|Actress Nicole Kidman at the 2011 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Photograph by Caroline David, shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license at Wikipedia. Listen to Pam Cook’s brilliant talk about Kidman’s “commodity stardom” here.|
Film Studies For Free was thrilled to discover that audio files of the talks from the conference on Age Spots and Spotlights: Celebrity, Ageing and Performance, which took place on December 9, 2011 at Birkbeck College, London, are now available online for listening and download.
The talks are of a very high calibre indeed, so several hours of truly worthwhile, scholarly listening await you. Links and a description of the event are given below. Enjoy!
Organisers’ description of the event:
Diane Keaton has just published her memoirs. Reflecting on becoming a mother at 50 and kissing Jack Nicholson at 57, Keaton is ageing in her own unique way. On Friday 9 December Birkbeck, University of London, [held] a major research symposium exploring how stars including Keaton, Brigitte Bardot, Nicole Kidman and Elizabeth Taylor aged in the public eye.This one-day research symposium, organised by Dr Janet McCabe and Dr Deborah Jermyn, [debated] two significant (and interlinked) issues; performance and ageing. Encompassing both historical and topical case studies, speakers [considered] a range of celebrities, stars and case studies drawn from different national and industrial contexts. The keynote speaker w[as] Professor Ginette Vincendeau (King’s College, University of London).
The co-organisers believe the time is right for new scholarship focussing on ageing and celebrity and for us to think anew about how we think about growing old. We hear endless reports of how age is becoming increasingly relative, ‘60 is the new 40’ and so on’. With the baby boomer generation going into retirement and being reluctant to be written off as ‘old’, there is a heightened demand for positive representations of ageing. At the same time, stars like Helen Mirren are re-writing the rules for older women working in Hollywood, says Jermyn. The symposium addresse[d] some of these issues and ask[ed]s just how much things are really changing, since women stars are still subjected to a much more critical eye as they age than are their male co-stars. ‘Growing old, and I do mean growing’ writes Diane Keaton, ‘requires reinvention’. I like this quote, says McCabe. We must adjust our ideas about how we age without talking exclusively about how we defy the ageing process. This symposium adopt[ed] different perspectives […] about how celebrity is changing our perceptions and attitudes toward ageing and getting older.
- Dr. Tim Markham – Ageing disgracefully [on celebrity war reporters]
- Dr. Mike Allen and Dr. Janet McCabe – Imitations of Lives [on Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s The Trip]
- Prof. Mary Wood – Auteur or Celebrity? [on Franco Zeffirelli]
- Panel 1 Questions
- Dr. Susan Smith – Get Off Your Asses For These Old Broads! [on Elizabeth Taylor]
- Dr. Deborah Jermyn – Glorious, Glamorous and that Old Standby, Amorous [on romcoms about older women]
- Dr. Kirsty Fairclough – Nothing Less Than Perfect [on the gossip industry and older female celebrities]
- Prof. Pam Cook – Nicole Kidman: Back to Nature
- Panel 2 Questions
|He knows his stuff…|
Hey readers…. A really quick link today, one specially for the end of a long and tiring teaching term. Film Studies For Free loves this Tumblr by girldetective and hopes that you will find it stimulating, too.
It’s all part of the Hey Girl/Ryan Gosling Tumblr meme (the origins of which can be found here). In a nutshell, following the success of Danielle Henderson’s blog, Feminist Ryan Gosling (which, in turn, was a derivative of the blog F[***] Yeah Ryan Gosling), many other bloggers rehashed the format using references to different fields of study, including Typography, International Development and Rhetoric. Being the nerdy cinephile that I am, I kept hoping that somebody would create a Film Studies version of the meme, but when that didn’t happen, I decided to just make one myself. [girldetective’s mission statement]
|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:
- Sarah Sinwell (Northeastern University) presents: The Art of Seduction: Film Spectatorship in the Age of the Cell Phone
- Ross Melnick (Emory University) presents: BIG News from India: BIG Cinemas and Diasporic Indian Moviegoing in the United States
- Daniel C. Faltesek (University of Iowa) presents: The 3D Machine: An Experiment With Aura, Television, and Installation
- Jesse Schlotterbeck (University of Iowa) presents: DVDs Like LPs: The Official Websites of Musical Biopics and the Contemporary Film Collector
- “Fandom In/As the Academy” by Paul Booth A look at the specific pedagogical value of fandom as an activity and how it can be appropriated in a variety of educational contexts.
