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Showing papers in "Film & History in 2015"


Journal ArticleDOI

37 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: The Oxford Dictionary of Film Studies as discussed by the authors is a dictionary of film studies that includes the historical, technical as well as theoretical dimension of cinema, and it is a book to be dipped in and out off rather than read in a continuous fashion.
Abstract: Oxford Dictionary of Film Studies Annette Kuhn & Guy Westwell. Oxford University Press, 2012. 516 pages; $18.99 paperbackWhile browsing through this handy little volume I found myself reflecting on the difficulty of reviewing a dictionary. The reason is not so much that there is naturally no consistent narrative or argument to comment on but rather that in my view the usefulness of this work will only really be evident over time. It is a book to be dipped in and out off rather than read in a continuous fashion and it remains to be seen how often I will come back to it when reading and writing about film.That said, there are a number of arguments that can be made in favour of this new Oxford Dictionary of Film Studies. I actually did put it to the test and used it for a range of different tasks that I frequently set for my students in film classes, such as finding definitions for a range of film styles and genres, which they can then apply to their analysis. In addition, I also used it for some of my own current research projects to see how useful it could be. For example , I am currently completing a monograph on contemporary Science Fiction cinema. Flere, the dictionary enabled me to quickly confirm background information and details on digital technologies, such as up-to-date terminology and ideas for further fields of investigation. In both cases the dictionary proved a helpful and informative source.What makes this book different from other dictionaries on film is that it is a dictionary of film studies and thus includes the historical, technical as well as theoretical dimension of cinema. It covers standard industry terms and aspects as well as key concepts in film theory and analysis, such as Apparatus Theory, Psychology and Structuralism to name a few. There are also a range of interesting features to this book, such as the recommendation of websites for further reading. At first, I was disappointed that the links were not directly given in the book, so that the reader first has to go to the publisher's website, find the section and then click on the relevant link. However, I realised that this might be beneficial as it allows the publisher to update links regularly, for example when websites move, which I hope is the plan.In terms of content, I did like the fact that the dictionary displays the international dimension of cinema prominently, with a wide range of national cinema covered, including such lesser-known, small film industries as those in Algeria, Bolivia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Ukraine. …

12 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: Schmitt et al. as mentioned in this paper argued that low sex ratio (Le, a low number of men compared with the number of women of reproductive age) leads to higher socio-sexuality among women, particularly among women.
Abstract: Much has been written on the demonization of women in film noir through the emblematic figure of the femme fatale in Classic American noir, the ruthless siren who commits criminal acts and/or lures her male victim into committing them on her behalf before seeking to eliminate him. The widely accepted sociological explanation for the emergence of this spider-woman fatale figure in American noir of the 1940s and early 1950s sees her as emerging from a crisis of masculinity precipitated by the nation's traumatic experience of the Second World War, especially as ex-servicemen readjusted with great difficulty to civilian life (Schatz 1981: 113-14). A comparison of the American situation with that of France, however, reveals the limitations of this view. Large-scale war inevitably leads to a demographic imbalance: a dearth of marriageable men and a concomitant oversupply of unwed young women seeking partners. Cross-cultural studies informed by socio-economic and evolutionary theory suggest that low sex ratio (Le., a low number of men compared with the number of women of reproductive age) leads to higher socio-sexuality ("promiscuity"), particularly among women (Schmitt "Sociosexuality from Argentina to Zimbabwe: A 48-nation study of sex, culture, and strategies of human mating" 2005). These studies offer compelling ecological and psycho-sexual reasons for viewing low sex-ratios as a significant contributor to the diverse cinematic representations of feminine sexuality in American and French variants of the femme fatale.Classic femme fataleThe femme fatale of classic American film noir (as portrayed by the likes of Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, and Ava Gardner) lures her hapless male lover into committing murder or other violent crimes on her behalf and then promptly sets about disposing of him. This spider-woman is usually set against an ingenue who lacks her prowess so that the power of resourceful, modern woman can be exposed for its villainy and the submission of the misunderstood, good-bad girl can be substituted for it. While accompanied by other feminine figures in many classic noirs in the 1940s and '50s (Martin 1998; Walker 2007; Grossman 2009), the spider-woman, who would destroy both earnest men and innocent women, has thus become the most ruthless of fatales, the most memorable and the most emblematic figure of noir paranoia.1 She has thus been read archetypally, and not unproductively, as an agent of cruel fate or as the man's own lust, greed, and criminal violence displaced and projected upon the aspiring modern woman. The structural positioning of the American noir hero as fall guy or victim (e.g., Double Indemnity, B. Wilder, 1944; Detour, E. Ulmer, 1945; The Postman Always Rings Twice, T. Garnett, 1946; The Killers, R. Siodmak, 1946; Out of the Past, J. Tourneur, 1947; Lady from Shanghai, O. Welles, 1948), who is fatally attracted and caught like a helpless fly in the fatale's web of criminal deceit, certainly reinforces such a reading.Many commentators have noted how the fatale as spider-woman combines physical seductiveness with lethal ambition: a drive for personal independence within which the man is no longer a romantic object of desire. As Janey Place argues, "what she's after is not the man. He's another tool. What she's after is something for herself" (in Horowitz, Film noir, 1994). Moreover, the fatale's ruthless agency and narrative power are often signaled by her visual dominance within the frame, as in Double Indemnity, when Neff meets Phyllis Dietrichson: the mise en scene has the insurance salesman in high angle, looking upstairs towards a scantily clad Phyllis, framed in commanding reverse low-angle. However, despite her visual and narrative power, in the classical period, patriarchal order is finally restored through the fatale's death or imprisonment.The widely accepted sociological explanation for the emergence of this spider-woman fatale figure in American noir of the 1940s and early 50s sees her as a product of the accession of women to positions of greater economic independence, even as ex-servicemen struggled to re-enter the family and the workforce. …

12 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1943) channeled Warner Bros.'s longstanding anti-German and anti-Nazi stance into themes of group identity and collective resistance to the Nazis, an approach promoted by the new Office of War Information.
Abstract: No figure in fact or in fiction embodies absolute evil as much as the Nazi. The American-movie Nazi drew its initial presence and force from the sheer enormity of Nazi destructive impact on the real world, the Nazis' own projection of their dark drama onto the movie screens of that world, and the emigration of much German, European, and Jewish talent to Hollywood in the 1930s. Meanwhile, Hollywood largely avoided the subject of Nazism for political and economic reasons. From 1941 on, however, the Nazi figure assumed a place in a wide variety of movie genres, not only because of the fervor of war, but because the Nazi allowed Hollywood to engage American issues of class, race, and power without indicting American culture itself.Hollywood movies about the First World War caricatured Prussian officers as bearers of the arrogant rot at the top of Old World society. This type of "pre"-Nazi figure was evident even in the urbane officer in Man Hunt (Fritz Lang, 1941) in contrast to the thuggish party leader (Confessions of a Nazi Spy [Anatole Litvak, 1939]).Such urbanity usually conceals thuggishness, however. Erich von Stroheim's portrayal of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in Paramount's Five Graves to Cairo (Billy Wilder, 1943) recalls Stroheim's earlier portrayals of Prussians, but it adds the menace of Nazi racism. Wilder, an Austrian-Jewish emigre, indirectly exposes the Nazi persecution of Jews when Rommel notes that there is no Moses to part the Red Sea for the British and when Rommel rages, in German, at officers dallying with a French hotel maid: "Is this the German army or a Jews' school?" The movie elliptically refers to the Final Solution (articulated formally in early 1942) when Rommel observes ominously about prison camps that "we can use paper in Germany, a great deal of paper," hinting at the bureaucracy of euphemisms used in Nazi communications (Sonderbehandlung- "special handling"-being the most infamous).Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1943) channeled Warner Bros.'s longstanding anti-German and antiNazi stance into themes of group identity and collective resistance to the Nazis, an approach promoted by the new Office of War Information. Colonel Strasser, as played by German emigre Conrad Veidt, is Teutonic in the aristocratic Prussian style without being self-stereotyped like von Stroheim and so exudes a more modern malevolence a la Nazi. He, like Rommel, sports no aristocratic "von." His name has a utilitarian, even proletarian, simplicity and directness to it. He wears the uniform of the Luftwaffe, the most recent and Nazified of the German armed services, and he arrives in an airplane. The German army officers around him are a blend of arrogance and officiousness, described and dismissed by Rick's Russian bartender as "Germans boom, boom, boom, boom."The Nazi uniform is, in other words, dapper camouflage for thugs-typically played, ironically, by the sorts of people the Nazis despised. More than any other wartime American film, Casablanca's production resounds with the powerful voice of recent emigrants, many of them Jewish, from fascist Europe. Director Curtiz was from Hungary. Veidt had fled Germany with his Jewish wife. Peter Lorre, born Laszlo Lowenstein in Hungary, plays Ugarte, an oily but hapless trader in refugee souls.1 But even though many of the crew and cast, as well most of the twelve German-speaking actors, were Jewish, there is famously no mention of Jews in Casablanca, or indeed of religion or race at all. Unlike Once Upon a Honeymoon (Leo McCarey, 1942), Address Unknown (William Menzies, 1944), Tomorrow the World (Leslie Fenton, 1944), and None Shall Escape (Andre de Toth, 1944), the Nazi in Casablanca appears not to be presented in the context of a war against the Jews. This tactic reflected the concern among Jewish studio heads in Hollywood that America, with its own obvious history of anti-Semitism, would interpret the war (or the film's representation of it) as a defense of Jews. …

