Monthly Archive for: ‘December, 2012’

Hanging Here and Groping There: On Raúl Ruiz’s “The Six Functions of the Shot”

… I’m coming from something to that, and from that going to something. So I always did everything as an arc. I never did this without hanging here and groping there. Any good director that has any quality or any competency at all does not work on the one setup. He’s coming from where he was and groping to where …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/hanging-here-and-groping-there-on-raul-ruiz%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%9cthe-six-functions-of-the-shot%e2%80%9d/

The Art of Falling Apart: Petulia and the Fate of Richard Lester

Petulia (1968) sits at a crucial juncture in American/British director Richard Lester’s career. Some elements of its filigreed and somewhat hyperactive style relate it clearly to the often kinetic films that precede it – such as A Hard Day’s Night (1964), The Knack… and how to get it (1965), Help! (1965), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/the-art-of-falling-apart-petulia-and-the-fate-of-richard-lester/

Tending the Wounds of the Nation: Gender in Contemporary Iranian War Cinema

Black screen: indistinct voices: the sound of laboured breathing. Cut to the image of a young man, Ismael (Bahram Radan), his body writhing uncontrollably, overtaken by a sudden violent seizure. An old woman, Gilaneh (Fatemeh Motamed-Arya), Ismael’s mother, rushes to his side to comfort him and to protect his body from further injury, but she is herself struck with such …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/tending-the-wounds-of-the-nation-gender-in-contemporary-iranian-war-cinema/

Ensemble Film, Postmodernity and Moral Mapping

The marked increase in the popularity of the ensemble film in recent decades can be understood to be a product of the form’s potential to present and reflect upon the social, experiential and moral complexity of the postmodern era. Varying in scope from an ensemble of characters who may meet or “mismeet”[1] in the same city or suburb, as in …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/ensemble-film-postmodernity-and-moral-mapping/

JLG/Jean Améry

The death of cinema was the subject of intense theoretical concern in the final years of the twentieth century and beyond. The impending approach of the millennium as well as the 100th anniversary of film encouraged either an anguished, hesitant, or jubilant acknowledgement of the ephemeral nature of the medium.  New developments in digital technology, changing patterns of image production …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/jlgjean-amery/

Malick’s Music of the Spheres: The Tree of Life

The small but accelerating output of Terrence Malick has largely been approached via its visual poetry. Balancing this, each film has also brought a distinctive soundtrack, in particular the extended use of voice overs. The music channel has frequently combined an original score with increasingly long (unedited) excerpts from classical music. Via a brief survey of earlier Malick film scores, …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/malick%e2%80%99s-music-of-the-spheres-%e2%80%93-the-tree-of-life/

The Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals, and the Liberalisation of Film Censorship in Australia

The Federal Minister for Customs and Excise, Don Chipp, introduced the ‘R’ certificate for films in Australia in 1971. As is well known, Chipp’s decision was a key landmark in Australia’s shift from the paternalism and secrecy that had characterised censorship in the post-war period, to a more open and liberal regime.[1] This paper is an examination, based on archival …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/the-sydney-and-melbourne-film-festivals-and-the-liberalisation-of-film-censorship-in-australia/

Which Hollywood? Which Ophuls?

This text was first written in 1980, when I was 20 years old. I had already been published in magazines including Cinema Papers, Metro and Buff over the preceding year. My notes from the time inform me that I intended submitting this lengthy piece to the then-burgeoning Australian Journal of Screen Theory but, for some reason, I never bit that …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/which-hollywood-which-ophuls/

The Six Functions of the Shot

Every shot is independent of those that together with it make up the film. A film is a collection of independent shots. When we see a film of four hundred shots, we do not see a film, we see four hundred films. Each shot is the figure of one or more events captured from a point of view. In each …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/the-six-functions-of-the-shot/

VOLA X (Introduction)

In 1983, a long way before Leos Carax fixed on Herman Melville’s novel Pierre ou les ambiguïtés (as he knew it) for a film and TV project, I considered writing an appreciation of Vikki Riley’s several short Super-8 films of the era, called ‘Vikki: or, The Ambiguities’. (1) Where I found the Melville title was in Andrew Britton’s text on …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/vola-x-introduction/

The Canonisation of Junk (1982)

