My thinking about locative media as a means of exploring screen heritage is informed by the “apparatus theorists” of the 1970s (Baudry, Comolli, Heath, Metz, Mulvey, Wollen, all collected in Philip Rosen’s seminal collection Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Reader, 1972), who were interested in the cinematic apparatus both in terms of the equipment of production and projection and in terms of the conditions of spectatorship (the engaged spectator in a darkened communal auditorium). At the [Curzon Memories App] project’s heart is a concern with both the culture and technologies of seeing: how we might use new screen media as a lens through which to understand the old cinematic apparatus and in turn historicise the new media. The idea is to use locative media to add depth to the everyday architecture of the cinema beyond that which is immediately apparent, and so enhance visitors’ experience and understanding of the cinema and the collection. In this sense, the project is centrally concerned with the interface between cultural memory and the technological imaginary of the moving image. [from Charlotte Crofts, ‘Technologies of Seeing the Past: The Curzon Memories App’, Paper published in the proceedings of the Electronic Visualisation and the Arts, London 2011 pp. 163-4]
One of the cinemas cited [in David Bordwell’s recent post about the threat of digital conversion to art house cinemas] is the Art House Cinema, in Champaign-Urbana, a University town in the middle of corn fields in the mid-West (where I happened to live for a short spell […]) […]. I think it might be where I first saw Terence Mallick’s Days of Heaven as a girl of nine, and have been haunted by it ever since. This, combined with my involvement with the Curzon, and indeed the Whiteladies Picture House campaign, made me feel how urgent it is to preserve screen heritage beyond the conservation of the films themselves – which is in itself incredibly important – but there’s something rather pressing about preserving the cinema-going experience in today’s multi-screen world: the apparatus of cinema, the built environment, the technologies; which is at the heart of the Curzon Memories App, and Projection Hero in particular. [Charlotte Crofts, ”, The Curzon Project, January 31, 2012]
I hadn’t really thought I was making a documentary the whole time I was developing the app, but with hindsight, my experience as a filmmaker couldn’t help but inform the project and trying to articulate my work […] really helped me to see that ‘experience design’ is essentially an extension of documentary practice – we all want to move people and make them see the world differently – I’m just excited about doing that in the actual place you are interested in exploring. [Charlotte Crofts, ‘Curzon Memories App as interactive documentary’, The Curzon Project, April 12, 2012]
[I]t is quite clear that printed works of reference are a thing of the past. I do not here mean, of course, the polders of misinformation contained in the poorly triangulated written texts of Wikipedia: rather I have in mind the breathtaking and illuminating elegance of Touch Publications and Charlotte Croft’s ‘Geo-spatial, Geo-temporal’ app to guide a tourist around a physical site. Why slap a guide-book around when your phone will tell you everything you could possibly want to know about what you are looking at. This will not destroy the publishing, on whatever platform, of unenhanced alphanumeric texts but it surely must transform the presentation of printed information. (And, ok, it’s the first major change in that since the codex started to replace the scroll in the 4th Christian century – this technicism stuff is easy to fall in with.) And Charlotte’s application isn’t going to make the tourist a citizen of the world but it will immeasurably improve their experience of travel. [Brian Winston on i-Docs 2012. Wikipedia link added by FSFF ! :)]
The little screens in question here, with their “virtual-experience-design”, are very much attached (in this particular project) to a very memorable, big screen, in three dimensions, with its associated history and real-world experiences.
The Curzon Memories App, the beautifully designed outcome of an innovative research project by Charlotte Crofts, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and Video Production at the University of the West of England, provides a “locative media experience” designed to enhance visits to the Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon, and its ‘Living History’ collection of cinema technology, through “context-aware oral history and dramatisation”.
The above video sets out brilliantly the scope and functionality of the app. FSFF‘s favourite-sounding element is Projection Hero, a “miniature cinema installation which you can manipulate with your phone – open the curtains, dim the lights and play the movies – including the infamous Pearl and Dean ‘Asteroid’ theme and poignant interviews with retired projectionists”. It looks forward to trying this out in the cinema itself.
The App is free. Just click on the relevant link, below, to access and download it. It’s very much worthy of your exploration and support, even if you live nowhere near Clevedon – a lovely, little, English town not far from which FSFF‘s author happened to grow up, and in which she was forever traumatised by X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes…
If you like it, please take time to rate it, and leave an appreciative comment, too, at the digital store of your choice.
The further links below will take you to much more information about, as well as research consideration of, this wonderful project and will also tell you all about Crofts’ latest, innovative, project.
