New SENSES OF CINEMA: Haneke, Méliès, Hanoun, Bergman, Villaverde and more


Great Film Studies Theses from Texas Universities

Image from Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982). You can read about this film in Chi Hyun Park’s 2008 PhD thesis: Orientalism in U.S. cyberpunk cinema from Blade Runner to the Matrix

Film Studies For Free brings you one of its regular reports from eRepositories. This time it’s the turn of the institutes of higher learning located in the largest state of the contiguous U.S.A., the online theses of which are kindly and neatly hosted by the wonderful folks at the Texas Digital Repository.

Seek, and ye shall find, and FSFF did indeed seek and find some graduate work of excellent quality, and on an incredibly wide range of topics. Ye can find it linked to below.

The PhD theses, in particular, will shortly be added to FSFF‘s permanent listing of Online Film and Moving Image Studies PhD and MPhil Theses.

Ye all come back now! 

>Sound on Screen: The Exorcist, Haneke, J-Horror, Warner Bros., animation, Apocalypse Now


Image from Apocalypse Now Redux (Francis Ford Coppola, 2001)

Film Studies For Free only just heard about the Spring 2010 issue of online journal Cinephile (Vol. 6 No. 1). So, while technically FSFF is ‘rushing you the news’, it red-facedly admits that it arrived a little late to this particular, openly accessible, Film Studies party…

Anyhoooo, it’s an excellent issue on ‘Sound on Screen’, available as one large PDF. The contents are given below.

FSFF earnestly promises to keep its e-ears closer to the ground next time an issue is due…

Table of Contents

>New Senses of Cinema: Assayas, Ava Gardner, Haneke, Morin, Rouch, Epstein, African Francophone cinema, Citizen Kane, digital cinema


One Touch of Venus (William A. Seiter, 1948), starring Robert Walker and Ava Gardner. See Edgar Morin‘s essay on Gardner here.
As ever, Film Studies For Free rushes you the latest e-journal news. Today, the latest Senses of Cinema hit the e-newsstands. Without further bloggish ado, read the below links to contents and weep with film-scholarly joy!

Issue 57 Contents

Feature Articles

Great Directors

Festival Reports

  • Celluloid Liberation Front on Venice

Book Reviews

Cteq Annotations

>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:


>Michael Haneke Studies: videos, podcasts and article links


Dedicated to the memory of Peter Brunette, 1943-2010
The above is a new video essay produced for Film Studies For Free‘s baby sister site Filmanalytical. It explores some of the obvious, as well as the more obscure, similarities between two films: Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960) and Code inconnu: Récit incomplet de divers voyages/Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys (Michael Haneke, 2000). Like all mash-ups it’s best enjoyed and/or most effective if you know the original films. Read an explanation of the context of this work here.
Thomas Elsaesser on Michael Haneke (excerpt) And see Elsaesser’s book chapter on this work here (pdf -details below)


 Film Studies For Free created a big Michael Haneke links list in October last year to coincide with the flood of online material on this filmmaker as a consequence of the cinematic release of Das Weisse Band/The White Ribbon. The flood shows no sign of abating, however, and so here’s a new and updated list of material. For ease of use, FSFF has listed at the top items that weren’t included in the October entry.

At the top of this post is a new video essay made by FSFF‘s author for a new companion website to  this blog: Filmanalytical. The site will focus on video and written essays on films and will necessarily be more “occasional” than FSFF, but hopefully useful nonetheless for those of you who like your Film Studies to be online and freely accessible.

This entry, like two other FSFF posts here and here, is dedicated to the memory of Peter Brunette, the film critic and scholar who died last week. Peter’s last book was on Michael Haneke, and below is a link to a wonderful podcast interview that he gave on the subject of this filmmaker.

Finally, there are some other great new English-language books on Michael Haneke — to join Catherine Wheatley’s 2008 Michael Haneke’s Cinema: The Ethics of the Image — some of which FSFF’s author has been poring over. Here are links to limited previews or listings of each of them on Google Books:

New freely accessible items:

Full list of freely accessible items:

Aaron Hillis at Cinephiliac;Darren Hughes at Long Pauses; David Lowery at Drifting; Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone & The Infield Fly Rule; .Dipanjan at Random Muses; Eric Henderson at When Canses Were Classeled; Filmbrain [Andrew Grant] at Like Anna Karina’s Sweater; Matthew Clayfield at Esoteric Rabbit; Michael Guillen at The Evening Class; and Zach Campbell at Elusive Lucidity.