- “We Have Met the Fans, and They Are Us: In Defense of Aca-Fans and Scholars” by Catherine Coker and Candace Benefiel Fans hold their objects of study to a higher standard. How can the critical study of any text succeed without the passionate and knowledgeable participation of the scholar?
- “The Gathering of the Juggalos and the Peculiar Sanctity of Fandom” by Michael Dwyer The Gathering of the Juggalos is the scene of questionable fan practices contrary to the noble portrait of fandom elaborated by several scholars.
- “‘We are all together:’ Fan Studies and Performance” by Jen Gunnels and M. Flourish Klink Gunnels and Klink argue that fan studies parallels performance studies in discerning tensions between researcher and subject.
- “Stop Being an Elitist, and Start Being an Elitist” by David Jenemann Given how Aca-fandom has created its own canon and looks down its nose at certain cultural forms like sports broadcasting, we could use a little of Adorno’s elitism in the discipline today.
- “Telling Tastes: (Re)producing Distinction in Popular Media Studies” by Eve Ng What we study and how we learn to talk about it is productive of our identities along mostly covert dimensions of power. How do scholars distinguish themselves from the mainstream critics?
- “Embracing the ‘Overly Confessional:’ Scholar-Fandom and Approaches to Personal Research” by Tom Phillips A scholar argues that embracing an “overly confessional” approach to his academic writing is integral to the fidelity of his research.
- “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.
|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.
- Deer, Lesley, The repetition of difference: Marginality and the films of Hal Hartley, PhD Thesis, University of Newcastle, 2000
- Durham, Christopher Louis, Masculinity in the post-war western: John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, PhD Thesis, University of Newcastle, 2005
- Hamilton, Jayne, Gender representation and textual strategies in the films of Pilar Miró, PhD Thesis, University of Newcastle, 1997
- Mendez-Fiddian, Maria del Carmen, The representation of the family in Spanish cinema from 1950 to the present day, PhD Thesis, University of Newcastle, 1989
- Naughten, Rebecca Claire, Spain Made Flesh: Reflections and projections of the national in contemporary Spanish stardom, 1992-2007, PhD Thesis, University of Newcastle, 2010
|Cate Blanchett as Galadriel in the The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.|
At the same time, this wily blog is certainly no purist when it comes to campaigning for Open Access in scholarly publishing. FSFF‘s inbuilt pragmatism means that it is always very happy to pass on news of the experiments of otherwise ‘closed’ or ‘subscription only’ academic publishers with marketing strategies involving limited free online access to their scholarly publications.
While there is, as yet, no challenger on the horizon to Intellect‘s extensive championing of the Film Studies freebie, publishing giant Routledge is currently offering up occasional free ‘article collections’ for particular subjects. Their Film Studies collection is focused on the following four key themes: Celebrity and Stardom; European Cinema; Race and Film; and Audience and Spectatorship.
Free access to the below articles in their current collection will last until December 31, 2010, so do be sure to download them before then.
- Daniel Allington, ‘“How Come Most People Don’t See It?”: Slashing the Lord of the Rings’, Social Semiotics, 17: 1, 2007: 43 — 62
- Chris Holmlund, (2010) ‘Celebrity, ageing and Jackie Chan: middle-aged Asian in transnational action’, Celebrity Studies, 1: 1, 2010: 96 — 112
- Luke McKernan, ‘A fury for seeing: Cinema, audience and leisure in London in 1913’, Early Popular Visual Culture, 6: 3, 2008: 271 — 280
- Andrew L. Mendelson, ‘On the function of the United States paparazzi: mosquito swarm or watchdogs of celebrity image control and power’, Visual Studies, 22: 2, 2007: 169 — 183
- Dorota Ostrowska, ‘Languages and Identities in the Contemporary European Cinema’, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 15: 1, 2007: 55 — 65
- Stephen Sharot, ‘The ‘New Woman’, star personas, and cross-class romance films in 1920s America’, Journal of Gender Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1, March 2010, 73–86′
- Darko Štrajn, ‘Identity in a notion of the Eastern and Western European cinema’, New Review of Film and Television Studies, 6: 1, 2008: 41 — 50
(boyishly middle-aged) film star Jackie Chan
Film Studies For Free is delighted to flag up Routledge’s new journal Celebrity Studies as its inaugural issue is available free to download online. A quick glance at the names of editors and contributors will show that this is a highly worthwhile new venture. A detailed examination of its rationale and its contents underscores that very positive first impression.