- The free Curzon Memories App is now out on Google Android and iPhone.
- The Curzon Memories Project research blog
- Charlotte Crofts, ‘Technologies of Seeing the Past: The Curzon Memories App’, Paper published in the proceedings of the Electronic Visualisation and the Arts, London 2011
- Charlotte Crofts’ videoed presentation about the “Curzon Memories App” at Postdigital Encounters: Creativity and Improvisation, Journal of Media Practice Annual Symposium, 24 June 2011, Watershed Media Centre, Bristol, UK.
- Charlotte Crofts, ‘Geo-spatial and Geo-temporal. The Curzon Memories App documentary, The Curzon Memories App, and City Strata: The Cinemap Layer’, slide presentation and document transcript, presentation at i-docs 2012
- City Strata: The Cinemap Layer Project
|Framestill from Scénario du film “Passion”/Script for the film “Passion” (Jean-Luc Godard, 1982). This film is discussed by Libby Saxton in her paper on gesture in Godard’s films|
Today, Film Studies For Free joyously tips the wink to its readers about the online availability of video recordings of papers from research events held at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge.
These valuable online resources will clearly be added to in the coming months and years so while FSFF will keep its beady eye trained for the appearance of future recordings of note, its readers might like to do the same with their own beady eyes.
- Anthony Lane (film critic), ‘Jean Renoir’s Partie de campagne and Maupassant’, 14 November 2011, Part of the Cambridge Screen Media Group series
- Dr Libby Saxton (Queen Mary, University of London), ‘Passion, Energy and Matter: Godard’s Gesture’, Part of the Cambridge Screen Media Group series
- Prof David Trotter (University of Cambridge), ‘Literature and Film in the First Media Age’, 11 October 2011, Part of the Cambridge Screen Media Group series
- Professor Jay Winter (History, Yale University) ‘Moving Images: From Silent Film to Film Silences in War Films, 1914-2009’. Keynote lecture at CRASSH conference ‘The Moving Image’ (26-27 February, 2010). This paper explores the long history of representation of war in film, from the Great War to the present. It suggests first that silent film provided a form of public séance in an era when spiritualism was at its apogee, and secondly, that it is the silences in later ‘talkies’ which enable us to see how cinematic mourning practices work.
|Images from two ‘AIDS film dramas’: above, Longtime Companion (Norman René, 1989), a film which, as Emmanuel Levy puts it, carried “the burden of being the first [widely distributed] theatrical movie to deal directly with AIDS”; below, a frame grab from Yesterday (Darrell Roodt, 2004), about a Zulu woman living with AIDS. Read Jean Stuart‘s and Olaia Cores Calvo‘s articles on this film.|
It was  years ago, in the summer of 1981, when society as a whole[, including] the scientific community[,] was faced with an unknown disease that came later to be known as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Several films […] reflected the initial fears and uncertainty, the responses of the different social groups, the fight against ignorance, the [demand for] access to treatment and the suffering of the infected individuals and their families […] due to this disease. Taking into account that these movies were filmed when these epidemics took place they can actually be considered as […] historical documents that deserve [to be] analysed by the generations to come. Films such as And The Band Played On; Longtime Companion; Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt; Les Nuits Fauves; Angels in America; Yesterday and My Brother… Nikhil have marked  years of AIDS history that should not be forgotten by the world. [Adapted from António Pais de Lacerda, ‘Cinema as an Historical Document: AIDS in 25 years of Cinema’, Journal of Medicine and Movies, 2 (2006): 102-113; hyperlinks added by FSFF]
Film Studies For Free today commemorates the twenty-third World AIDS Day in the thirtieth year since the identification of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. The Human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], the lentivirus which causes the syndrome, was identified two years later, in 1983.
FSFF marks this anniversary year with the below entry of links to scholarly resources on the figuration of AIDS/HIV in cinema and culture.
Today’s posting was also inspired by a series of film screenings and discussions on ‘AIDS and its Melodramas’ that have been taking place at the University of Sussex, UK, organised by Michael Lawrence and John David Rhodes. These academic events will continue next term with screenings of Fatal Love (1991), And the Band Played On (1993), Philadelphia (1993) and, one of FSFF‘s favourites, Boys on the Side (1995). Please email FSFF if you’d like more details.
