appreciation and education:

  • 20 Films to use in Junior Film Societies (PDF, 34.3mb) compiled by A. W. Hodgkinson (British Film Institute and The Society of Film Teachers, 1953) Identifies key feature films suitable for studying with young people. Each record includes a summary of the film, examples of critical opinion and suggested discussion points.
  • School Film Appreciation (PDF, 7.1mb) by A. W. Hodgkinson, John Huntley, E. Francis Mills and Jack Smith (King’s College School and British Film Institute, 1950) Practical notes compiled by educators in the field, detailing appropriate film titles and books for study, with advice for teachers.
  • The Artist the Critic and the Teacher (PDF, 1.9mb) (The Joint Council for Education through Art, 1959) Programme for a forum presented by The Joint Council for Education through Art on the relevance of the arts to education, held at the National Film Theatre. Participants included Lindsay Anderson, John Berger, Karel Reisz and Kenneth Tynan.
  • Film Study Material (PDF, 850kb) (British Film Institute, 1955) Catalogue of films and extracts available from the British Film Institute for use in film study.

Other Resources on Film Education and Appreciation:

>Manny Farber Studies

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Last updated February 23, 2010
Distinguished scholars Robert Polito and Patricia Patterson discuss Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber, a collection of Farber’s film criticism that spans his early weekly reviews for The New Republic and The Nation to his later essays (some written in collaboration with his wife, Patricia Patterson). Farber’s unusual and pointed prose was credited by many with reinventing film criticism. Later, he devoted himself to his painting and taught film and art at UC San Diego from 1970 to 1987. Courtesy of UCtelevision
Well, looky here at this, says Film Studies For Free: a remarkably rich and informative, hour-long discussion about the work of legendary American film critic Manny Farber. And there’s another, half hour shorter documentary embedded at the foot of this post that tackles the subject of Farber’s painting, and places it in the context of his film-critical work, to a certain extent.
FSFF adds to the experience by providing some links to other choice scholarly material about Farber. Readers might also like to revisit FSFF‘s monumental links post The Value of Style: Film Criticism in Scholarship
There’s another Farber related post coming up at this here blog very soon [now posted], so y’all come back now, and we’ll ditch the possibly unconvincing, and certainly irrelevant, American accent…
Manny Farber and Hugh Davies of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
[The video package about Manny Farber begins eleven minutes in].

Learn about two men who are helping to put San Diego on the art world’s map: Hugh Davies, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and local painter Manny Farber. In the studio with Gloria Penner are: Stephanie Hanor, Assistant Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and Robert Pincus, Art Critic, San Diego Union-Tribune.