FSFF‘s increasingly ancient author particularly enjoyed the most ‘film studies’ oriented article in this issue: Chris Holmlund’s wonderful essay ‘Celebrity, Ageing, And Jackie Chan: Middle-Aged Asian In Transnational Action‘. Below is the abstract for that contribution, and below that are direct links to all the issue’s contents:
Assessing ageing is one of the key tasks confronting celebrity and star studies today. If film could reflect upon its own relation to death only from the 1950s on, in films such as Sunset boulevard (1950) and Whatever happened to Baby Jane (1962), where ‘the aging process of the first generation of stars exposed a glamour worn thin on screen’, today ‘the allure of the star’ is most definitely ‘inseparable from his or her heroism and ruin’ (Celeste 2005, Journal of Popular Film and Television, 33, pp. 32, 29). Today, moreover, middle age increasingly matters. With 78 million people in the US aged 44-62, internet and print marketing, movies, television and more tout rejuvenation through Botox, steroids, plastic surgery and wardrobe/cosmetic make-overs. Hollywood stars and celebrities point us towards a brave new world where mature adulthood is seen primarily in chronological, biological and medical terms. It is no coincidence that photographs of healthy, wealthy stars grace each issue of AARP Magazine. Trainers, nips, tucks, lighting, make-up and digital retouching all help. Nor is it coincidence that roughly half are men – most white; a goodly number black. What, however, of middle-aged, Asian, male celebrities? Global mega-star Jackie Chan offers the perfect opportunity to explore ageing, race and masculinity in transnational action. Drawing upon Gina Marchetti’s analysis of Chan’s ‘flexible masculinity’ in the Rush hour trilogy (2009), I study the nine films released theatrically post-2000 featuring the middle-aged star. In conclusion, I speculate upon what the future will bring, remembering that we are all ‘aged by culture.’ Screen Actors Guild (SAG) statistics chillingly indicate just how few roles are available to actors (if especially to actresses) of all races after 40. Asians in particular are marginalised. Might other models of ageing be possible? How do film stars and celebrities impact upon conceptions and experiences of ageing today in our increasingly ‘mediagenic’ culture? Jackie Chan serves here as ‘special case’ and as ‘test case’.
- Editorial: A Journal in Celebrity Studies – Su Holmes and Sean Redmond
- Approaching Celebrity Studies – Graeme Turner
- The Adventures of the Bridge Jumper – Jacob Smith
- The promotion and presentation of the self: Celebrity as marker of presentational media – P. David Marshall
- ‘A trust betrayed’: celebrity and the work of emotion – Heather Nunn and Anita Biressi
- The ‘place’ of television in celebrity studies – James Bennett and Su Holmes
- Avatar Obama in the Age of Liquid Celebrity – Sean Redmond
- Introduction – James Bennett
- Public Personas, Private Lives and the Power of the Celebrity Comedian: A consideration of the Ross and Brand ‘Sachsgate’ affair – Lisa Kelly
- Female Celebrities and the Media: the gendered denigration of the ‘ordinary’ celebrity – Milly Williamson
- Celebrity Diplomacy, Spectacle and Barack Obama – Douglas Kellner
- Seeing Stars: Spectacle, Society and Celebrity Culture – by Pramod K. Nayar reviewed by Steve Spittle
- Fame by Mark Rowlands – Reviewed by Emma Bell
Film Studies For Free wanted to let its readers know about Antenna, a very stimulating blog from graduate students and faculty in the Media and Cultural Studies area of the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Here’s what this relatively new site says about itself:
Antenna is a collectively authored media and cultural studies blog committed to timely yet careful analysis of texts, news, and events from across the popular culture spectrum. The site regularly responds to new works and developments in television, film, music, gaming, digital video, the Internet, print, and the media industries.