- ACT UP NY Webcasts
- Elana D. Anderson, ‘Yesterday, Today, And Tomorrow: Socio-Cultural Evolution In African Literature and Film’, Mosaic African Studies, 2010
- Carole Blair and Neil Michel, ‘The AIDS Memorial Quilt and the Contemporary Culture of Public Commemoration’, Rhetoric and Public Affairs Vol. 10, No. 4, 2007, pp. 595–626
- Martin P. Botha, ‘Post-Apartheid Cinema: A Thematic and Aesthetic Explorations of Selected Short and Feature Films’, Ilha do Desterro, Florianópolis, nº 61 p. 225- 267 jul/dez 2011
- Cüneyt Çakirlar, ‘Cinephilic Bodies: Todd Haynes’s Cinema of Queer Pastiche’, KÜLT: A Journal of Cultural Studies 1:1, April 2011
- Jean Carlomusto and Jane Rosett, ‘AIDS: A LIVING ARCHIVE™’, SandF Online, 2.1, Summer 2003
- Olaia Cores Calvo, ‘Yesterday (2004)’, Journal of Medicine and Movies, 5.4 (2009):125-130
- David Campbell, The Visual Economy of HIV/AIDS: A report for the AIDS, Security and Conflict Initiative, May 2008
- Brendan Curran, Singin’ in the Scourge: Two AIDS Musicals, Two Political and Cultural Contexts, MA Thesis, Concordia University, April 2011
- Juan Luis Cuesta Jiménez, ‘The Constant Gardener or the development of new Therapies’, Journal of Medicine and Movies, 2.3 (2006): 96-101
- Ann Cvetkovich, ‘AIDS Activism and the Oral History Archive’, SandF Online, Summer 2.1, Summer 2003
- Anthony Enns, ‘”A Name in Search of a Disease”: Illness and Identity in Todd Haynes’ Safe’, Reconstruction,7.3, 2007
- Kyle Frackman, ‘Out of Time: “Allotemporality” in Pierre Sanoussi-Bliss’ Zurück auf los’, queere (t)ex(t)perimente. Eds. Franziska Bergmann, Jennifer Moos, and Claudia Münzing. Freiburg: fwpf-Verlag, 2008
- J.E. García Sánchez, E. García Sánchez and M.L. Merino Marcos, ‘Antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal agents in the cinema’, Revista Española de Quimioterapia, Marzo 2007; Vol. 20 (No 1): 106-111
- Silvia Grassi, ‘Like a Carsic River: Gay Independent Cinema from Underground Films to New Queer Cinema and Beyond’, Altre modernità/ Otras modernidades/ Autres modernités/ Other Modernities, N. 2 – 10/2009
- Oliver Gruner, Public Politics/Personal Authenticity: A Tale of Two Sixties in Hollywood Cinema, 1986-1994, PhD Thesis, University of East Anglia, August, 2010
- Roger Hallas, ‘The Witness in the Archive’, SandF Online, 2.1, Summer 2003
- Lucas Hilderbrand, ‘Retroactivism’, glq, 12.2, 2006
- Jim Hubbard, ‘A Report on the Archiving of Film and Video Work by Makers with AIDS’, DIVA TV, [date unknown]
- Alexandra Juhasz, ‘AIDS Video: To Dream and Dance with the Censor’, Jump Cut, No. 52, summer 2010
- Alexandra Juhasz in exchange with Antoinette Burton, ‘Feminist history making and Video Remains’, Jump Cut, No. 48, winter 2006
- Alexandra Juhasz, ‘Alternative AIDS Videos’, Cineaste, vol.XXI, nos. 1-2, 1994/5
- Alexandra Juhasz, ‘Interview with Jim Hubbard and Sarah Schulman: ACT UP Oral History Project’, CORPUS, Spring 2006
- Alexandra Juhasz, ‘From the Scenes of Queens: Genre, AIDS and Queer Love,’ originally published in The Cinema of Todd Haynes, ed. James Morrison (London:Wallflower Press, 2007)
- Dion Kagan, ‘[Review of] Roger Hallas, Reframing Bodies: AIDS, Bearing Witness, and the Queer Moving Image. Duke University Press, 2009′, Screening the Past, 28, 2010
- Tim Lawrence, ‘AIDS, the Problem of Representation, and Plurality in Derek Jarman’s Blue’ Social Text, 52/53 (Autumn – Winter 1997): 241-264
- Timothy F. Murphy, ‘Part One: The Meaning of AIDS’, Ethics in an Epidemic: AIDS, Morality, and Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994)
- Christo Oberholzer, An Investigation Into Nationalism and National Allegory within South African Post-Apartheid Film, MA Thesis, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2006
- António Pais de Lacerda, ‘Cinema as an Historical Document: AIDS in 25 years of Cinema’, Journal of Medicine and Movies, 2 (2006): 102-113
- Georgios Pappas, Savvas Seitaridis, Nikolaos Akritidis, and Epaminondas Tsianos, ‘Infectious Diseases in Cinema: Virus Hunters and Killer Microbes’, Clinical Infectious Diseases,
- Volume 37, Issue 7, 2003: 939-942