>Making the meaning affective: Peter Brunette’s film studies


Still image from the final shot of L’Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
 Luxuriating in the view over the Sicilian coast, the Mt. Etna volcano, and the Mediterranean sea here at the Taormina Film Festival. Oh yeah, and seeing some good films too!
Peter Brunette,  June 15, 2010

Rather than viewing the narrative content of Antonioni’s films as symbolic, as representations of an absent meaning, [Peter] Brunette calls for an appreciation of the visual in and for itself, as meaning ‘is made affective, through line, shape, and form’ (60). Meaning emerges from the image, it is ‘made affective’. Searching for authorial intent behind seemingly obvious symbols — Brunette shows through the discrepancy between Antonioni’s own suggestions and the contrasting critical reception of his films — will inevitably say more about the critical frame employed, than the film itself. What Brunette is claiming is the loss of referent for the sign, the loss of signification. This links nicely to his deconstructive concern, which is itself indicative of the flaws in the existentialist debate. The absences that characteristically mark Antonioni’s films (witness the vanishing Anna (Massari) in L’avventura) points not to a transcendental absence, but rather indicates the way out of the Platonic illusion of the coexisting Ideal and (vs) real. ‘David Martin-Jones, ‘[Review of Brunette’s book on Antonioni’, Film-Philosophy, Volume 3 Number 50, December 1999

Katherine’s exclamation [in Viaggio in Italia, Roberto Rossellini, 1954] is also emblematic of the death theme that permeates the film, and that culminates in the sequence so aptly described by Brunette in the following passage: “The parts begin to form themselves into a man and a woman; death has caught them making love, or at least wrapped tightly in each other’s arms. Suddenly, the museum, the catacombs, and the Cumaean Sybil all come together in one startling image: the physicality and rawness of the ancient world, the ubiquity of death in life, and love, however inadequate and flawed, as the only possible solution”. Asbjørn Grønstad, “The Gaze of Tiresias: Joyce, Rossellini and the Iconology of “The Dead””, Nordic Journal of English Studies, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2002, citing Peter Brunette, Roberto Rossellini, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987, 1996)

In Peter Brunette and David Wills’s much under-valued Screen/Play: Derrida and Film Theory [Princeton University Press, 1989] they discuss the form that a deconstructive mode of analysis might take. They write: ‘From a deconstructive stand-point, analysis would no longer seek the supposed center of meaning but instead turn its attentions to the margins, where the supports of meaning are disclosed, to reading in and out of the text, examining the other texts onto which it opens itself out or from which it closes itself off’. […] [I]t strikes me that a serious discussion of Brunette and Wills’s book would be essential to any work purporting to discuss cinema and deconstructive politics.[…]  David Sorfa, Film-Philosophy, Vol. 2, No. 23, 1998
A number of the tributes to film critic and scholar Peter Brunette, who died last week at the Taormina Film Festival in Italy,  conveyed very movingly their opinion that he left this world while doing what he loved.

Those of us who followed Peter’s activities and travels, at least from the vantage point of his social media network, certainly loved his updates on them, like his final Facebook posting above. His death was a huge shock, and a great loss, notably to the two spheres — film scholarship and theory, and film criticism — that he managed to join up, much more successfully than most, through his own prolific practice (he gave an account of some of the issues at stake in this choice in an interview here, and Gerald Peary’s obituary beautifully refers to his unusual trajectory, for an academic, here).

FSFF‘s author’s acquaintance with Peter Brunette began with his ‘director books’ (listed with his other work in his CV here), and in particular with his marvellous study of the films of Roberto Rossellini, now one of the best freely accessible e-books online, thanks to Peter and his publishers. Peter was a fan and an important supporter of freely accessible culture and ideas on the Web, as this article he wrote in 2000 testifies.

Fortunately, a very good selection of other articles and chapters (and a substantial podcast) by him may be experienced at the click of a mouse, quite aside from the virtual reams of online movie criticism under his byline. That means that the following list of links to the former work – to Peter Brunette’s formal film studies – is, then, the most fitting tribute that FSFF can give to a scholar who gave so much and influenced so many in his too short (or just long enough) life.

>R.I.P. Peter Brunette and Teshome Gabriel: online tributes


Last updated June 24, 2010
Teshome Gabriel, 1939-2010

Peter Brunette, 1943-2010

Film Studies has lost two of its giants.

On Monday, Professor Teshome Gabriel of UCLA, a leading theorist and scholar of African, Third and Third World Cinema, and memory and cinema, passed away in Los Angeles.

And, just yesterday, Peter Brunette, Reynolds Professor of Film Studies at Wake Forest University, author of important books on film theory, Italian cinema and the work of individual film directors, and a very well-known and popular film critic, died while in attendance at the Taormina Film Festival in Italy.

Film Studies For free will post full, individual, tributes of its own to each of these scholars very shortly, but in the meantime is gathering together, below, a list of links to some of the online tributes to both men. If you know of any you would like to see included, please email FSFF, or link to them in the comments section of this post.

The author of this blog would like to pass on her sincere condolences to the families and friends of both men.

Tributes to Teshome Gabriel

Tributes to Peter Brunette

>With a twist: on puzzle films, mind games, unreliable narrators, & spoilers


Latest update May 10, 2010

Film Studies For Free is a sucker for films and television dramas with a twist, and also a big fan of reading about audiovisual narrative complexity and narrational unreliability. Never one to keep its enthusiasms to itself, here’s a little list of some excellent, and openly accessible, online reading of the scholarly kind on those very tricksy topics, and a lovely little short film that FSFF came across on its e-travels, too…

Quiet Work by Sean Martin, 2007 (also see here)

“A short film about gardens and gardening, as narrated by my Mother (an unreliable narrator!). Inspired a little by the home movie sequence in Tarkovsky‘s Solaris, and also the Scottish filmmaker Margaret Tait. It’s in stereo. The title is from the poem by Matthew Arnold“.