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David Lynch on creativity and Ed’s Co-ed from The Bioscope

I just had a transcendentally enjoyable afternoon watching two videos: the first one I’ll discuss (actually the one I viewed second) was an (at times) insightful, and always highly engaging, free online recording of David Lynch‘s beatific guest lecture at the University of Oregon on November 8th, 2005, which I can thoroughly recommend to Film Studies For Free‘s (small but growing) ‘bliss-seeking’ readership. The link is HERE; there are various viewing options but I found the RealPlayer one to be the most straightforward on this occasion (and it also allows you to record the video, if you want). There’s also a podcast version HERE.

Following a lovely introduction by Associate Professor Kathleen Rowe Karlyn, the video shows Lynch amiably and very capably addressing a large gathering of fans and sceptics on the subject of “Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain,” with shorter speaking turns taken for part of the (nearly) two-hour long session by his fellow promoters of Transcendental Meditation, Drs. John Hagelin and Fred Travis.

Much of what Lynch has to say, of course, treats the topic of TM. Lynch is also widely-known now (as well as for his films) for his eponymous Foundation which promotes this practice in the declared interests of ‘world peace’. But there is plenty in the Lecture about his films and filmmaking practice more generally, too, thankfully, hence FSFF‘s recommendation. If you want to skip the ‘science’, Lynch answers great questions from the audience for the first fifty minutes and then returns for some more questions one hour and thirty-two minutes in.

A particular highlight for me was Lynch’s response to a question (about 28 minutes in) about Mulholland Dr. (USA, 2001): ‘What the hell is the box and the key?’. Lynch continues with an anecdote about the turning of the TV pilot version of his script into the full-length movie version. This, in turn, is immediately followed by a nice story I hadn’t heard before about Lynch meeting Federico Fellini just before the latter’s death in 1993.

It turns out, though, that Lynch has done this same gig numerous times, including at other universities. So, if you are a true believer, or you just really want an overload of “Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain,” or if, like me, (for a [meagre] living) you study what directors repeatedly say about their work, you could try out the Google Video of the talk as given on the day after the UOregon lecture at UC Berkeley, click HERE. Or, there’s a Google search page HERE giving a list of all the other, online and free video versions of this talk out there in cyberspace.

I came across the Lynch video at the University of Oregon Scholars’ Bank link because of a recommendation to check out another film stored in that online archive by Luke McKernan over at The Bioscope (see my earlier post about this fabulous blog HERE). The Bioscope is currently posting reports from the 27th Annual Pordenone Silent Film Festival/Giornate del Cinema Muto. In the report from Day 4, McKernan discussed, inter alia, a silent film made at the University of Oregon in 1929: Ed’s Co-ed. He warmly recommends it thus:

There is not a trace of amateurism about Ed’s Co-ed. The story is that of every college movie you ever saw – country boy Ed comes to college, is picked on by other students, he falls for the girl but is rejected by all after he admits to a crime to cover up for someone else who actually committed it, his talents are recognised (he plays the violin, he’s top in all his grades), he wins through at last. It’s so like every college film made that you could be fooled by its ordinariness, but this is a college film that actually came from a college, and it is a treasure trove of period attitudes, codes, fashions and language.

McKernan gives the great link to the streamed and downloadable versions of the film in the UOregon website. I thoroughly enjoyed this film (before Film Studies For Free‘s Lynch marathon) though would have loved to have seen it at Pordenone with the live accompaniment from Neil Brand (piano) and Günter Buchwald (violin).

>David Lynch on creativity and Ed’s Co-ed from The Bioscope

>

I just had a transcendentally enjoyable afternoon watching two videos: the first one I’ll discuss (actually the one I viewed second) was an (at times) insightful, and always highly engaging, free online recording of David Lynch‘s beatific guest lecture at the University of Oregon on November 8th, 2005, which I can thoroughly recommend to Film Studies For Free‘s (small but growing) ‘bliss-seeking’ readership. The link is HERE; there are various viewing options but I found the RealPlayer one to be the most straightforward on this occasion (and it also allows you to record the video, if you want). There’s also a podcast version HERE.