- Monica B. Pearl, ‘The City of Brotherly Love: Sex, Race and AIDS in Philadelphia’, EnterText 2.3, Summer 2003
- Monica B. Pearl, ‘American Grief: The AIDS Quilt and Texts of Witness’, Gramma, 08
- Lucia Pérez Ochoa López, ‘Philadelphia (1993): View of AIDS when it began to be a treatable disease’, Journal of Medicine and Movies, 2 (2006): 21-28
- Jean Stuart, ‘Yesterday, today … and tomorrow: The future of girlhood in the age of AIDS’, AGENDA 79 2009
- Marita Sturken, ‘The Politics of Video Memory: Electronic Erasures and Inscriptions’, in Contemporary Video Practices, ed. Michael Renov, 1996
- Nicoletta Vallorani, ‘Path(o)s of Mourning. Memory, Death and the Invisible Body in Derek Jarman’s Blue’, Altre modernità/ Otras modernidades/ Autres modernités/ Other Modernities, N. 4 – 10/2010
|Frame grab from 1975 (Shaun Wilson, version 1 (2005), DV as single channel DVD, colour, sound, 5mins). Visit Shaun Wilson‘s website here and read his article about ‘home movies’ here|
The concept of memory screens is an overarching term exploring the relationship between forms of media, viewers, practitioners and memory. The notion of memory screens alludes to the ways in which memories become remembered, layered, forgotten and transformed. The range of articles in this volume reflects the relationship between memory and history, both public and personal. [‘Thematic Cluster: Introduction’ by Teresa Forde]
FSFF particularly appreciated film and video artist Shaun Wilson’s essay on the art of vintage home movies, Jenny Chamarette’s study of the dynamics of the ‘spectre’ or ‘spectral body’ of the auteurist figure of Agnès Varda, Peter Kravanja’s exploration of narrative contingencies in Rohmer and Akerman and Teresa Forde and Erin Bell‘s discussions of memory and British television. But this is a very high quality issue throughout and, as always at I and N, particularly characterised by the thoughtful integration of close analysis and film and moving image theory.
Table of Contents
- ‘Thematic Cluster: Introduction’ by Teresa Forde ABSTRACT PDF
- ‘Remixing Memory through Home Movies’ by Shaun Wilson ABSTRACT PDF
- ‘Video Installation, Memory and Storytelling: the viewer as narrator’ by Diane Charleson ABSTRACT PDF
- ‘Spectral bodies, temporalised spaces: Agnès Varda’s motile gestures of mourning and memorial’ by Jenny Chamarette ABSTRACT PDF
- ‘Television and memory: history programming and contemporary identities’ by Erin Bell ABSTRACTPDF
- ‘Television Dramas as Memory Screens’ by Teresa Forde ABSTRACT PDF
- ‘The Lives of Others: re-remembering the German Democratic Republic’ by Margaret Montgomerie and Anne- Kathrin Reck ABSTRACT PDF
- ‘Nostalgic [re]remembering: film fan cultures and the affective reiteration of popular film histories’ by Nathan Hunt ABSTRACT PDF
|Frame grab from The Wind (Victor Sjöström, 1928). Read Bo Florin’s article on this film|
[Traditionally, aesthetics] has been based on national perspectives and contexts, as well as contained within the limits of specific disciplines. However, the changing society has made this focus all too narrow. Due to globalization, media and territories merge and move in new ways, where regional, national, international, and global perspectives increasingly integrate. New contexts and new aesthetic strategies are also created, and traditional boundaries and hierarchies become transgressed, for example, between high brow and popular culture, or between art and technology. Aesthetics as well as culture thus need to be discussed and interpreted across the disciplines, through different media, over territorial borders. Finally, this is also a strong argument for Open Access publishing: to constitute a global platform and an interface for interdisciplinary discourse—free for anybody to read. [from first JAC Editorial by Astrid Söderbergh Widding, Lars Gustaf Andersson and John Sundholm]
Film Studies For Free had been meaning to post something about the Journal of Aesthetics and Culture for quite a while. It’s an online open access journal, hence one very much after this blog’s’s heart, with a high percentage of very good quality film-studies related articles that FSFF has frequently linked to on Twitter.
Today, JAC published an excellent dossier on Transnational Cultural Memory, an event which provided a wonderful prompt to gather together, in one place, links to everything that JAC has published to date. And below, that is just what you will find.
- Editorial by Astrid Söderbergh Widding, Lars Gustaf Andersson, John Sundholm (PDF HTML XML)
- Sean Cubitt, Thinking filming thinking filming (PDF HTML XML)
- Thomas Elsaesser, Ingmar Bergman in the museum? Thresholds, limits, conditions of possibility (PDF HTML XML)
- Julia Creet, Calling on Witnesses: testimony and the deictic (PDF HTML XML)
- Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen, Antichrist – Chaos Reigns: the event of violence and the haptic image in Lars von Trier’s film (PDF HTML XML)
- Anu Koivunen, Confessions of a Free Woman: telling feminist stories in postfeminist media culture (PDF HTML XML)
- Tiina Rosenberg, On feminist activist aesthetics (PDF HTML XML)
- Bo Florin, Confronting The Wind: a reading of a Hollywood film by Victor Sjöström (PDF HTML XML)
- Editorial by Astrid Söderbergh Widding, Lars Gustaf Andersson, John Sundholm (PDF HTML XML)
- Irina Aristarkhova, Hosting the animal: the art of Kathy High (PDF HTML XML)
- Maaret Koskinen, Ingmar Bergman, the biographical legend and the intermedialities of memory (PDF HTML XML)
- Timotheus Vermeulen, Robin van den Akker, Notes on metamodernism (PDF HTML XML)
- Anita Seppä, Globalisation and the arts: the rise of new democracy, or just another pretty suit for the old emperor? (PDF(high) PDF HTML XML)
- Tytti Soila, Passion at the threshold: Doctor Glas the flaneur in the films of Rune Carlstén and Mai Zetterling (PDF HTML XML)
- Ryszard W. Kluszczynski, Strategies of interactive art (PDF(high) PDF HTML XML)
- Michael Laurence Woods, What it is? A question on the derivation of musical meaning (PDF HTML XML)
- Matthew Mullane, The aesthetic ear: sound art, Jacques Rancière and the politics of listening (PDF HTML XML)
- Sven-Olov Wallenstein, Space, time, and the arts: rewriting the Laocoon (PDF HTML XML)
- Torkild Thanem, Louise Wallenberg, Buggering Freud and Deleuze: towards a queer theory of masochism (PDF HTML XML)
- Lisbeth Söderqvist, Structuralism in architecture: a definition (PDF HTML EPUB XML)
- Per-Arne Bodin, The holy fool as a TV hero: about Pavel Lungin’s film The Island and the problem of authenticity (PDF HTML EPUB XML)
- Des O’Rawe, Towards a poetics of the cinematographic frame (PDF HTML EPUB XML)
- Erik van Ooijen, Cinematic shots and cuts: on the ethics and semiotics of real violence in film fiction (PDF HTML EBUB XML)
- Dossier on Transnational Cultural memory
- John Sundholm, Adrian Velicu, Introduction to the dossier on transnational cultural memory (PDF HTML EPUB XML)
- Astrid Erll, Traumatic pasts, literary afterlives, and transcultural memory: new directions of literary and media memory studies (PDF HTML EPUB XML)
- Steffi Hobuß, Aspects of memory acts: transnational cultural memory and ethics (PDF HTML EPUB XML)
- Adrian Velicu, Cultural memory between the national and the transnational (PDF HTML EPUB XML)
- John Sundholm, Visions of transnational memory (PDF HTML EPUB XML)
- Julia Creet, Transnational archives: the Canadian case (PDF HTML EPUB XML)
- Anna-Kaisa Kuusisto-Arponen, Transnational sense of place: cinematic scenes of Finnish war child memories (PDF HTML EPUB XML)
|Image from Good Bye, Lenin! ( Wolfgang Becker, 2003). Read Kevin L. Ferguson’s fascinating article on the film: Home Movies: Historical Space and the Mother’s Memory|
Good Bye Lenin!, a film commonly read as a political fable of East German nostalgia, is rather for me a successful example of autobiographical narrative that balances maternal loss and a boy’s coming to manhood, framing this transition in and through home movies. As such, it provides a much-needed positive model for cinema’s use of mothers and memory. [Kevin L. Ferguson]
Film Studies For Free has been far too quiet lately, but that’s about to change, people! Let us kick off the burst of activity with FSFF‘s usual update about one of its very favourite openly accessible, film-scholarly journals, SCOPE: And Online Journal of Film and TV Studies, run by those wonderful people at the Department of Culture, Film and Media, University of Nottingham. The full Table of Contents is reproduced below for your convenient reading pleasure.