The motivations for this article originally had their genesis in a knee-jerk reaction to the barrage of bad rock journalism that is continuing to pick up momentum here in Melbourne. I will still stick with this intention, but try to present it in a much broader field of criticism whose context and place lay in a more localised history of …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/the-canonisation-of-junk/

Poetics of Pop: The Titles of Things (1982)

Introduction: I commissioned this text as part of a thirty-minute audiovisual piece titled Poetics of Pop, presented at the Clifton Hill Community Music Centre on 6 October 1982: a combination of pre-recorded voice (Vikki’s own), music (by Philip Jackson and Melissa Webb) and slide images (assembled and constructed by me). The images were frame grabs from mainly classic-era Hollywood movies …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/poetics-of-pop-the-titles-of-things-1982/

‘This Magazine is for Airing Personal Complaints’ (1983)

In my own city I am but a consumer. I work hard at my designated task, which is to document a personal history of my purchases and stock-take carefully for the future. I have few options – to join the parade of hybrid fashions or declare myself unaffected . Either way, I am involuntarily attached to the umbilical chord of …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/this-magazine-is-for-airing-personal-complaints-1983/

Caught … Sunless and The State of Things (1984)

Beyond six rivers and three mountain ranges rises Zora, a city that no one, having seen it, can forget. But not because, like other memorable cities, it leaves an unusual image in your recollections. Zora has the quality of remaining in your memory point by point, in its succession of streets, of houses along the streets, and of doors and …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/caught-sunless-and-the-state-of-things/

Ecce Homo: The Male-Body-In-Pain as Redemptive Figure

Kent L. Brintnall, Ecce Homo: The Male-Body-In-Pain as Redemptive Figure Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2011 ISBN: 9 780 226074702 US$32.50 (pb). 256pp (Review copy supplied by The University of Chicago Press) In Ecce Homo: The Male-Body-In-Pain as Redemptive Figure, Kent Brintnall, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, interrogates the spectacle of …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/ecce-homo-the-male-body-in-pain-as-redemptive-figure/

One Night on TV is Worth Weeks at the Paramount: Popular Music on Early Television

Murray Forman, One Night on TV is Worth Weeks at the Paramount: Popular Music on Early Television Duke University Press: Durham & London, 2012 ISBN: 978-082235011-8 US$27.95 (pb) 424pp (Review copy supplied by Duke University Press) As its subtitle suggests, One Night on TV is Worth Weeks at the Paramount explores the integration of popular music into early television. Much …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/one-night-on-tv-is-worth-weeks-at-the-paramount-popular-music-on-early-television/

Ephemeral Media: Transitory Screen Culture from Television to YouTube

Paul Grainge (ed.), Ephemeral Media: Transitory Screen Culture from Television to YouTube British Film Institute, Palgrave Macmillan 2011 ISBN: 978184457434 US$24.95 (pb) 248pp (Review copy supplied by Palgrave Macmillan) Collected essays always pose a challenge for the reviewer who – like a mother asked to pick her favorite child – feels pressed to consider the relative value of each one. …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/ephemeral-media-transitory-screen-culture-from-television-to-youtube/

A Post-May Adolescence: A letter to Alice Debord

Olivier Assayas, A Post-May Adolescence: A letter to Alice Debord (Translated and annotated by Adrian Martin and Rachel Zerner) Vienna: Austrian Film Museum publishers, 2012 ISBN: 978-3-901644-44-3 Euro: 14,00 (pb) 104pp (Review copy supplied by Columbia University Press) “At the crossroads of art and politics” Let’s just say I was the exact opposite of an outcast, since it was precisely …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/a-post-may-adolescence-a-letter-to-alice-debord/

Sergio Leone Something To Do With Death (reprint edition)

Sir Christopher Frayling, Sergio Leone Something To Do With Death (reprint edition) University of Minnesota Press, 2012 ISBN: 978-0-8166-4683-8 US $24.95 (pb) 592pp (Review copy supplied by University of Minnesota Press) Twelve years after its initial English publication Sergio Leone: Something To Do With Death by Sir Christopher Frayling has been granted a second edition by the University of Minnesota …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/sergio-leone-something-to-do-with-death-reprint-edition/