Following a lovely introduction by Associate Professor Kathleen Rowe Karlyn, the video shows Lynch amiably and very capably addressing a large gathering of fans and sceptics on the subject of “Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain,” with shorter speaking turns taken for part of the (nearly) two-hour long session by his fellow promoters of Transcendental Meditation, Drs. John Hagelin and Fred Travis.

Much of what Lynch has to say, of course, treats the topic of TM. Lynch is also widely-known now (as well as for his films) for his eponymous Foundation which promotes this practice in the declared interests of ‘world peace’. But there is plenty in the Lecture about his films and filmmaking practice more generally, too, thankfully, hence FSFF‘s recommendation. If you want to skip the ‘science’, Lynch answers great questions from the audience for the first fifty minutes and then returns for some more questions one hour and thirty-two minutes in.

A particular highlight for me was Lynch’s response to a question (about 28 minutes in) about Mulholland Dr. (USA, 2001): ‘What the hell is the box and the key?’. Lynch continues with an anecdote about the turning of the TV pilot version of his script into the full-length movie version. This, in turn, is immediately followed by a nice story I hadn’t heard before about Lynch meeting Federico Fellini just before the latter’s death in 1993.

It turns out, though, that Lynch has done this same gig numerous times, including at other universities. So, if you are a true believer, or you just really want an overload of “Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain,” or if, like me, (for a [meagre] living) you study what directors repeatedly say about their work, you could try out the Google Video of the talk as given on the day after the UOregon lecture at UC Berkeley, click HERE. Or, there’s a Google search page HERE giving a list of all the other, online and free video versions of this talk out there in cyberspace.

I came across the Lynch video at the University of Oregon Scholars’ Bank link because of a recommendation to check out another film stored in that online archive by Luke McKernan over at The Bioscope (see my earlier post about this fabulous blog HERE). The Bioscope is currently posting reports from the 27th Annual Pordenone Silent Film Festival/Giornate del Cinema Muto. In the report from Day 4, McKernan discussed, inter alia, a silent film made at the University of Oregon in 1929: Ed’s Co-ed. He warmly recommends it thus:

There is not a trace of amateurism about Ed’s Co-ed. The story is that of every college movie you ever saw – country boy Ed comes to college, is picked on by other students, he falls for the girl but is rejected by all after he admits to a crime to cover up for someone else who actually committed it, his talents are recognised (he plays the violin, he’s top in all his grades), he wins through at last. It’s so like every college film made that you could be fooled by its ordinariness, but this is a college film that actually came from a college, and it is a treasure trove of period attitudes, codes, fashions and language.

McKernan gives the great link to the streamed and downloadable versions of the film in the UOregon website. I thoroughly enjoyed this film (before Film Studies For Free‘s Lynch marathon) though would have loved to have seen it at Pordenone with the live accompaniment from Neil Brand (piano) and Günter Buchwald (violin).

Assorted recommendations

Thanks for some very nice email responses to Film Studies For Free‘s last posting. Today, FSFF brings you a round up of links to some great online resources.