11 citations



Journal Article
TL;DR: Hicks's book as discussed by the authors examines the complex negotiations between filmmakers, the Soviet state and international audiences in intricate detail, and reveals a complex picture of the genre, where Jews were marginalised, Jewish stories stopped before production or the Holocaust completely absent.
Abstract: First Films of the Holocaust: Soviet Cinema and the Genocide of the Jews, 1938-1946 Jeremy Flicks. University of Pittsburgh Press (2012). ISBN 10: 0-8229-6224-1.Hicks's book, which introduces the reader to a number of oft-forgotten early Holocaust films, examines the complex negotiations between filmmakers, the Soviet state and international audiences in intricate detail, There is a plethora of pre-existing writing exploring Holocaust films from specific countries: for example, Eric L. Santner (1993) and Robert R. Shandley's (2001) works on German film; Judith E.Dobson's (2002) on American cinema; and Marek Haltof's (2012) recent study of Polish representations (to name but a few). However, Hicks's book is particularly significant because it re-evaluates the historical roots of Holocaust film. While scholars have often considered there to have been relative silence about the Holocaust during and immediately after World War II, this is very much a myth and has led to the omission of the few films produced during this period from several historical studies. There were screen representations of the Holocaust very soon after its incarnation. However marginal these films' focus on the Nazi Judacide, they are still incredibly significant to our understanding of Holocaust film.In his investigation of the Soviet Union's early contributions to this history, Hicks notes the necessity to look beyond what is seen on screen, and into the films' lacunae in order to fully comprehend their importance. Such a focus on what is absent as much as portrayed reflects Hicks's awareness of current thinking in Holocaust representation scholarship. Georges Didi-Huberman (2008) and Laura Rascaroli (2013) also attempt to emphasise the significance of what is not seen. Hicks plunges into the lacunae revealed by his corpus in order to investigate the missing elements of these Soviet films and thus builds a more complete picture of the relevance of these texts to the history of Holocaust representation than has previously been understood.Hicks moves beyond the simplistic assumptions that Soviet films ignore the Holocaust or falsify history, delivering instead a sophisticated exploration of the negotiations between Jewish and non-Jewish filmmakers and the state propaganda machine, as well as acknowledging the complex effect of shifting political agendas on what was filmed and screened. His survey of early Soviet Holocaust films is vast, covering feature films that span the pre- to post-war period, newsreels, liberation and war crime trial footage. He notes that while conventionally these works marginalised the specificity of Jewish suffering, fictional films, in particular, could be more explicit in identifying the Jew as a special target for Nazi persecution than many early Hollywood anti-Nazi films. In the case of Professor Mamlock (Adol'f Minkin and Herbert Rappoport, 1938), Hicks notes that despite attempts to Sovietise the Jewish Mamlock, the coincidental release of the film in the United States on the night of Kristallnacht encouraged American audiences to receive it as revealing the particularities of Nazi anti-Semitism. Such interplays between Soviet and Western intentions and reception characterise Hicks' analysis throughout.Furthermore, Hicks notes, the Fighting Film Collection novella format, common because wartime production was so heavily interrupted by invasion, enabled filmmakers to focus on specific episodes rather than the "homogenizing power of the Stalinist cultural system" (81). Thus the genre opened up the potential for more unorthodox representations. However, though A Priceless Plead (Betsennaia golova, Boris Barnet, 1942) did include a Jewish character, reviewers omitted his presence because they "lacked any clearly acceptable way to discuss this dimension" (86). Judging A Priceless Plead an exceptional case in the Fighting Film Collection, Hicks reveals a complex picture of the genre, where Jews were marginalised, Jewish stories stopped before production or the Holocaust completely absent. …

8 citations



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines how animated film's identity was formulated and negotiated during a key period in its consolidation from 1914 to 1920, focusing on the Bray Studios and traces different ways that J. R. Bray envisioned the form of animation and how related ideas of animation were used within animated series produced at his studio, particularly the Bobby Bumps series.
Abstract: This article examines how animated film’s identity was formulated and negotiated during a key period in its consolidation from 1914 to 1920. Focusing on the Bray Studios, it traces different ways that J. R. Bray envisioned the form of animation and how related ideas of animation were used within animated series produced at his studio, particularly the Bobby Bumps series. Examining prominent discursive and aesthetic formations of animated film’s place within the contexts of other media, its relation to industry and art, and its aesthetics of motion, the article explores how animated film was configured as a new medium.

5 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: From Rajahs and Yogis to Gandhi and Beyond: Images of India in International Films of the Twentieth Century by Vijaya Mulay as mentioned in this paper is a comprehensive study of Indian representation in film.
Abstract: From Rajahs and Yogis to Gandhi and Beyond: Images of India in International Films of the Twentieth Century Vijaya Mulay. Calcutta: Seagull Books, 2010. 554 pages. Soft cover $39.95; hard cover $99.95Vijaya Mulay was born 16 May 1921 in an India that was part of the British Raj. While a university student in Calcutta, she saw her first Bioscope and immediately fell in love with the medium. After completing scholarship studies at the University of Leeds (during which she discovered that reel British and the real British were not quite the same thing), she received a position in the Central Ministry of Education in New Delhi. There, she founded the Delhi Film Society and by 1959 became one of two joint secretaries of the influential Federation of Film Societies in India. Three years later, she was appointed to the Central Board of Film Censors in (then) Bombay. She befriended French director Louis Malle and the two carried on a lengthy correspondence. In her roles as censor, critic, and filmmaker, she has viewed, reviewed, and analyzed virtually every film emanating from or concerning India in the last century. All of which is to say that at the fragile age of 88, when she published her book, Mulay was (for she is 92 years old now) more qualified than perhaps anyone in the world to write the definitive study of the representation of India in cinematic history. Unfortunately, From Rajahs and Yogis to Gandhi and Beyond is not that study.Mulay divides the book into ten chapters, laid out more or less chronologically. The first treats short films of the silent era, with synopses of works by Georges Melies. The author argues, unsurprisingly, that for the French filmmaker, "India was anything sufficiently distant in appearance from familiar Western life and customs-exotic and mysterious enough to establish its difference" (38). She then turns to the socalled Durbar Films, shot to highlight Britain's power and grandeur. She takes to task Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905 and master of ceremonies for Durbar pageants, for being, well, imperialistic. In the second chapter, Mulay compares Danish and German films with themes featuring rajahs and yogis. Two such films, Maharajahens Yndlingshustru (The Maharajah's Wife, 1917, 1918, 1925) and Das Indische Grabmal (The Indian Tomb, 1921, 1938, 1959) were made three different times, with key Indian characters growing increasingly unsavory. Mulay attributes the German fascination with India to the former's desire to escape the horrible realities of the First World War and, more tenuously, to Germany's desire to define its national identity.In the third chapter, the author analyzes Empire Films of the colonial era, primarily The Black Watch (John Ford 1929), Clive of India (Richard Boleslawski 1935), and The Drum (Zoltan Korda 1937). Once again, as might be expected, White people are depicted in these films as "civilized, brave and noble; they have a code of honour, of service and sacrifice," while Indians are shown to be "evil and perfidious, except those who have had the benefit of a Western education" (121). Meanwhile, as Mulay contends in the fourth chapter on Empire Films of the postcolonial era, the post-Second World War political environment necessitated a new aesthetic strategy in depicting India so that Britain might retain colonial control. Thus, in films such as Bhowani Junction (George Cukor 1956) and North West Frontier (John Lee Thompson 1959), Indians are depicted as sorrowful about the departure of the British and uncertain about their own ability to govern their vast country. The author devotes the fifth and sixth chapters to the films of Jean Renoir, Louis Malle, Roberto Rossellini, and Arne Sucksdorff, international directors who traveled to India to discover the spiritual peace and connection to nature that the West had lost through technology and its endless hegemonic quest for market and political power.The seventh chapter covers films made by westerners whose close ties to India gave them unique insight into the land and its people. …