Antenna is intended to address a broad public inside and outside the university walls. Within those walls, though, it further intends to bridge the gap between scholarly journals, which remain the paradigm for scholarly discourse but too often lack the ability to reply to issues and events in media with any immediacy, and single-author media scholar blogs, which support swift commentary but are limited in their reliance upon the effort and perspectives of individuals. Coordinated by a group of writers who draw on a variety of approaches and methodologies, Antenna, therefore, exists as a means to analyze media news and texts, both as they happen and from multiple perspectives.
Antenna is currently operated and edited by graduate students and faculty in the Media and Cultural Studies area of the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Although, while in its current stage, the content published on the site is written largely by members of that program, Antenna is currently in the process of expanding our author team, and we hope eventually to include contributions and comments from a diverse collection of writers.
Antenna’s goal is to create a forum in which readers and contributors participate in active, open, and thoughtful debate about media and culture.
Antenna is designed to respond quickly to events, and thus rather than be published on a set, periodic schedule, Antenna updates its content continually. Because Antenna is interested in timely responses, we encourage short entries. Extensive presentation of evidence is not required, though supplementary links are encouraged.
With its extremely lively house style, and wide-ranging topics, FSFF thinks Antenna has a great future ahead of it. For examples of some good film-related posts, it recommends you check out the following to start with:
The power behind Film Studies For Free‘s e-throne is a ‘person of a certain age‘, making her (chrono) logically susceptible to a good number of the many charms and talents of actor Patrick Swayze. She is, thus, saddened by the news of his untimely death.
Swayze was an actor of surprisingly slight physical stature, but one who loomed very large and very beautifully, not only in Hollywood and independent cinema, and, of course, in the estimation of his many fans and admirers, but also in the musings of quite a few Film Studies scholars. In particular relation to the latter, he helped to inspire — FSFF is sure — many worthwhile studies of (post-)modern gender and sexuality, ‘looking relations‘, and acting in film.
In fond memory of his work for the screen, a few links to openly-accessible items of some of that scholarship are given below:
- Katherine Barscay, ‘Kathryn Bigelow’s Gen(d)re’, Cinephile (Post Genre Issue), Vol. 4, Summer 2008
- Douglas Booth, ‘Surfing Films and Videos: Adolescent Fun, Alternative Lifestyle, Adventure Industry, Journal of Sport History, Fall 1996
- Kathryn Kane, ‘Passing as Queer and Racing Towards Whiteness: To Wong Foo, Thanks but No Thanks’, Genders OnLine Journal, Issue 42, 2005
- Ahava Leibtag, ‘”The only thing you have to be is yourself”: Ideology and Identity Politics in Dirty Dancing and The Last Dance‘, MA Thesis, Georgetown University, 2002
- Marianne Mulvey, ‘Is there sincerity in hollow speech? Feeling the cliché in contemporary performance’, Nowiswhere, Issue 3, 2009 (scroll down)
- Thomas Piontek, ‘Kinging in the Heartland; or, The Power of Marginality’, Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 43, No. 3/4, 2002, pp. 125-143
- Nicola Rehling, ”White Masculinity in Cross-Dressing Comedies’, All or Nothing: White Heterosexual Masculinity in Contemporary Popular Cinema, PhD Thesis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 2005 (pp. 228-233)
- Tracy Sutton and Gregory Fouts, ‘Measuring and Contextualising “Chemistry” in the Movies’, Journal of Media Psychology, Volume 10, No. 1, Winter 2005
- Brenda Wilson, ‘Blurring the Boundaries: Auteurism & Kathryn Bigelow’, Cinephile (Gender and Violence Issue), Vol. 1, April 2005
Image of Barbara Stanwyck, 1907-1990
Film Studies For Free is star-studies-struck today, but it has opted to combine those glitzy fascinations with its deep interest in film acting and performance studies. The result is a broad search-topic which has brought forth yet another rich vein of online and openly accessible film and media studies, as the multiple links below — to wonderful new work as well as to some classic research — should testify.