  • First of all, a very good, film-related, online, Open Access journal that I didn’t have in my earlier list: Limina, a refereed academic journal of historical and cultural studies based in the Discipline of History at the University of Western Australia. For a good sample article, please try Tama Leaver‘s ‘Rationality, Representation and the Holocaust in Life is Beautiful’.
  • Next, please check out a great website run by the International Documentary Association (IDA) which has lots of items of academic Film-Studies interest: documentary.org. The best features (from FSFF‘s point of view) are lots of freely accessible, online video clips, and a very good selection of magazine articles drawn from the IDA’s print publication Documentary (link to latest issue on documentaries related to elections HERE, and to the magazine archive HERE).
  • Via ConvergenceCulture.org, a great link to audio and video recordings of the 2006 and 2007 Futures of Entertainment (1 & 2) conferences at MIT, including papers given by Henry Jenkins (see also HERE), Jason Mittell (see also HERE), and Danah Boyd ( see also HERE). I do hope that lots of other conference organisers will note just how great it is to be able to access international conference papers in this way, from anywhere in the world, albeit only with the right technology, of course. See the Convergence Cultures Consortium weblog for updates about Futures of Entertainment 3.
  • Somewhat tardily, I just discovered that you can subscribe to a truly excellent weblog by Moving Image Source (now added to Film Studies For Free‘s blogroll). FSFF has previously commented on the parent site’s great resources (including wonderful podcasts). The weblog has very high quality material, indeed: for example, see this great posting ‘This Way, Myth’ by Jonathan Rosenbaum (also see HERE).
  • Finally, for today, my recommendation of two of the most useful weblogs (for Film Studies academics, at any rate) that I’ve yet come across with a focus on film industry research.
    • The first is Bigger Picture Research – a ‘A no-nonsense look at film biz research from around the world’ – which is expertly run by Jim Barratt (also author of a soon to be published study of Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste (1987) by Wallflower Press). Bigger Picture Research has fantastic links, is frequently updated, and is beautifully (and most unfussily) set out. It does what it says on its tin, and more: in other words, it has an admirably global focus and reach. There is no better website that critically and concisely examines the commercial and industrial discourses of film. Please do subscribe (get the feed HERE)and support this blog!
    • The second is a link I’ve only just thought of adding to FSFF‘s lengthy blogroll, which is r a t h e r strange; as a researcher into contemporary cinema and the impact of new technologies on old film practices and discourses (like auteurism), it’s the blog I’ve been following the longest (since its inception in May 2005). The aforehinted-at website is CinemaTech, a blog that focuses precisely on ‘how new technologies are changing cinema – the way movies get made, discovered, marketed, distributed, shown, and seen’. It’s run by Scott Kirsner, a prolific film journalist and digital film commentator. It’s not as ‘links-oriented’ as Bigger Picture Research, but (like that blog) does give good opinion, as well as accurate news coverage, in very rapid response to film-industry developments. FSFF apologises profusely for waiting until now to link to CinemaTech. Please help to assuage its guilt by (co-)adopting this wonderful blog (get the feed HERE). Thank you.

Now, back to the global financial crisis… Have a good weekend, won’t you.

>Assorted recommendations

>Thanks for some very nice email responses to Film Studies For Free‘s last posting. Today, FSFF brings you a round up of links to some great online resources.

  • First of all, a very good, film-related, online, Open Access journal that I didn’t have in my earlier list: Limina, a refereed academic journal of historical and cultural studies based in the Discipline of History at the University of Western Australia. For a good sample article, please try Tama Leaver‘s ‘Rationality, Representation and the Holocaust in Life is Beautiful’.
  • Next, please check out a great website run by the International Documentary Association (IDA) which has lots of items of academic Film-Studies interest: documentary.org. The best features (from FSFF‘s point of view) are lots of freely accessible, online video clips, and a very good selection of magazine articles drawn from the IDA’s print publication Documentary (link to latest issue on documentaries related to elections HERE, and to the magazine archive HERE).
  • Via ConvergenceCulture.org, a great link to audio and video recordings of the 2006 and 2007 Futures of Entertainment (1 & 2) conferences at MIT, including papers given by Henry Jenkins (see also HERE), Jason Mittell (see also HERE), and Danah Boyd ( see also HERE). I do hope that lots of other conference organisers will note just how great it is to be able to access international conference papers in this way, from anywhere in the world, albeit only with the right technology, of course. See the Convergence Cultures Consortium weblog for updates about Futures of Entertainment 3.
  • Somewhat tardily, I just discovered that you can subscribe to a truly excellent weblog by Moving Image Source (now added to Film Studies For Free‘s blogroll). FSFF has previously commented on the parent site’s great resources (including wonderful podcasts). The weblog has very high quality material, indeed: for example, see this great posting ‘This Way, Myth’ by Jonathan Rosenbaum (also see HERE).
  • Finally, for today, my recommendation of two of the most useful weblogs (for Film Studies academics, at any rate) that I’ve yet come across with a focus on film industry research.
    • The first is Bigger Picture Research – a ‘A no-nonsense look at film biz research from around the world’ – which is expertly run by Jim Barratt (also author of a soon to be published study of Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste (1987) by Wallflower Press). Bigger Picture Research has fantastic links, is frequently updated, and is beautifully (and most unfussily) set out. It does what it says on its tin, and more: in other words, it has an admirably global focus and reach. There is no better website that critically and concisely examines the commercial and industrial discourses of film. Please do subscribe (get the feed HERE)and support this blog!
    • The second is a link I’ve only just thought of adding to FSFF‘s lengthy blogroll, which is r a t h e r strange; as a researcher into contemporary cinema and the impact of new technologies on old film practices and discourses (like auteurism), it’s the blog I’ve been following the longest (since its inception in May 2005). The aforehinted-at website is CinemaTech, a blog that focuses precisely on ‘how new technologies are changing cinema – the way movies get made, discovered, marketed, distributed, shown, and seen’. It’s run by Scott Kirsner, a prolific film journalist and digital film commentator. It’s not as ‘links-oriented’ as Bigger Picture Research, but (like that blog) does give good opinion, as well as accurate news coverage, in very rapid response to film-industry developments. FSFF apologises profusely for waiting until now to link to CinemaTech. Please help to assuage its guilt by (co-)adopting this wonderful blog (get the feed HERE). Thank you.