Moving Color: Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism

Joshua Yumibe, Moving Color: Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism Rutgers University Press, New York, 2012. ISBN: 978-081355 2972 US$29.95(pb) 230pp (Review copy supplied by Rutgers University Press) Joshua Yumibe’s Moving Color is a slender, thoughtful and carefully researched book about the emergence of applied colour techniques in cinema from the 1890s to the 1920s. To my knowledge it’s the only …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/moving-color-early-film-mass-culture-modernism/

Fantasy Film: A Critical Introduction

James Walters, Fantasy Film: A Critical Introduction Berg publishers, 2011 ISBN: 978-1-84788-308-7 US$29.95 (pb) 153pp (Review copy supplied by Berg publishers) Fantasy Film is a book written in the light of certain theoretical preconceptions, one of whose tendencies is to eschew the notion of theoretical preconception. Basic to Walters’ account of fantasy are notions of film form deriving from the …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/fantasy-film-a-critical-introduction/

Glimpses of Freedom: Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia.

May Adadol Ingawanij and Benjamin McKay (eds.), Glimpses of Freedom: Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia. Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications, Ithaca, New York, 2012 ISBN: 978-0-87727-755-2 US$23.50 (pb) 239 pp (Review copy supplied by Southeast Asia Program Publications) To what extent have independent and alternative film movements emerged in Southeast Asia? What forms do they take, and what roles do …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/glimpses-of-freedom-independent-cinema-in-southeast-asia/

Science Fiction Film: A Critical Introduction

Keith M. Johnston, Science Fiction Film: A Critical Introduction Berg Publishers, 2012 ISBN: 978-1-84788-476-3 US$29.95 (pb) 197pp (Review copy supplied by Bloomsbury Publishing) Keith M. Johnston’s Science Fiction Film: A Critical Introduction stands as a welcome addition to the field of science fiction overviews, one which more complements rather than replicates or competes with the relatively few other up-to-date monographs. …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/science-fiction-film-a-critical-introduction/

British Film Design: A History

Laurie N. Ede, British Film Design: A History London: I.B. Tauris, 2010 ISBN-13: 978-1848851085 £15.99 (pb) 248pp (Review copy supplied by I.B. Tauris) A Himalayan convent created in mountainous Pinewood; the Brief Encounter (1945) station and buffet; Dickens’ London with St Paul’s dome shimmering distantly beyond Fagin’s slum; right down to the modern contrasts of Trainspotting (1996) (complete with toilet-bowl …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/british-film-design-a-history/

New Philosophies of Film: Thinking Images

Robert Sinnerbrink, New Philosophies of Film: Thinking Images Continuum, 2012 ISBN: 978-144115343-2 US$36.99 (pb) 264pp (Review copy supplied by Bloomsbury Publishing) Robert Sinnerbrink’s New Philosophies of Film is an introduction to the hybrid field of film-philosophy, directed at enthusiasts and scholars of both philosophy and cinema. This emergent discipline has become popular in recent years and, with a clear structure …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/new-philosophies-of-film-thinking-images/

David Lynch

Justus Nieland, David Lynch University of Illinois Press, Chicago, 2012 ISBN: 978-0-252-07851-4 US$22.00 (pb) 194 pp (Review copy supplied by University of Illinois Press) The films of David Lynch have long been something of a catchall for scholarly analysis; easily moulded to suit a variety of interpretations and critical possibilities. Justus Nieland is quick to acknowledge this malleability in his …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/david-lynch/

The Neorealist body in Postwar Italian cinema

Karl Schoonover, The Neorealist body in Postwar Italian cinema University of Minnesota Press, 2012 ISBN-13: 978-0816675555 US$25 (pb) 328pp (Review copy supplied by University of Minnesota Press) The scholarship on Italian Neorealism is alive and well. The small group of films which typified post-World War II Italy still stimulates scholars in Film Studies and Italian Studies. Hence it is no surprise …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/the-neorealist-body-in-postwar-italian-cinema/

Olivier Assayas

Kent Jones (ed.), Olivier Assayas Austrian Film Museum, 2012 ISBN: 978-3-901644-436 US$30.00 (pb) 256pp (Review copy supplied by the Austrian Film Museum) In the chapter on L’Heure d’été (Summer Hours, 2008) in this collection on the work of Olivier Assayas, Geoffrey O’Brien describes the film as a story about the “transmission of objects” and the memories associated with them. In …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/olivier-assayas/