Art Cinema as Institution, Redux: Art Houses, Film Festivals, and Film Studies
The Pinnacle of Popular Taste?: The Importance of Confessions of a Window Cleaner
Walking the Line: Negotiating Celebrity in the Country Music Biopic
Home Movies: Historical Space and the Mother’s Memory
Kevin L. Ferguson
An Aristocratic Plod, Erstwhile Commandos and Ladies who Craved Excitement: Hammer Films’ Post-War BBC Crime Series and Serial Adaptations
“May Contain Graphic Material”: Comic Books, Graphic Novels, and Film By M. Keith Booker
Reviewer: David Simmons
Investigating Firefly and Serenity By Rhonda Wilcox and Tanya Cochran (eds.) & Special Issue on Firefly and Serenity
Reviewer: Ronald Helfrich
Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film By Adilifu Nama & Mixed Race Hollywood
Reviewer: Augusto Ciuffo de Oliveira
Inherent Vice: Bootleg Histories of Videotape and Copyright By Lucas Hilderbrand & From Betamax to Blockbuster: Video Stores and the Invention of Movies on Video
Reviewer: Daniel Herbert
Stanley Cavell’s American Dream: Shakespeare, Philosophy, and Hollywood Movies By Lawrence F. Rhu
Reviewer: Áine Kelly
Scorsese By Roger Ebert
Reviewer: John Berra
Contemporary British Cinema: From Heritage to Horror By James Leggott & Roman Polanski
Reviewer: Paul Newland
Cities In Transition: The Moving Image and the Modern Metropolis By Andrew Webber and Emma Wilson (eds.) & Cinematic Countrysides (Inside Popular Film)
Reviewer: Peter C. Pugsley
Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the World By S. Brent Plate & Crowd Scenes: Movies and Mass Politics
Reviewer: Douglas C. MacLeod, Jr.
Italian Neorealism: Rebuilding the Cinematic City By Mark Shiel
Reviewer: Tom Whittaker
Independent Cinema (includes DVD of Paul Cronin’s Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16) By D.K. Holm & Declarations of Independence: American Cinema and the Partiality of Independent Production
Reviewer: Carl Wilson
Seventies British Cinema By Robert Shail (ed.)
Reviewer: Lawrence Webb
Photography and Cinema (Exposures) By David Campany & Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography
Reviewer: Tom Slevin
Russians in Hollywood, Hollywood’s Russians: Biography of an Image By Harlow Robinson & How the Soviet Man was Unmade: Cultural Fantasy and Male Subjectivity under Stalin
Reviewer: Brian Faucette
A Companion to Spanish Cinema By Bernard P.E. Bentley & Gender and Spanish Cinema
Reviewer: Abigail Keating
The Moguls and the Dictators: Hollywood and the Coming of World War II By David Welky & The Hidden Art of Hollywood: In Defense of the Studio Era Film
Reviewer: Hannah Durkin
Neil Jordan By Maria Pramaggiore & The Cinema of Neil Jordan: Dark Carnival
Reviewer: Steve Masters
Palestinian Cinema: Landscape, Trauma, and Memory By Nurith Gertz and George Khleifi
Reviewer: Omar Kholeif
The Cinema of Jan Švankmajer: Dark Alchemy (Directors’ Cuts) By Peter Hames & Hungarian Cinema: From Coffee House to Multiplex
Reviewer: Jonathan Owen
Movie Greats: A Critical Study of Classic Cinema By Philip Gillett & Inventing Film Studies
Reviewer: Steven Rybin
Reviewer: Sheamus Sweeney
Diary of the Dead
Reviewer: Sigmund Shen
Rich and Strange & Stage Fright
Reviewer: Judy Beth Morris
Blood: The Last Vampire
Reviewer: Kia-Choong Teo
Reviewer: Alice Mills
Before and After
Reviewer: Clodagh M. Weldon
Bloodlines: British Horror Past and Present, An International Conference and Film Festival at De Montfort University and Phoenix Square, Leicester, 4 – 5 March 2010
Reporter: Michael Ahmed
IMAGEing Reality, University of Navarra, Spain, 22– 24 October 2009
Reporter: Stefano Odorico
The Moving Image: Reconfiguring Spaces of Loss and Mourning in the 21st Century, Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Cambridge, 26-27 February 2010
Reporter: Jenny Chamarette
NECS 2009 3rd Annual Conference: Locating Media, Lund, Sweden, 25 – 28 June, 2009
Reporter: Andrea Virginás
New Waves: XII International Film and Media Conference, Transylvania, Romania, 22 – 23 October 2009
Reporter: Hajnal Kiraly
Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires and the Undead in Modern Culture, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, April 16 – 17 2010
Reporter: Darren Elliott-Smith
Re-Living Disaster, Birbkeck College, London, 29-30 April 2010
Reporter: Ozlem Koksal
SCMS @ 50/LA (Society for Cinema and Media Studies): Archiving the Future, Mobilizing the Past, Los Angleles, California, US, March 10-14, 2010
Reporter: Jason Kelly Roberts
SCMS @ 50/LA (Society for Cinema and Media Studies), Los Angeles, California, March 10-14, 2010
Reporter: Martin L. Johnson
Straight Outta Uttoxeter: Studying Shane Meadows, University of East Anglia, 15 – 16 April 2010
Reporter: Emma Sutton
|Image from Avalon (Mamoru Oshii, 2001)|
Below are links to some of the most interesting items to have come Film Studies For Free‘s way in the last weeks: a special issue of the high quality online, Open Access journal Digital Icons: Studies in Russian, Eurasian, and Central European New Media on War, Conflict and Commemoration. Not all of the items are film-related, though most are, in some way (asbtracts are included for easy skimming to see which). And there are two great essays on Mamoru Oshii‘s 2001 film Avalon, which FSFF particularly rated.