Now, back to the global financial crisis… Have a good weekend, won’t you.

>More on artists’ film and video: an e-book, and ‘vodcast’ links

>

From Ecology, directed by Sarah Turner, 2007. Photo: Matthew Walter/Sarah Turner

A few more links have been added to Film Studies For Free‘s list of film-scholarly podcasts and videocasts, most notably one to a page on the LUXONLINE site, a brilliant web resource for exploring British based artists’ film and video in-depth (offering critical writing, stills, streaming video clips, and other contextual resources).

The link I’ve just added is to LUXONLINE‘s offering of ‘vodcasts’ of interviews with leading British film artists and curators (link HERE, please note, though, that you need to be registered first with iTunes in order to access almost all of the vodcasts). There are video interviews with Andrew Kötting, Angela Kingston (independent curator), Tina Keane, Ruth Novaczek, Chris Welsby, Alia Syed, Stephen Dwoskin, and Harold Offeh. The latest vodcast is with Sarah Pucill (there’s currently no need for an iTunes account for this one: there’s a direct link HERE)

The LUXONLINE site also has a lot of original artists’ films, or clips from artists’ films, available for viewing in streaming video, so it is well worth taking the time to explore the site properly. You can start your searches for resources by particular artists HERE and for particular streamed films/clips HERE.

There’s another organisation which has even more user-friendly listings to assist with tracking down British-based artists’ film available for viewing more generally on the web (links HERE and HERE). The British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection is a research project led by David Curtis and Steven Ball and based at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London. It focuses in particular on the history of artists’ film and video in Britain.

Like LUXONLINE, the British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection also provides a good collection of freely accessible research papers on artists’ film or by film artists (link HERE), including ones by Malcolm Le Grice and Michael Mazière. There’s also a paper by my friend and former colleague in Film Studies at the University of Kent, Sarah Turner, which sets out some of the conceptual background to her 2007 film Ecology (read a BBC interview HERE), which premiered at last year’s Cambridge Film Festival.

Finally, there’s also a link now in Film Studies For Free‘s ‘Film Open Access e-books’ listing to Gene Youngblood‘s hugely influential and prescient Expanded Cinema, a 444 page book, originally published in 1970 (downloadable in a single .pdf via Ubu.com; and also accessible HERE in separate sections via http://www.vasulka.org/). Expanded Cinema, as the very useful Wikipedia article on it argues, was

the first book to consider video as an art form, [and] was influential in establishing the field of media arts. In the book [Youngblood] argues that a new, expanded cinema is required for a new consciousness. He describes various types of filmmaking utilising new technology, including film special effects, computer art, video art, multi-media environments and holography.

More on artists’ film and video: an e-book, and ‘vodcast’ links

From Ecology, directed by Sarah Turner, 2007. Photo: Matthew Walter/Sarah Turner

A few more links have been added to Film Studies For Free‘s list of film-scholarly podcasts and videocasts, most notably one to a page on the LUXONLINE site, a brilliant web resource for exploring British based artists’ film and video in-depth (offering critical writing, stills, streaming video clips, and other contextual resources).