3 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: The history of Argentina through Cinema: Visions of the Past (1933-2003) by Eduardo Jakubowicz and Laura Radetich as mentioned in this paper is a good starting point for such a study.
Abstract: La historia argentina a traves del cine: Las "visiones del pasado" (1933-2003) Eduardo Jakubowicz and Laura Radetich, Buenos Aires: La Crujia Ediciones, 2006. ISBN 987-601-015-8 Paper 209 pp. $30.00Potential readers should know that Eduardo Jakubowicz and Laura Radetich's La historia argentina a traves del cine: Las "visiones del pasado" (1933-2003) [The History of Argentina through Cinema: Visions of the Past (1933-2003)]1 will be inaccessible to anyone possessed of less than an educated-native level of Spanish proficiency. Further, the authors assume a more than passing acquaintance with the grand events, movements, and personalities of Argentinean history since 1933. (Having seen "Evita" or taken a Latin American history course in college will not suffice.) Finally, their argument demands broad familiarity with scores of Argentinean films produced during the period examined. Most of the films they cover receive only passing mention, single-sentence thematic summaries, with nary a synopsis in sight. This book will be a frustrating read for all but a few specialists.Even then, frustrations will mount: "En este momento," the authors assert in a tone somewhat reminiscent of Barthes or Benjamin, "debemos pensar en la posibilidad de que gran parte de las evidencias historicas del siglo XX solo las podemos encontrar en imagenes" ["We now need to consider the possibility that much of the historical evidence for the twentieth century will be found only in images"] (17). Inexplicably, despite this debatable pronouncement (print, real or virtual, does not seem to be in decline), Jakubowicz and Radetich include no screen grabs or images of any kind to prompt memories, to illustrate points."La historia es un reflejo del pasado," the authors argue, "pero en el cine este reflejo o este 'espejo' puede distorsionar, dislocar, condenser, simbolizar y calificar aquello que es representado" ["History is a reflection of the past, but in cinema, this reflection-this 'mirror'-can distort, dislocate, condense, symbolize, and qualify that which is represented"] (19). While recognizing that any film can be used as a historical source or as testimony of an era, Jakubowicz and Radetich select those films that "'intencionalmente' abordan el 'pasado' o tienen como pretension 'hacer historia'" ["'intentionally' address the 'past' or exhibit pretensions of 'making history'"] (24). These introductory remarks aside, what follows are six chapters divided by the fits and starts of Argentina's history. A familiar pattern obtains as the authors provide two or three pages of political history, a page or two of contemporaneous cinematic developments, and what amounts to extended lists of films that highlight given events or political climates cited in the history. A summary of the first chapter, covering the 1930s, suggests the flavor of the whole:On 6 September 1930, General Jose Felix Uriburu assumed the presidency of Argentina after staging a coup that toppled incumbent Hipolito Yrigoyen. Nationalists, who hoped to restore the oligarchic regime that had managed the country since 1916, supported the general. The Great Depression, however, had stripped Argentina of its European export markets. Uriburu was soon replaced by Agustin Pedro Justo, who was widely suspected of electoral fraud. Justo instituted policies that favored the elite and preserved the status quo. Ricardo [sic] Ortiz succeeded him in 1938, relinquishing power in 1942 due to poor health. All true and accurate, if disconnected. Jakubowicz and Radetich provide no further context, intra- or international, no indication of how forces great and small contributed to Argentina's development, to the emergence of this political leader or ideology over that one. Yrigoyen, for example, an advocate for the working class, was extremely popular, being twice elected to the presidency. Ill health and age (he was 76 upon assuming office the second time) likely undermined his performance as much as discontent among the nation's elite. …