Issue 4, 2010: War, Conflict and Commemoration in the Age of Digital Reproduction (guest-edited by Adi Kuntsman (University of Manchester).)
This opening essay addresses the political and intellectual necessity that enabled me to assemble this special issue. Firstly, I argue for the need to examine the role of digital media in negotiating and commemorating wars in countries outside of the USA and Western Europe and in languages other than English. Secondly, drawing on some recent developments in research on digital media, on one hand, and war, conflict and commemoration, on the other, I claim the importance of examining the two fields together. I argue for a complex approach that would capture the ways digital media and computer technologies affect the warfare itself, its social perception as well as the ways of remembrance and commemoration. I also present several theoretical concepts – cyberscapes of memory, digital battlefields, the aftermath, passionate politics and the cybertouch of war – and outline the structure of the special issue.
An integral part of the German National Socialist ‘bio-political developmental dictatorship’ programme (Schmuhl 2008), ‘euthanasia’ involved the murder of over 300,000 physically or mentally disabled persons in National Socialist Germany and its occupied territories, including children in ‘special children’s wards’ (Kinderfachabteilungen). Using the concept of traumascape as past trauma embodied at a site and brought into the present through commemoration, this article analyses the emergence of virtual traumascapes created by local memory agents who use new digital media as a means to represent these crimes and commemorate the victims of ‘special children’s wards’ in Germany, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic. This article shows that virtual traumascapes have contributed to a diverse landscape of memory concerning the murder of disabled children and youths described in five case studies. It also briefly discusses their impact on national memory regimes and the future of commemoration.
The Internet seems to have become the area where instances of individual and collective remembrance, of private and public commemoration, and of memory and postmemory intersect in a new and effective way. This article explores two Polish examples of World War II and Holocaust commemoration that have recently been issued on Facebook: the Warsaw Rising commemorative campaign and the educational project on the young Holocaust victim Henio Zytomirski. As the analysis demonstrates, what determines the value of such online projects is their performative effectiveness. The examination of both examples aims to contribute to the current debate on cultural memory, in which the focus is increasingly on the dynamical and processual character of remembering, rather than on memory as a static product.
In Russia, for decades, the collective memory of World War II has served two major functions. It has provided the major source of legitimatising the state and the ethical ground for sustaining the collective identity of those whose country now is very different from the one defended by their grandparents. Along with the state-imposed versions of the war and tired rituals and clichéd expressions of pride and gratitude, new ways of reflecting on the war began emerging. These are facilitated by new socio-technical practices made possible by globalisation and, in particular, by the Internet. Based on an analysis of selected Russian-language blogs, this article argues that although the nationalistic master narratives continue to function as glue for the nation, they become combined with stories and recollections that are attuned to the growing openness and interconnectedness of the world, problematising exclusionary renderings of the country’s contribution to the victory.
Mamoru Oshii’s Avalon stands firmly engrained in the director’s science fiction oeuvre of completely visually controlled films, focusing on a strong female protagonist shown in critical situations. At the same time the film marks Oshii’s return to live action cinema and takes him outside of Asia. This essay seeks to combine biographical information on the director with an aesthetic analysis of some of the images created for the purpose of this film. In particular the essay addresses Oshii’s interests in the relations between futuristic technologies and militarised societies, and his use of Polish and Eastern European imagery. I will argue that their combination can be seen as remediating and recontextualising images of war and conflict for a new generation that, through digital media, has developed a new dynamic relationship with history and the conflicts that build Europe and the world.