The Miracle Woman

Dan Callahan, The Miracle Woman Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2012 ISBN13: 978-1617031830 US$35 (hb) 272pp In one of her more direct moments, Barbara Stanwyck has said, “Acting is as important to me as eating and sleeping” (218).[1] Dan Callahan recounts this line towards the end of an impressively thorough book, a story of her life as it is seen …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/the-miracle-woman/

Jedda

Jane Mills, Jedda Currency Press, 2012 ISBN: 9780-86819-920-7 Au$16.95 (pb) 89pp (Review copy supplied by Currency Press) This ‘little book’ Jedda contains big ideas, conflicting ideas, ideas from the past and present. As part of the ‘Australian Screen Classics’ series Jane Mills presents an impassioned and insightful critique of Chauvel’s 1955 film Jedda. In keeping with the publisher’s brief, Mills …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/jedda/

Fashion in Film

Adrienne Munich(ed.) Fashion in Film Indiana University Press, 2011 ISBN: 978-0-253-22299-2 US$27.95(pb) 376pp (Review copy supplied by Indiana University Press) This is a joyful discovery: Fashion in Film, edited by Adrienne Munich is a box of delights. Indeed it is an indulgence to have so many excellent authors in one volume where the level of writing is extremely high. For …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/fashion-in-film/

Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy: The Last Masterpiece

Raymond Foery, Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy: The Last Masterpiece. Maryland and Plymouth: Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 9780810877559 US $40.00 (hb) 187pp (Review copy supplied by Scarecrow Press) Alfred Hitchcock returned to his native England to make Frenzy (1972), which turned out to be the director’s penultimate film. In the text under discussion, Raymond Foery explores this movie’s production and critical reception. …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/alfred-hitchcock%e2%80%99s-frenzy-the-last-masterpiece/

Cinema’s Alchemist: The Films of Péter Forgács

Bill Nichols & Michael Renov (eds.), Cinema’s Alchemist: The Films of Péter Forgács Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2011 ISBN: 0816648751 $US27.00 (pb) 320 pp (Review copy supplied by University of Minnesota Press) ‘From the Ruins of a Filmic Memory’ In this rich and detailed book about screen-artist Péter Forgács, various contributors call him by different names: artist-archivist, scribe, witness, …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/cinema%e2%80%99s-alchemist-the-films-of-peter-forgacs/

Film Trilogies: New Critical Approaches

Claire Perkins and Constantine Verevis (eds.),. Film Trilogies: New Critical Approaches Palgrave MacMillan, 2012 ISBN: 978-0-230-25031-4 US$80(hb) 264pp (Review copy supplied by Palgrave Macmillan) At a time when franchise films currently dominate the domestic and international box office and many critics deride the concept of the trilogy as nothing but an extended marketing scheme, new perspectives on the film trilogy …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/film-trilogies-new-critical-approaches/

Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution

Ramon Lobato, Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution London: British Film Institute/Palgrave Macmillan, 2012 ISBN: 978-1-84457-411-7 US$85 (hb) 176pp (Review copy supplied by Palgrave Macmillan) Ramon Lobato opens this impressively researched book with a personal anecdote about attending the Melbourne International Film Festival and finding many of the same films at a shop “of dubious legality” just around …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/shadow-economies-of-cinema-mapping-informal-film-distribution/

Cinema and Experience: Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Theodore Adorno

Miriam Bratu Hansen, Cinema and Experience: Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Theodore Adorno University of California Press, 2012 ISBN: 978-05202656-08 US$29.95(pb) 408pp (Review copy supplied by University of California Press) Miriam Hansen finished the manuscript for Cinema and Experience shortly before her untimely death in 2011. Fittingly, it is a book that reflects her years of teaching and writing in …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/cinema-and-experience-siegfried-kracauer-walter-benjamin-and-theodore-adorno/

South African Cinema 1896-2010

Martin Botha, South African Cinema 1896-2010 Bristol: Intellect, 2012 ISBN: 978-1-84150-458-2 US$50.00 (pb) 307pp (Review copy supplied by Intellect) “Taking an inclusive approach to South African film history, this volume represents an ambitious attempt to analyse and place in appropriate socio-political context the aesthetic highlights of South African cinema from 1896 to the present.” If that blurb had appeared on …

http://www.screeningthepast.com/2012/12/south-african-cinema-1896-2010/
Adrian Martin