3 citations



Journal Article
TL;DR: In the years following World War II, jazz held as culturally fraught a position in Soviet animation as it did in society more generally as discussed by the authors, and it was understood as ideological imposition: it was not only a precariously American music but also a form of cosmopolitanism which the Soviets interpreted as a product of Western imperialism.
Abstract: In the years following World War II, jazz held as culturally fraught a position in Soviet animation as it did in society more generally. Although Stalin reportedly liked jazz, the repertoire and performances of Soviet jazz musicians were strictly controlled and censored, as was the music's use in film scoring. As David MacFadyen has noted, the "rhythm and movement" of animated figures in films released even before the war could be "criticized as excessively syncopated according to jazz rhythms and not those of 'local' emotional processes" (MacFadyen 2005:73). Jazz was understood as ideological imposition: it was not only a precariously American music but also a form of cosmopolitanism, which the Soviets interpreted "as a product of Western imperialism" (Yurchak 2005:163).Nevertheless, jazz itself became a Soviet tool for strategic and creative responses to changes that occurred in culture and politics during the postwar period. Upon the cooling of relationships with the United States that characterized late Stalinism (the late 1940s through the early 1950s), Soviet animators used jazz to depict social corruption. Often reprobate members of Soviet society, the figures animated with jazz typically were addicted to the music and to the capitalist lifestyles associated with it, particularly the American ones.1 Jazz served as the accompaniment to and, in some cases, as an example of infectious consumerism.Such critical readings of jazz's deleterious effects on society held their potency even during the Khrushchev Thaw-the period of de-Stalinization famously catalyzed by Khrushchev's "secret speech" (February 25, 1956), in which he decried Stalin's rule by terror. If the country's modest opening-up to the products of Western culture represented one of the outcomes of that speech, the Soviet animators' critique of American culture actually served to reinforce the U.S.S.R.'s isolationist stance toward cosmopolitan musical exports from the West, the art form becoming, as Laura Pontieri has argued, an increasingly serious exploration of topics geared not only for children but also (and sometimes more so) for adults (Pontieri 2012:3). The greater flow of jazz into Soviet culture became, ironically, the ideal launching point for Cold War cultural criticism because Soviet audiences still perceived the music as quintessentially American.At the same time, the greater consumption of American jazz inspired new animation aesthetics among artists working for the state-run studio Soyuzmul'tfilm, generating a tension between, on the one hand, the ideological aim of bombarding their mature audiences with the dangers that the reckless absorption of American music posed to their society and, on the other hand, the force of the art form itself upon repressive systems of thinking. This phenomenon was quickly complicated in the early 1960s, however, as cultural warfare threatened to give way to actual violence, as in the heated standoff of the Cuban Missile crisis and in the public struggles over communism in Vietnam, a complication that forced Soviet animators to shift their critique. An infatuation with jazz was now ideologically corruptive not merely to Soviet citizens (graphically symbolized through their transformation into animals) but also to Americans, who in turn threatened to spread this contagion to the rest of the world. This shift coincided with a period of increased Soviet-American cultural contact in the 1960s, most notably through the so-called "jazz ambassadors" who embarked on tours on behalf of the U.S. government (Von Eschen 2004; Davenport 2009). Soviet films countered by characterizing the music of the Americans who were physically present and musically active in the Soviet Union as a systemic disease. The corpus of these critiques had become the Soviet Union's own Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Siegel 1956).2This renewed demonization of the transience and contingency associated with capitalist lifestyles and politics also expressed the concerns that Party officials had with the greater social and geographic mobility of the Soviet intelligentsia itself, members of which, by this logic, had been altered by a plague that made its citizens now alien to Soviet culture. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors focus on the relationship between the old Ufa traditions of the Nazi and pre-Nazi periods and the postwar cinema of the Soviet occupation zone and German Democratic Republic (GDR).
Abstract: The rise in interest in East German cinema since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the reunification of Germany in 1990 has, over the last decade, generated considerable interest in continuities between the old Ufa traditions of the Nazi and pre-Nazi periods and the postwar cinema of the Soviet occupation zone and German Democratic Republic (GDR). Such continuities existed in both personnel and style. What has gone relatively unnoticed in contemporary analysis of these continuities, however, is the debate immediately after 1945. Prefiguring current scholarly fascination with the relationship between Ufa (established on December 18, 1917) and the East German film company DEFA (established on May 17, 1946), the debate among East German film intellectuals raised the stakes to a relatively high level directly after the war. DEFA wanted to appeal to German film-going audiences in a style that would also re-educate them, but, in the aftermath of World War Two, intellectuals in the Soviet zone agreed that the cinema of the Hitler dictatorship should be rejected and that a new kind of film should take its place. There was also, however, a consensus that the actual nature of German film audiences tended to militate against any radical changes in film aesthetics. The Ufa production style was appealing and marketable, but it came with an ideological price. This debate climaxed in discussions about Kurt Maetzig's popular Ehe im Schatten (Marriage in the Shadows, 1947), a film that dealt with the problem of Nazi antiSemitism.Film and Re-educationUnsurprisingly, film intellectuals in the Soviet zone were convinced of the importance of cinema for ideological re-education. Kurt Maetzig, one of the founders of DEFA, argued in February 1946 that because film tended to address large numbers of people-far more than theater or books-it had the potential to exert more influence on ordinary Germans' ways of thinking and feeling. For this reason, Maetzig believed, filmmakers bore a particular responsibility for ideological re-education. If the art of film "plays the right notes," he argued, "then it may succeed in melting the icy armor that still encloses so many hearts and shake them out of a lethargy that cannot be broken through intellectual means." According to Maetzig, "the art of film is...suited like no other art form for ushering in this first decisive encounter of the human being with himself in the realm of feeling."1 In Maetzig's view, film had the potential to be particularly effective in addressing the catastrophic situation of the German population, and it could appeal not just to the intellect but, more significantly, to the emotions. Maetzig's first feature film, Ehe im Schatten, appeared a year later, and the subject matter of that film did, as Maetzig had suggested, connect to the real experiences of its viewers, since it dealt directly with Nazi anti-Semitism and its consequences, attempting to melt "the icy armor that still encloses so many hearts" by getting German audiences to sympathize with Jewish victims of the Nazis. And yet precisely Ehe im Schatten, because of its huge popularity and politically sensitive subject matter, became part of the ongoing postwar debate about the best filmic means to achieve ideological re-education.In 1947, Maetzig attributed the re-educative power of Ehe im Schatten to the visual impressions it produced among viewers. Maetzig believed that these impressions, particularly if they resembled the previous lived experiences of ordinary movie-goers, could help them to restructure their own memories according to a framework laid down by the film. For this reason Maetzig asserted that films dealing with recent history-such as the Nazi dictatorship and World War Two, which almost all contemporary German viewers would have experienced themselves-had the potential to make audiences reconceptualize their own attitudes to recent German history. Maetzig insisted that a contemporary film about the immediate past connects viewers to their own experiences in a new way: "They are 'eyewitnesses,' i. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: The role of the United States in World War I propaganda was discussed in this article, where the authors argue that "the United States participated in the political and cultural history of the war from the very beginning".
Abstract: Germany's use of film propaganda to dissuade Americans from entering World War I, along with British intervention, reframes our historical understanding of the role of the United States in the "Great War" (1914-1918). The war has often been conceptualized as "European," at least during its initial phases, with the United States entering as an economic player only, until its declaration of war against Germany late in the game-in 1917-and its mobilization of troops in large numbers to the European battlefields only during the war's final year. The facts, however, reveal that the United States participated in the political and cultural history of World War I from the very beginning. Just before the official declaration of war on August 4, 1914, Britain sent a communications vessel to dredge up the five transatlantic telegraph cables linking Germany and the United States. By severing these lines, the British ensured that all direct news and information from Europe would first have to pass through British hands. In response, the German government dispatched several distinguished officials in late September to open the German Information Service in New York City, under the leadership of Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, former Secretary of the German Colonial Office, and Dr. Heinrich Albert, as commercial attache and financial administrator. Their objective was to defend Germany's perspective on the war against the view sensationalized by the British.These two responses demonstrate that both countries believed American support to be crucial. In 1914, no other neutral nation was as wealthy and flush with resources as was the United States.1 The battle for the "American mind" was thus one for American money and munitions, as well. While Great Britain embarked upon its own campaign to direct the fury of the United States on Germany, the German government and pro-German Americans tried to redirect American public opinion. Despite their best efforts, however, the Germans faced serious obstacles to this endeavour on both sides of the Atlantic. The most critical issues were the language barrier and a staggering cultural misperception about how best to influence public opinion in a democratic country. Germany's officials and agents were raised in an authoritarian system of hierarchy, discipline, rigor, and, at least in public disposition, logic. They were not raised in the system of film culture that D. W. Griffith notoriously elaborated, with The Birth of a Nation, in 1915, for inspiring exactly the kind of factional zeal that the Germans needed. Indeed, in many ways the failure of German propaganda can be attributed to their heavy-handed and ponderous approach in attempting to represent the German perspective before the court of American public opinion.Early cinema and motion photography offered visual representations of events and the everyday drama of both the military and home fronts that could resonate deeply with an audience. In fact, film had already been used successfully in neutral European countries. In February 1915, the former HamburgAmerika Line publicity agent, Matthew Claussen, approached Heinrich Albert with the idea of creating a production company in the United States to import and show war and propaganda films from Germany. Claussen had previously worked with the German Information Service and had helped to establish a daily information sheet for distribution to newspapers, but he saw early on the potential for moving pictures or "photoplays" to persuade and educate an audience. While such films had been used effectively in neutral countries by German representatives, Claussen believed that American audiences were even more susceptible to the seductive qualities of visual media, unlike the careful readers in Europe, whose nearuniversal literacy enabled them to interpret pamphlets and reports in a critical fashion, or at least with a healthy measure of skepticism, regardless of the perspective advocated. Claussen believed that Americans made quick decisions based on an emotional reaction to news or war reports, rather than a logical consideration of facts and interpretations. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: Cinema and Community: Progressivism, Exhibition, and Film Culture in Chicago, 1907-1917 Moya Luckett as mentioned in this paper explores the ways in which the rise to dominance of Chicago's community-centered neighborhood theaters between 1908 and 1917 repositioned cinemas as a fundamentally local pleasure deeply linked to family and community.
Abstract: Cinema and Community: Progressivism, Exhibition, and Film Culture in Chicago, 1907-1917 Moya Luckett. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2014. 432 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8143-3725-7 (pbk); 978-08143-3724-4 (ebook).In 1907, as America's nickelodeon boom reached its peak, Chicago placed its licensed theatres into twenty-one categories. Viewed by the city authorities as socially disreputable and culturally impoverished, nickelodeons were allotted a low social ranking - barely above wrestling matches and amusement parks (136). As the Progressive agenda of legislators and other social reformers, in synergy with an increasingly organized motion picture industry, encouraged improvement in theater facilities and film content alike, cinema exhibition in Chicago would come to stabilize around neighborhood theatres. Moya Luckett's analysis of this history revolves around the ways in which the rise to dominance of Chicago's community-centered neighborhood theaters between 1908 and 1917 "reposition[ed] cinemas as a fundamentally local pleasure deeply linked to family and community" (130).In her broad-ranging and ambitious study of film culture in Chicago, Luckett challenges and augments the arguments advanced by scholars of 'transitional cinema' such as Charlie Keil and Shelley Stamp. Her thesis is that viewing cinema of the 1907-1917 period through the lens of American Progressivism offers a more productive framework than does the notion of transitional cinema, because it has more "methodological specificity" (13). Focusing on some of Progressivism's fundamental tenets, including "uplift (moral, cultural, social and educational improvement) and community" (4), she sets out to elucidate the symbiotic relationship between cinema and society of the era.After an introductory chapter in which she explains and explores the phenomenon of Progressivism and lays out her key arguments concerning its usefulness as a critical apparatus, Luckett divides her study into six further chapters. Each is centered on a specific area of film history, and is carefully constructed to provide insights derived from the notion of cinema as "a typically Progressive institution" (2). Her topical span is broad, encompassing 'oversight and uplift' in early feature films; stardom, celebrity, and spectatorial self-awareness; neighborhood theaters and community culture; censorship and social reform; citizenship and black cinema; and the effects of regional and national identity on cinema patronage during World War I. What all chapters have in common is a focus on the intersection between the provision and consumption of filmed entertainment and the aspirational models of community and citizenship characteristic of a particular period and locale.Through the course of her book, Luckett skillfully weaves a rich tapestry of film history, theory, and criticism, with the ideas of Progressivism and localism as her warp, and a wealth of archival research and detailed literature survey as her weft. Her main historical resources are local newspapers and the motion picture trade press, along with the relatively scant selection of primary documents held by Northeastern Illinois University and the Chicago Historical Society (19-20). …

