Seven Great Film Studies PhD Theses from the University of Edinburgh

Framegrab from Jeux interdits/Forbidden Games (René Clément, 1952)

The classically idyllic, carefree world of childhood would appear to be diametrically opposed to the horrors of war and world-wide conflict. However, throughout film history, filmmakers have continually turned to the figure of the child as a prism through which to examine the devastation caused by war.
This thesis will investigate the representation of childhood experience of the Second World War across six fiction films: Roberto Rossellini’s Paisan (1946) and Germany Year Zero (1947), René Clément’s Forbidden Games (1952), Andrei Tarkovsky’s Ivan’s Childhood (1962), Jan Nemec’s Diamonds of the Night (1964) and Elem Klimov’s Come and See (1985). [Pasquale Iannone, Childhood and the Second World War in the European fiction film PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh, 2011: 11; hyperlinks added by FSFF]

Film Studies For Free went a-hunting at the research repository at the University of Edinburgh and found that seven great full-text PhD theses have been archived there.

Each of these works of original research has a huge amount to offer any student of cinema, and so it’s really great that their authors and their university have made them publicly available online.

FSFF hopes its readers will join it in saluting them!


>Seeing the join: on film editing


In memoriam Dede Allen  
(December 3, 1923 – April 17, 2010)
The below entry was originally published the day before Dede Allen died. Allen was the highly innovative editor of such notable films as Bonnie and Clyde, The Hustler, Rachel, Rachel, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Night Moves, Slap Shot, Reds, The Breakfast Club and Henry and June

Dissolve by Aaron Valdez (2003): “Found footage film constructed of hundreds of dissolves taken from old educational films and reassembled to create a meditation on our own impermanence”. 

Film Studies For Free presents a much requested links list today, one to openly accessible, high quality scholarly studies of film editing. Without further ado, let’s jump cut straight to it:

  • ‘The Art of Film Editing’, Special Issue of P.O.V: A Danish Journal of Film Studies, edited by Richard Raskin, Number 6 December 1998 – PDF containing:
    • Søren Kolstrup, ‘The notion of editing’   
    • Sidsel Mundal, ‘Notes of an editing teacher’  
    • Mark Le Fanu, ‘On editing’
    • Vinca Wiedemann, ‘Film editing – a hidden art?’
    • Edvin Kau, ‘Separation or combination of fragments? Reflections on editing’
    • Lars Bo Kimersgaard, ‘Editing in the depth of the surface. Some basic principles of graphic editing’
    • Martin Weinreich, ‘The urban inferno. On the æsthetics of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver
    • Scott MacKenzie, ‘Closing arias: Operatic montage in the closing sequences of the trilogies of Coppola and Leone’
    • Claus Christensen, ‘A vast edifice of memories: the cyclical cinema of Terence Davies’,
    • Richard Raskin, ‘Five explanations for the jump cuts in Godard’s Breathless

    Flânerie and (Post)Modernity: Links in memory of Anne Friedberg

    Slavko Vorkapić‘s original montage sequence “The Furies” (created for the film Crime Without Passion, 1934; music by Ludwig van Beethoven). While Vorkapić had complete creative freedom in writing, designing, directing and editing his montage sequences for feature films, his work was often reduced to its bones in the released productions. In the 1930s, Vorkapić was dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. For more information about Vorkapić, see this great post at Bright Lights After Dark

    Film Studies For Free was very sad to hear last week of the untimely death, on October 9, of Anne Friedberg, a much loved and admired
    professor, and inspiring Chair of the Critical Studies Division, at the University of Southern California‘s School of Cinematic Arts (see her wonderful 2008 commencement speech here).

    As her LA Times obituary put it so well (also see here), Friedberg expanded the study of film, emphasizing its relationship to other visual fields, including architecture, art history and digital media. She was author of the important book Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern and co-editor of an influential anthology of critical and theoretical writing about film, Close Up 1927-1933: Cinema and Modernism.

    In 2008, Friedberg was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an academy film scholar. It awarded her $25,000 to research and write a multimedia project about Slavko Vorkapić, a Serbian director and editor who achieved prominence in the 1930s for his montage work in such Hollywood films as Crime Without Passion (see above), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and The Good Earth.

    Always a hugely innovative as well as generous scholar, last year Professor Friedberg launched a freely-accessible, interactive translation, or extension, of her most recent book (The Virtual Window: From Alberti to Microsoft, 2006): The Virtual Window Interactive. It was through this latter project, as well as her brilliant work on cinema, culture, and (post)modernism, that FSFF‘s author became a fervent admirer of her work.

    In memory of Anne Friedberg, and in honour of her important legacy for screen studies, here is a list of links to pieces of online and openly-accessible scholarship on the topic of flânerie, and the flâneur/flâneuse, in film and (old and new) media studies, all of which acknowledge their debt to the great Californian scholar’s work: