A Star Was Born… : Links in Barbra Streisand’s Honour on her 70th Birthday!

Frame grab from A Star Is Born ( Frank Pierson, 1976)

Each version of A Star Is Born may detail the rise of an unknown, but does so through extremely well-known performers, albeit ones at different stages of their careers. […] Barbra Streisand […] was at the height of her career in 1976. Her domination of A Star Is Born (she contributed to the writing and even, as Kris Kristofferson, her co-star, saw it, the directing [(Burke, Tom. “Kris Kristofferson Sings the Good-Life Blues.” Esquire 86 (December 1976): 126–28ff), 208-9]) was another manifestation of a desire to play out aspects of her own life. The credited director has recounted at length how, during preproduction, Streisand debated the degree to which her autobiography should be reflected in Esther Hoffman ([Pierson, Frank. “My Battles with Barbra and Jon.” New York 9 (November 15, 1976): 49–60], 50). If James Mason’s character in the 1954 film becomes through role reversal the “fictional counterpart of the neurotic, self-destructive person that Garland [had] become” ([Jennings, Wade. “Nova: Garland in ‘A Star Is Born.'” Quarterly Review of Film Studies 4, no. 3 (summer 1979): 321–37], 333), then Streisand’s Esther Hoffman directly fulfills everything that Streisand herself has become by 1976. Richard Dyer even suggests that among the “number of cases on which the totality of a film can be laid at the door of the star” the case can be made “most persuasively” for Streisand’s A Star Is Born (Dyer, Richard. Stars. London: BFI, 1979], 175) [Jerome Delamater, ‘”Once More, from the Top”: Musicals the Second Time Around’, in Horton, Andrew, Play it again, Sam: retakes on remakes. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998, p. 84]

Film Studies For Free wishes a very happy 70th birthday to Barbra Streisand, actor, singer, songwriter, film director, producer, and queer feminist icon extraordinaire.

Below, you can find a tiny little celebration in related scholarly links – the only gift that (rather besotted Barbra fan) FSFF knows how to give.

If anyone knows of any other good items (and it is far too short and unworthy a list so far…), please leave a comment and FSFF will add them to the list.

    Media History Digital Library

    It has been brilliantly publicised already, but Film Studies For Free wanted to make sure all its readers were alerted to the launch of an amazing new website for the Media History Digital Library, an excellent non-profit organisation that, for a good while now, in conjunction with the Internet Archive, has been working to digitize and open up full public access to collections of classic film and media periodicals that belong in the public domain.

    On the site, you will find access to over 200,000 digitized pages of public domain media industry trade papers and fan magazines, including Moving Picture World (1912-1918), Film Daily (1918-1936), Photoplay (1917-1940), Radio Broadcast (1922-1930), and much more.

    As well as its collections, the new website sports a great blog by MHDL Founder and Director David Pierce, and it also has its own Facebook page.

    You are also encouraged to support this brilliant project with sponsorship. As such brilliance doesn’t just come about by accident, nor can it possibly come about for free, FSFF strongly urges you to think about supporting this work financially, especially if you know that you, or your institution, are likely to benefit to any great degree from access to these wonderful resources.

    >Great new Essays on Film and Video from Mediascape

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    The above video is a very short, but effective, introduction to issues affecting small nations as they produce cinema, using the example of the Nordic countries, by film scholar Mette Hjort. It is also a fascinating digital promotional tool for a University of Washington Press book series co-edited by her. See Hjort’s excellent essay on ‘small nation cinema studies’ in the new issue of Mediascape. And also see Tom Zaniello‘s excellent article there on emerging, new-media forms of documentary including the digital advert.
    Film Studies For Free was really delighted to see that there’s a new issue out of online journal Mediascape. The Winter 2011 issue explores

    the complex notions of the local and global as they intersect with media: industries and studies; cultures of production, distribution, exhibition and reception; as well as the text itself. Some of the questions this issue engages with include: In what ways does the global marketplace facilitate local products and productions? How do actors negotiate the politics of globalization in how they represent themselves in either the digitally enhanced or real worlds? How can digital media balance both the autonomy of local communities and the ongoing impact of corporate globalization? What role do academic scholars and students play in the globalization of media studies? [read more of this introduction here].