Journal Article
TL;DR: Exits and Entrances as mentioned in this paper is a collection of interviews conducted by Manchel, dating from the 1970s with African-American film luminaries Mae Mercer, Brock Peters, Jim Brown, Ivan Dixon, James Whitmore, William Marshall (Blacula), and Ruby Dee.
Abstract: Exits and Entrances is a welcome sequel to Frank Manchel’s groundbreaking 2007 volume, Every Step a Struggle. Here, he renews that previous work’s rigorous and holistic perspective, deftly navigating the murky waters of race relations and the cultural production of mid-twentieth century American film. The volume gathers revealing (and previously unavailable) interviews conducted by Manchel, dating from the 1970s with African-American film luminaries Mae Mercer, Brock Peters, Jim Brown, Ivan Dixon, James Whitmore, William Marshall (Blacula), and Ruby Dee. As in the previous volume in his series, Manchel intersperses his interviews of cinematic legends with wise scholarly assessments. The enduring value of Manchel’s approach is found in his refusal to “operate in a cultural vacuum” (14). Rather than isolating his subjects—whether in terms of the questions posed in the course of the interviews or in his critical commentary on the interviews themselves—Manchel remains keenly focused on making connections. He regards the contributions to film history of African-Americans alongside those of contemporary white actors and views the cinematic experience as one of bringing together not just actors and audiences but a host of creative talents, including directors, screenwriters, studio heads, and distributors. At times, Manchel’s canny interrogative persona makes connections in the interviewee’s memory where a less nimble interviewer would have hit a wall; in one touching instance, he encourages Brock Peters to recall being applauded by Gregory Peck and the rest of the cast and crew of To Kill a Mockingbird after takes of the tragic courtroom scenes. As Denise J. Youngblood observed in her “Tribute to Frank Manchel” for Film & History, this pioneering film scholar’s work appeals both to general readers and to film scholars. Exits and Entrances offers a collection of interviews, historical context, bibliographies, and images of immeasurable value. Every library attentive to the minority experience—in Hollywood or outside of it—should own this cluster of stellar, annotated interviews.


Journal Article
TL;DR: The "love affair of the century" or Dereliction of duty as mentioned in this paper was defined as a romantic relationship between a spouse and her mistress-turned-wife, Wallis Simpson, who was the subject of "lurid and unbridled fantasy" with regard to her sexuality.
Abstract: Edward VII gave the early twentieth century the "Edwardian Era," bridging the gentlemanly world of his mother, Victoria, and the modern world of technology and fashion, but his grandson, Edward VIII, remains a problematic and enigmatic figure almost eighty years after his 1936 abdication. In the last twenty years, he has been both vilified as Britain's "Traitor King," a flagrant Nazi sympathizer, and acclaimed as the "People's King," a champion of the underprivileged who was maneuvered from his throne by an intolerant British establishment.1 It is generally agreed, however, that, in his many years as the Prince of Wales and in his brief months on the throne, royal status and modern celebrity merged in a way unequaled until Princess Diana (Mayhall 532).If Edward is enigmatic, Wallis Simpson, his mistress-turned-wife, is perhaps even more difficult to understand beneath her often-pilloried public image and the glittering carapace of her post-abdication years as Duchess of Windsor, doyenne of cafe society. Whereas the king was widely regarded as charming and charismatic (though some who knew him well held more jaundiced views and privately expressed relief when he abdicated), Mrs. Simpson was less readily appealing to many contemporaries. She was neither young nor conventionally attractive, as she herself admitted. Sir Alan "Tommy" Lascelles, an especially bilious observer, considered her "a shop-soiled American, with two living husbands and a voice like a rusty saw" (414), while David Lloyd George, who was sympathetic to the king and felt he ought to be allowed to choose his own wife, wrote "There are not in her any of the elements that can possibly constitute a tuppeny romance" (qtd. in Williams 155). Queen Mary, the king's mother, remarked with asperity on the eve of the abdication, "to give up all this, for that!" (Donaldson 405).Philip Ziegler, Edward's official biographer, describes Simpson as the subject of "lurid and unbridled fantasy," with regard to her sexuality, the most infamous instance being the so-called "China Dossier": "a report allegedly commissioned by Stanley Baldwin for George V, which explored [her] iniquities . . . during her time in the Far East" while married to Win Spencer, her first husband (195). Whatever the truth may have been about Simpson's sexual appetites, Ziegler acknowledges what seems undeniable, based upon eyewitness accounts both early and late in the Windsors' relationship: Edward VIII discovered in himself a profound need to be dominated, and Wallis Simpson fulfilled that need. She treated him, writes Ziegler, "at best like a child who needed keeping in order, at the worst with contempt. He invited it and begged for more" (206). What David Cannadine calls his "abject constancy and unquestioning devotion" (52) colored their relationship and persisted throughout their thirty-five year marriage.If it actually existed, this dossier has not survived in the official archives, but, as the cinematic narrative of the abdication has taken shape, such long-standing rumors have positioned Simpson- American, childless, thrice-married, and sexually deviant-as the antithesis of her sister-in-law-Queen Elizabeth, loving wife and dedicated mother-and thus, by extension, as the antithesis of Britain. By the same token, Albert, who succeeded Edward to become George VI, has been positioned, both in the initial public narrative of the abdication, such as the British newsreels, and in later dramatizations, as a family man leading a "normal" life, in contrast to his brother.2 Wallis and Edward have been narratively represented and historically explained, in other words, within the genre of melodrama.The "Love Affair of the Century" or Dereliction of Duty?One might assume that a relationship sometimes called the "love affair of the century" would have been a ready source for lushly romantic film adaptations, but that has been far from the case. The first stumbling block was a legal one: A prohibition in Britain against representing living members of the royal family in fictional films or on stage, coupled with the litigiousness of the Duke of Windsor (Ziegler 476), meant their relationship was not dramatized prior to 1972. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: This is Korea! (1951) as discussed by the authors is a classic example of a movie that fuses the empirical and the expressive aspects of documentary and narrative, and it won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Abstract: ecause of ideological shifts and cultural fashion, notes Jonathan Kahana, the documentary has always had to adapt to new "modes of visual representation," particularly in its "fusing" of the conventional "empirical methods of documentary" with the sort of "abstraction" or expressive appeal recognized in contemporary cultural discourse (89), including that of the narrative film. However, the very difficulty of fusing empirical and expressive methods reveals a historical change occurring in both of these areas of film during the middle of the twentieth century. John Ford, who found great success in his World War II documentary The Battle of Midway (1942), would, only a few years later, have far more trouble addressing the circumstances surrounding the Korean War, a generally unpopular and politically charged conflict, even though his approach was similar. For while This is Korea! (1951) did receive some appreciative notices, 1 as Ronald L. Davis sums up, the film was on the whole "poorly received," booked by few theaters, and suggested to some that the old master might be "losing touch with current reality" (247). Yet that vague notion of "losing touch," a charge often leveled against older filmmakers whose popularity might be waning, deserves more careful and precise explanation, especially since many of Ford's greatest films were still in the offing. And This is Korea!, a film largely ignored in studies of both the documentary tradition and Ford's canon, illustrates the attempt to fuse the empirical and expressive methods—or, rather, it illustrates how two film genres de-coupled, de-fused, resulting in a text that was unable to link an otherwise effectively observed or empirical reality to attitudes or methods that would enable it to speak effectively to a contemporary audience. We should begin by noting that, prior to the Korean War, Ford had a reputation for frequently and effectively, if fictionally, dealing with factual material, as evidence his many previous film adaptations based on real-life events, including The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936), Young Mr. Lincoln (1939), and They Were Expendable (1945). And, of course, his World War II documentaries The Battle of Midway (1942) and December 7th (1943) were both well received. The Midway film was widely circulated (thanks to the backing of President Roosevelt himself 2 ), garnered good reviews, and was honored by the film industry in 1943 with an Academy Award as Best Documentary, while December 7th was similarly well received and also won an Academy Award. Moreover, we might recall Ford's oft-cited dictum for fusing the fictional and the factual, articulated by the newspaper editor in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1963), who observes, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." That comment should remind us not only of how much our sense of any documentary "truth" might draw on a fictionalizing or narrativizing impulse, but also of Ford's keen understanding and appreciation of that relationship. "Legend" still mattered. In studying Ford's World War II documentaries, historian William Murphy little credits that awareness, dismissing Ford's treatment of the war as typical of how "entertainment filmmakers" would "tackle a documentary film" (5), resulting in what he terms "crude propaganda" (3). Yet Francesco Casetti offers a more nuanced perspective, for he sees the "fusing" process in Ford's films as a challenge facing all filmmakers, whether documentary or narrative, thanks to the nature of cinema as always both observer and commentator, or, as Casetti puts it, "at once a witness and a fully active protagonist" (17) in all that it presents. Because of that duality, he suggests, the cinematic gaze often seems to "overlap" the objective and the subjective, becoming "a field of convergence for" these "different dimensions" (75)—one that is constantly challenging the filmmaker to integrate those "witness" and "protagonist" dimensions, both the empirical eye and the cultural understanding that the filmmaker brings to his subject. Ford's The Battle of Midway seems an instance of the effective integration of these dimensions, particularly as that film painted its "reality" in well-observed and highly evocative images, while incorporating them into a narrative thrust that worked well for period audiences accustomed to classical