This essay takes Mamoru Oshii’s Avalon (2001) as a starting point for consideration of the impact of simulational interactive media on contemporary technoculture. The connections made in the film between virtual reality games and military research and development, and its quasi-simulational modelling of various historical ‘Polands’ in re-sequencing a dystopian end of history are the most valuable resources it brings to this study of how simulation’s predominant development represents a major challenge to the forms of critical cultural reflection associated with narrative-based forms of recording and interrogating experience. Analysis of the methods and rhetorics of simulation design in the military-industrial (and now military-entertainment) complex will elaborate the nature and stakes of this challenge for today’s globalising technoculture of ‘militainment’.
The Weight of Meaninglessness is a video performance that evokes the atrocities of the recent Bosnian history in an effort to highlight the ethical urgencies, complexities and paradoxes of externalising trauma within a site that collapses meaning and creates possibilities for the return of traumatic memory. The performance shows the artist violently and continuously scrubbing clean her permanently marked arm, withstanding bodily pain and struggling to breathe. The video also confronts the viewer with Srebrenica Genocide; the images of mass graves render the memory of the atrocity traumatising in its insufferable intensity. In the moment of examining trauma and locating its agency, the artist lays bare the paradox of violent memories that can only be externalised through inflicting violence on oneself. The artist’s essay addresses the historical and ideological conditions under which The Weight of Meaninglessness critiques and exercises violence.
The recent war in Bosnia-Herzegovina serves as an undercurrent in this short ethnographic film Roma Snapshots: a Day in Sarajevo. The film attempts to enquire into Sarajevan Roma’s sense of identification, belonging and memory. It portrays the daily lives of Roma through snapshots of their concurrent realities, where painful memories, laughter and religious beliefs exist side by side. The film comprises of simultaneous screening of four episodes, drawing attention to the filmmaker’s dilemma of how to best represent her subjects and which aspects of their lives to highlight. The film addresses visual anthropology’s concerns regarding ways of portraying reality and challenges the standard narrative approach to documentary filmmaking. Roma Snapshots: a Day in Sarajevo is accompanied by the filmmaker’s reflexive essay on anthropological filmmaking, digital media and life in post-war zones.
This article analyses various cyber conflicts and cyber crime incidents attributed to Russian hackers, such as the Estonian and Georgian cyber conflicts and the ‘Climategate hack’. The article argues that Russian hackers were blamed by dozens of outlets for the Climategate hack, because that was consistent with global media coverage of cyber crime incidents which portrayed Russians as highly powerful hackers responsible for many hacking incidents. This narrative also was congruent with the new Cold War rhetoric that consistently takes issue with Russia acting on its geopolitical interests. These interests are seen to manifest themselves in Russia’s objection to countries, formerly under its influence, participating in the NATO alliance and its seemingly obstructive stance at the Copenhagen summit on climate change.
This study investigates one such case study – the outburst of anti-Americanism among Russia Internet users during the Russia-Georgia military crisis of 2008. The paper analyzes the discussions of Washington Post articles at the Washington PostForeign Media Russian Internet site. The study shows that, despite numerous attempts by Russian users to deliver their messages to the American readers, their postings were ignored by the American users and global dialogue did not occur. It is this exclusion from the conversation, together with the denigration of Russia by writers in the United States that led to the intensification of anti-American sentiments among the Russians. The study makes clear that for the establishment of effective global public spheres access to new communication technologies and knowledge of English are inadequate, unless accompanied by the willingness to listen to others and a desire to understand them.
Web Wars: Digital Diasporas and the Language of Memory in Russia & Ukraine is a three-year research project within the collaborative HERA-funded project Memory at War: Cultural Dynamics in Russia, Poland & Ukraine. Led by Dr Alexander Etkind (Cambridge University), this project zeroes in on the ongoing memory wars between Russia, Ukraine, and Poland – nations where political conflicts take the shape of heated debates about the recent past. For Memory at War, five European universities – Cambridge, Helsinki, Tartu, Groningen and Bergen – cooperate to scrutinize Eastern Europe’s memory wars from varying angles. Web Wars is the Bergen pendant, which focuses on their outlines in digital media, and Russian and Ukrainian social media in particular. This submission maps the project design, methods and research objectives.
4.12 Book Reviews