    As with earlier issues of this high quality and strikingly original journal, there are a good number of items in audiovisual formats (including video essays, video exemplars, etc). Alongside Mette Hjort’s and Tom Zaniello’s articles, FSFF particularly appreciated Brian Hu‘s excellent video essay on the use of popular music in Wong Kar-wai’s films: truly wonderful, analytical viewing and listening! But there are many others pieces of great interest and these are all directly linked to below.

    Thanks for a really great issue, Mediascape.
    Features: 

    Reviews:

    Meta:

    Columns:

    Columns Video:

    >On Spectatorship, Reception Studies, Fandom and Fan Studies: In Media Res and Flow

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    Picture from Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla via Flickr, used and altered under Creative Commons License permission.

    Film Studies For Free wanted you to know you have to go with the new issue of Flow: A Critical Forum on Television and Media Culture on Fandom and Fan Studies.  Oh, and then you can join the party already started at In Media Res on issues of spectatorship. The great contents of these worthy e-journals are directly linked to below:

    In Media Res December 13-17, 2010 (Theme week organized by Ian Peters [Georgia State University])

    Flow: A Critical Forumon Television and Media Culture

    • “Revisiting Fandom in Africa” by Olivier J. Tchouaffe The application of fandom and its resources is not the same in all cultures, and African fans might not be recognized as legitimate fans. The point of this piece is to demonstrate that there is a unifying figure of American domination of mass culture.

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

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    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

    >"European film-makers construct the United States"

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    Image from Rancho Notorious (Fritz Lang, 1952). Read Hilaria Loyo’s
    Star and National Myths in Cold War Allegories: Marlene Dietrich’s Star Persona and the Western in Fritz Lang’s Rancho Notorious (1952)

    Thanks to the ever brilliant David Hudson, Film Studies For Free heard about a must-read item on American cinema, a special issue of the European Journal of American Studies entitled European film-makers construct the United States. Links to all the brilliant and openly accessible articles are given below.

    European Journal of American Studies (1, 2010) Special issue on Film: European film-makers construct the United States

    >PhD Theses on Hal Hartley, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, and Spanish cinema studies

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    Javier Bardem as Raúl and Penélope Cruz as Silvia in Jamón Jamón (Bigas Luna, 1992) as discussed in Rebecca Naughten’s work Spain Made Flesh: Reflections and projections of the national in contemporary Spanish stardom, 1992-2007

    Film Studies For Free was delighted when Spanish cinema scholar Rebecca Naughten responded to its request for information about online PhD theses. Not only did Rebecca let FSFF know that her own really excellent thesis has recently been made available online, but she also did the hard work of trawling through the online repository at the University of Newcastle, where her work is stored, to find four other very good theses archived there. ¡Muchísimas gracias, Rebecca!

    These works have just been added to FSFF‘s permanent list of Online Film and Moving Image Studies PhD Theses (see the link in the table of contents in the right-hand sidebar for future reference) which now makes more than 130 theses accessible to you at the click of your mouse.

    Do please let FSFF know if your online PhD thesis, or others you know of, is not yet in this list.

    >Film-Historia: Index to English language articles

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    Over the years, Film Studies For Free has noticed that there were some excellent English-language articles on lots of different aspects of film history to be found at the (very difficult to navigate) website of the excellent Universitat de Barcelona-based film journal Film-Historia
    Until today, however, there was no easy way to access all of these articles, but …  (drum roll) … ta-da! Cast your eyes at the awesome list of direct links below, and, if you feel so inclined, thank your lucky stars that FSFF‘s author needed some distraction from her country’s general election shenanigans this morning.