Journal Article
TL;DR: The World History of Animation as discussed by the authors is a survey of animation history from the East and the West but also from former socialist countries, focusing on individual works, influential animators, and the animation industry in the context of volatile social changes, including the rise of fascism, the development of technology and the two world wars.
Abstract: The World History of Animation Stephen Cavalier. University of California Press, 2011, 416 pages.The World History of Animation is a survey of a hundred years of animation history not only from the East and the West but also from former socialist countries. Using nationality as its point of departure, the book summarizes significant works of animation, influential animators, and the animation industry in the context of volatile social changes, including the rise of fascism, the development of technology, and the two world wars. At 415 pages, The World History of Animation provides a phonebook sized compendium of animated media, including film, puppet, television, avant-garde art, claymation, lo-fi animation, sand animation, computer generated imagery (CGI), and 3D animation. Cavalier does not miss small but powerful pieces of animation in the world. The World History of Animation focuses on individual works, yet also explores the history of animation, questioning how animation is related to various societies. Cavalier's approach is chronological and makes animation credible as cultural and social texts that reveal animators' agendas and the periods they lived through. Thus, the book offers a general picture of how social and historical events effect and are reflected in the contents and styles of animation.Following a forward by French animation director Sylvain Chomet, the book details the relationship between old and new animation. It opens with a brief history of legendary French cartoonist Emile Cohl's animation work in the early 20th century. Cohl belongs to the Incoherents, a group of artists that contributed to a rudimentary phase of surrealism, and his passion for criticizing Modernism appears in his work Fantasmagorie (1908), featuring imaginative and deformed absurdist drawings. Cavalier contends that Cohl's style has influenced some contemporary animation programs such as South Park (8). Similarly, Cavalier suggests that the invention of zoetrope was an incipient phase of animation, noting that the Japanese studio's Ghibli Museum exhibits a 3D zoetrope (10). In short, Cavalier traces the historical antecedents of contemporary animation around the globe in order to display the continuity and world history of animation.The chapter "Brief Histories of World Animation" concerns animation productions from selected countries in North America, Eastern and Western Europe, and Asia. It begins with a North American animation history, which includes a useful chart about must-see animation films produced from 1914 to 2010 (14). In Western Europe, Cavalier focuses on the history of animation in the United Kingdom and discusses the animation studio Halas & Batchelor, established in 1940 in London, as one of the Europe's biggest animation studios (19). The section on Russian and Eastern European animation history reviews historically significant animators such as Ladislaw Starewicz, who is recognized as Russia's first animator, and Czech stop-motion animator Jiri Trnka, whose puppets have also been internationally acclaimed. Cavalier's history of Asian animation succinctly touches upon Korean, Chinese, Indian, and Japanese traditions. Each section contains astute analysis of the intricate relationships between the animation industry and contemporary politics and art movements.The rest of the book is divided into chronological eras. In the 1920s, Dadaism and Cubism, which produced nonsensical, incongruous work by abandoning traditional art forms and aesthetics, influenced European animation. French artist Fernand Leger and Swedish artist Vinking Eggeling incorporated Dada aesthetics of travesty in their work (82-84). European animators also kept a keen eye on the rise of fascism. Far from being indifferent to social upheavals, animators often embraced social chaos and disarray by drawing illustrations inspired by it (20). For instance, German animator Hans Richter's film Studie (1926) is a classic, enigmatic work in which multiple images of eyeballs suggest a surveillance society that he clearly repudiates (92). …

Journal Article
TL;DR: The Forgotten Story of Jacksonville, Florida as mentioned in this paper is a history of the movie industry in the state of Florida, focusing on the early years of the motion picture industry and the city of Jacksonville.
Abstract: Almost Hollywood: The Forgotten Story of Jacksonville, Florida Blair Miller, Lanham, MD: Hamilton Books, 2013. ISBN 97-0-761-5995-6 Paper 146 pp. $19.00"I coulda' been a contender!" laments washed-up boxer and dockworker Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) in On the Waterfront (1954, Elia Kazan): "I coulda' been somebody!" Blair Miller sets out to make the same argument for Jacksonville, Florida, suggesting that the one-time home to over 30 turn-of-thecentury film companies could have become what Hollywood is today, the center of the motion picture industry.Why was Jacksonville even in the running? Some of the reasons are obvious; others, less so. Miller reminds us that for an industry relying heavily on natural light for production, Florida provided a more amenable environment than did New York and New Jersey. Days were long and, for the most part, clement. Filming-and profits-could continue even through winter. And except for mountain ranges, a variety of settings surrounded the city. Further, Jacksonville was a major stop and winter home for vaudeville performers, who were among the first to participate in the burgeoning film industry up north. Railroad tracks running from New York, as well as St. John's River along Florida's eastern coast, offered logistical advantages, making the transport of cameras, sets, costumes, and casts and crews fast, efficient, and economical. Further, Jacksonville's estimable mayor, J.E.T. Bowden, along with numerous municipal groups and commercial boosters, all aggressively touted these benefits, often through articles, editorials, and open letters in the local newspapers. And therein lies the only scholarly value-and a needlessly diminished one, at that-of this short study.Miller mines archived editions of the Florida Times Union and the Sunday Metropolis to allow the reader to "gain an appreciation for how the movie company people thought, acted and interacted with the early residents of Jacksonville" (3). After an introduction describing the city's successful campaign to draw film companies to Florida, the author follows with ten chapters, each relating the rise, occasional takeover or merger, and inevitable fall of one studio after another.The Vim Comedy Company, for example, arrived from New York in November 1915, leasing a building that had once belonged to the Florida Yacht Club. Oliver Hardy, then neither famous nor paired with Stan Laurel, was among their stable of talent. Indeed, he was then known as "Babe Hardy." Miller's archival work provides an amusing and astonishing contemporary explanation for the comedian's rise, as an excerpt from the 20 February 1916 edition of The Florida Metropolis reveals: "Babe came up to all expectations and qualifications of the type for which he was selected, as he weighed over three hundred and fifty pounds, was six feet nine inches in height and at that time only nineteen years of age" (52). Vim achieved a great deal of success in a short time, by June 1916 employing three film company units and operating a 35,000 square foot outdoor stage. …