The link I’ve just added is to LUXONLINE‘s offering of ‘vodcasts’ of interviews with leading British film artists and curators (link HERE, please note, though, that you need to be registered first with iTunes in order to access almost all of the vodcasts). There are video interviews with Andrew Kötting, Angela Kingston (independent curator), Tina Keane, Ruth Novaczek, Chris Welsby, Alia Syed, Stephen Dwoskin, and Harold Offeh. The latest vodcast is with Sarah Pucill (there’s currently no need for an iTunes account for this one: there’s a direct link HERE)

The LUXONLINE site also has a lot of original artists’ films, or clips from artists’ films, available for viewing in streaming video, so it is well worth taking the time to explore the site properly. You can start your searches for resources by particular artists HERE and for particular streamed films/clips HERE.

There’s another organisation which has even more user-friendly listings to assist with tracking down British-based artists’ film available for viewing more generally on the web (links HERE and HERE). The British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection is a research project led by David Curtis and Steven Ball and based at Central St Martins College of Art and Design, London. It focuses in particular on the history of artists’ film and video in Britain.

Like LUXONLINE, the British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection also provides a good collection of freely accessible research papers on artists’ film or by film artists (link HERE), including ones by Malcolm Le Grice and Michael Mazière. There’s also a paper by my friend and former colleague in Film Studies at the University of Kent, Sarah Turner, which sets out some of the conceptual background to her 2007 film Ecology (read a BBC interview HERE), which premiered at last year’s Cambridge Film Festival.

Finally, there’s also a link now in Film Studies For Free‘s ‘Film Open Access e-books’ listing to Gene Youngblood‘s hugely influential and prescient Expanded Cinema, a 444 page book, originally published in 1970 (downloadable in a single .pdf via Ubu.com; and also accessible HERE in separate sections via http://www.vasulka.org/). Expanded Cinema, as the very useful Wikipedia article on it argues, was

the first book to consider video as an art form, [and] was influential in establishing the field of media arts. In the book [Youngblood] argues that a new, expanded cinema is required for a new consciousness. He describes various types of filmmaking utilising new technology, including film special effects, computer art, video art, multi-media environments and holography.

>Some Bordwellian inspiration (in blogpost and podcast)

>

The latest blog post by David Bordwell (‘They’re looking for us‘, 19 September 2008) treats the important issue of the reaction shot, a film technique which provides ‘one of the most enjoyable and arousing dimensions of cinematic storytelling’.

Bordwell’s post is, as usual, a remarkable, and beautifully illustrated, piece of digital scholarship which takes us, very entertainingly, from a contemporary example of a reaction shot (drawn from the 2007 film Music and Lyrics, directed by Marc Lawrence), and working thus in the context of what Bordwell considers intensified continuity editing; through Steven Spielberg‘s Jaws (1975), John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow (1986), Carl Dreyer’s La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (1928), and Carol Reed‘s The Third Man, ending up with Road Warrior (1981, aka Mad Max II, directed by George Miller).

Bordwell’s impressive tour of this technique explores the many ways in which the reaction shot instructs us ‘in how to respond to the fictional world as a whole’, as well as cognitive, or neuroscientific, theories of how ‘Reaction shots may gain their strength from not merely our ability to understand facial expressions but the power of facial expressions to trigger in us an echo of the emotion displayed.’

Bordwell concludes his highly informative and enlightening post with characteristic modesty: ‘There’s much more to say about the reaction shot’. He’s right, of course: we might ‘want as well to talk about films that withhold information about characters’ reactions—by using enigmatic or ambiguous reaction shots, or by eliminating reaction shots altogether’. ‘ But it is really difficult to imagine saying anything more, or saying anything in a more illuminating way, in under 2,750 words. With their blog Observations on film art and Film Art, Bordwell, and Kristin Thompson, his partner and frequent co-writer, have very much perfected the art of concise and scholarly digital communication.

We must be very thankful, thus, that both of them came to be inspired by the possibilities for the creation and dissemination of new film scholarship which are offered by the internet, in general, and by weblogging, in particular. There’s a great podcast in which Bordwell talks about this very topic (recorded in January 2007), which is very much worth checking out. It’s accessible HERE at Zoom in Online (be warned that you have to endure a short advert, and not-the-best audio quality, though).

[Note added on September 8, 2008: Check out a fascinating, subsequent post on reaction shots – ‘Non-Reaction Shots’ on the great blog IScreen Studies, by Ben Goldsmith, who reacts very productively indeed to Bordwell’s thoughts]