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors compare the films of Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, and Gilles Deleuze to explore cinema's ability to confront conventional modes of thought.
Abstract: Where Film Meets Philosophy: Godard, Resnais, and Experiments in Cinematic Thinking Hunter Vaughan. Columbia University Press: 2013. Paper, 264 pages. $29.50.In Where Film Meets Philosophy: Godard, Resnais, and Experiments in Cinematic Thinking, Hunter Vaughan blends phenomenology and semiotics to explore cinema's ability to confront conventional modes of thought. Through the theories of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gilles Deleuze, Vaughan compares the films of Jean-Luc Godard, which assess the audio visual illusion of empirical observation or objectivity, with the films of Alain Resnais, in which the sound-image creates inventive depictions of individual experience or subjectivity. Both filmmakers, Vaughan claims, overturn conventional practices and challenge philosophical traditions to alter understandings of the self, the world, and the relationship between the two. Using Godard's Vivre sa cie (1962), Contempt (1963), and 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967) and Resnais's Hiroshima, mon amour (1959), Last Year at Marienbad (1961), and The War is Over (1966), Vaughan proposes a phenomenological film semiotics which connects two dissimilar methodologies to the parallel achievements of two seemingly incompatible artists.Vaughan says that Resnais's codification of the speech-image relationship is constructed around the recollection of memories in Hiroshima, mon amour and Last Year at Marienbad. Resnais's technique in these two films is to oppose two modes of speech-image codification: one "in which the words and images complement each other" and one "in which the images and the words are in conflict [and thus] rupture...the unanchored flux that is essential to film's moving image" (114). Resnais is experimenting with the "simultaneity" of sound in Hiroshima, mon amour and the ways it intermingles objective and subjective perspectives that challenge conventions of how memory is represented in film. For example, the female character nicknamed "Nevers" as the "speaking subject," recounts her past in present tense, and the speech-image codification (which also signals psychological stability) begins to unravel. The illusion that image is naturally connected to the words being spoken is dispelled: "her interior is made exterior, and the representation is caught between aural subjectivity and visual objectivity" (124). Nevers remarks that "looking closely at things is something that has to be learned" (DVD, Criterion Collection, 2003). The point that words and images do not always align is obvious, however, and Vaughan's analysis of this film, if sometimes instructive (offering a view not only of the French New Wave but of possible trajectories of future cinematic expression), is rhetorically overblown.Last Year at Marienbad, directed by Resnais, further deconstructs classical codes of signification by rejecting the conventional dualism of subject-object relationships, argues Vaughan. The film concerns the struggle between two people over a memory of something that may or may not have happened. Resnais shows how a visual reality thus emerges from words, Vaughan aptly comparing this film to a refracting crystal with multilayered flashes between speech act and mental image, while acknowledging the psychoanalytic possibilities in themes of fantasy and desire. Vaughan then cites Resnais's insistence that the work is "a reflective experiment in film form," one that explores collective memory and the suspense of a possible shared past, raising questions about character formation and cinematic convention: who has control of the sound-image logic within the film and who appropriates its agency? A sound-bridge of laughter carries one character from the collective imagination back into the present or, as Resnais referred to it, "a universal present" in which temporalities collide. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) as mentioned in this paper focuses on the story of Moses leading the Hebrews out of bondage in ancient Egypt as told by the Book of Exodus, but the spectacle of pharonic Egypt-replete with gargantuan pyramids, the Sphinx of Giza, and grandiose royal palaces-is essentially all the film has going for it.
Abstract: Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)Directed by Ridley ScottDistributed by 20th Century Foxfoxmovies.com150 minutesWhat makes Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956) such interesting fun, even some six decades after its release, is not so much the spectacle of the slave army erecting the great obelisk or Moses parting the Red Sea. Rather, it is the joy of watching larger-than-life figures playing out an epic human drama that constitutes one of the foundational myths of three great monotheistic religions: A man discovers he is not who he always thought he was, in turn breaking the hearts of his fatherly uncle and the woman who loves him, sending a kingdom into turmoil, propelling an evil man to power, and damning one people to life under a tyrant while bringing about the liberation of another. Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings, like The Ten Commandments, tells the story of Moses leading the Hebrews out of bondage in ancient Egypt as told by the Book of Exodus, but the spectacle of pharonic Egypt-replete with gargantuan pyramids, the Sphinx of Giza, and grandiose royal palaces-is essentially all the film has going for it. Even that, moreover, is somewhat tempered by the unshakable awareness that the world to which we have been transported has been mostly generated by computers rather by than artisans and thousands of extras, as it was in the day of DeMille, Wyler, and Lean.The film's screenplay is credited to four writers, but there is not even a morsel of dialogue that is in any way evocative or memorable, which has the effect of undermining the gravity of the events we are seeing unfold. The dialogue is, instead, almost entirely expositional, and the film is often confusing and generally fails to proffer believable motivations for the characters' behaviors. Throughout the first act, Christian Bale's Moses appears as little more than a respected and competent military advisor, exuding none of the beneficent humanitarianism of Heston's incarnation. Meanwhile Joel Edgerton's Rameses is a more ambivalent and sympathetic character than was Yul Brynner's, leaving viewers somewhat mystified as to why John Turturro's Seti (who is himself devoid of the natural regalness that one would expect of a supposedly benevolent and beloved king) should favor his rather ordinary nephew over his own flesh and blood. Meanwhile, as there is no Nefertari (as played by Anne Baxter in The Ten Commandments) nor any equivalent, no contest for the beautiful princess's hand that, as much as the contest for the throne of Egypt, fuelled the rivalry between Moses and Ramses in DeMille's classic. In unfortunate irony, Exodus, despite making a clear attempt to play down the mystical elements of the biblical fable-the various plagues of Egypt are presented as environmental disasters rather than divine intervention-comes across more like filmed scripture than do many of the epics of the 1950s and '60s, by virtue of presenting characters that audiences can hardly understand, and with whom they can barely empathize. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors focus on the representation of power and politics in the show's art direction and its significant impact on performance, and make observations about the visual palette of The West Wing.
Abstract: 59 exceptionally insightful. McCabe focuses as well on the Steadicam as a narrative tool and its significant impact on ‘performance.’ The meticulously choreographed, single-take Steadicam shots forced the actors to tap into their theatre roots and training, in order to retain and deliver several pages of fast-paced dialogue, without the safety net of coverage or cutaway shots. McCabe makes astute observations about the representation of power and politics in the show’s art direction as well. She notes that in the earliest episodes, produced in the post-Clinton era, the visual palette exuded optimism and hope, while in later seasons, when darker forces were emerging in the actual political landscape, the show’s palette changed to reflect it. The cinematography shifted to sharp focus and muted tones, capturing the swing from optimism to anxiety. Musical embellishments became percussive and dissonant. Her detailed explication of the non-diegetic application of Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms,” in a later episode, illuminates the series’ dramatic choices in the last seasons and the implications of the show’s departure from established musical norms. Chapter four addresses The West Wing as it evolved into a mirror of culture and history in real time. As the series progressed, it became a lens through which the public examined the U.S. democratic system. Audiences began to expect the series to provide commentary and context to elucidate what was going on in the world. This was a herculean task that no scripted, fictional TV show could perform. Readers of McCabe’s previous works have come to expect some analysis from a feminist perspective, and chapter four deals briefly with women’s issues. The brevity of her inquiry reveals, that for all its visual verisimilitude, The West Wing was not always able to provide authentic portrayals of women. McCabe discerns that C. J. Cregg, the White House press secretary played by Allison Janney “may have been the political face of the administration, but the execution of her political role often proved to be at odds with her own feminism” [104]. Furthermore, McCabe notes that when the September 11 attacks happened and the show’s relevance was dwarfed by a national tragedy of historic proportions, the female characters were suddenly thrust into the foreground to carry the narrative for an extended period. This passage is one of the rare moments in the book where McCabe raises more questions than answers. Of course, that can be said about 9/11, in general. All in all, Janet McCabe’s The West Wing is a valuable read. Its neat, trim one hundred and eighteen pages belie the weightiness of its content. A tremendous amount of research has gone into these pages and McCabe’s handling of the material is dexterous, scholarly and engaging. With the release of this work, McCabe clearly establishes herself as an authority on the subject of The West Wing.

Journal Article
TL;DR: Torchin this article argues that popular culture can serve as an active site for engagement, political debate, and the practice of citizenship through the creation of publics that they create and seek to mobilize through their status as testimony.
Abstract: Creating the Witness: Documenting Genocide on Film, Video, and the Internet Leshu Torchin Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012In Creating the Witness, Leshu Torchin approaches documenting genocide by focusing not so much on documentary films themselves but rather on the 'witnessing publics' that they create and seek to mobilize through their status as testimony To suggest, in fact, that this is a book about documentary film would be misleading because Torchin covers much more ground than that, focusing on such extrafilmic activities as organized relief efforts, the promotional campaigns that have accompanied documentaries and docudramas about genocide, internet-based activism, and a plethora of other materials that give the text an impressive scope Perhaps most refreshing is the author's refusal to exclude popular or mass culture from her lens Torchin dismisses the still all-too-common academic perspective that popular culture simply trivializes and commodifies that which falls under its purview, arguing instead that popular culture can "serve as an active site for engagement, political debate, and the practice of citizenship" (13) Such a wellarticulated lack of concern for traditional notions of academic worth helps liberate Creating the Witness from the expected terrain of documentary studiesTorchin's chapters cover as much ground as one could hope for given the length of the book and its inclusive approach to sources The author begins with visual media representations of the Armenian genocide, with a particular focus on the Near East Relief (NER) organization and the film Ravished Armenia (1919), which - along with its unique promotional campaign - was used to raise both awareness of the genocide and funds for relief efforts, while still satisfying the studio's demand for profit The second chapter focuses primarily on three documentary films - particularly Nazi Concentration Camps (1945) - presented as testimony at the first set of the Nuremburg Trials; the films were used to position the Holocaust as a distinct and thus legally and politically actionable crime Beyond the films themselves, Torchin examines transcripts and media coverage of the trials in order to assess the films' status as both witness and evidence amidst the prosecution of the newly conceived category of 'crimes against humanity' Chapter 3 shifts focus to genocide in Rwanda and the Balkans that produced a "crisis of witnessing" (103) wherein visual media did not produce politicized witnesses Films that deal with these genocides tend to focus on this crisis by turning their gaze on the inefficacy of the news media and are themselves intended as actionable witnessing Consequently, they establish a complex web of the simultaneous impotency and actionability of media witnessing In Chapter 4, Torchin builds on the crisis of witnessing that accompanied the genocides discussed in the previous chapter by focusing on media activism and social justice movements …

Journal Article
TL;DR: Ross as discussed by the authors argues that while a majority in the film community may identify with liberal causes, conservatives have enjoyed far more success when it comes to electoral politics. But he does not discuss the role of the film industry in American life and politics.
Abstract: Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics Steven J. Ross, Oxford University Press, 2013. 500 pages, $21.95 paper.A common assumption in American politics is that the nation's film capital is the bastion of liberalism, but in Hollywood Left and Right, Steven J. Ross, Professor of History at the University of Southern California, challenges this conventional wisdom. Basing his conclusions upon detailed archival research into the political and film careers of ten Hollywood activists, Ross argues that while a majority in the film community may identify with liberal causes, conservatives have enjoyed far more success when it comes to electoral politics. To depict the liberal legacy in Hollywood Ross has selected Charlie Chaplin, Edward G. Robinson, Harry Belafonte, Jane Fonda, and Warren Beatty, while the conservative wing of the film community is represented by Louis B. Mayer, George Murphy, Charlton Heston, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, of course, Ronald Reagan. The result is a remarkably well balanced and written book that challenges popular assumptions about the role of the film industry in American life and politics.Ross cites Charlie Chaplin as the first political movie star, noting that his sympathy for radical causes originated in his own impoverished background. Chaplin was often critical of capitalism in his films and public comments, but Ross asserts that he was certainly never a communist. Yet, Chaplin's influence began to wane, according to Ross, when The Great Dictator (1940) seemed to call for intervention in Europe ahead of public opinion. Ross concludes that in the post-World War II period Chaplin's films, such as Monsieur Verdoux (1947), failed at the box office and were viewed as little more than left-wing propaganda. The Red Scare and sex scandals with younger women led to Chaplin's exile from Hollywood. The communist issue also derailed Edward G. Robinson's film career. Ross describes Robinson as a liberal in the 1930s and 1940s, who was interested in issue-oriented politics such as antifascism, support for European Jews, and aid to America's Russian allies during the Second World War. But the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) accused Robinson of being a Communist, and he was blacklisted by the film industry. A humiliated Robinson confessed to being duped by Communists disguising their activities through Popular Front organizations. The aging actor, however, was unable to resurrect his career. Ross writes, "Robinson's story reveals how a diverse array of conservatives brought a temporary halt to the emergence of Hollywood as a powerful progressive force in American politics" (91).In the wake of the HUAC hearings, blacklisting, and fate of the Hollywood Ten, conservatism dominated Hollywood in the 1950s, but issues such as the Civil Rights Movement and opposition to the Vietnam War brought renewed activism by the left during the turbulent 1960s. Ross describes Harry Belafonte and Jane Fonda as representative of what the author terms as movement politics. Influenced by Paul Robeson, Belafonte used his film and singing career to promote the cause of racial equality. Eventually despairing of Hollywood's efforts to move beyond racial stereotypes, Belafonte abandoned film and committed to the Civil Rights Movement as a coalition builder, fundraiser, and confidant to Martin Luther King Jr. Ross concludes that Belafonte "wound up devoting his life to doing something he often found burdensome, but felt compelled to do" (187). While some discount Jane Fonda's political commitment, Ross insists that the actress made important contributions to the antiwar movement and the struggle for economic democracy through her political activism. Ross observes that Fonda was naive to pose for a photograph atop a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, but her journey to Hanoi did put pressure on the Nixon administration to cease bombing the North Vietnamese dike system. Fonda is also credited, along with husband Tom Hayden, with forming the Campaign for Economic Democracy, championing feminism, and producing popular political films such as Coming Home (1978) and The China Syndrome (1979), which proved activism did not have to destroy one's career in cinema. …


Journal Article
TL;DR: Ross as discussed by the authors argues that while a majority in the film community may identify with liberal causes, conservatives have enjoyed far more success when it comes to electoral politics, based on detailed archival research into the political and film careers of ten Hollywood activists.
Abstract: Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics Steven J. Ross, Oxford University Press, 2013. 500 pages, $21.95 paper.A common assumption in American politics is that the nation's film capital is the bastion of liberalism, but in Hollywood Left and Right, Steven J. Ross, Professor of History at the University of Southern California, challenges this conventional wisdom. Basing his conclusions upon detailed archival research into the political and film careers of ten Hollywood activists, Ross argues that while a majority in the film community may identify with liberal causes, conservatives have enjoyed far more success when it comes to electoral politics. To depict the liberal legacy in Hollywood Ross has selected Charlie Chaplin, Edward G. Robinson, Harry Belafonte, Jane Fonda, and Warren Beatty, while the conservative wing of the film community is represented by Louis B. Mayer, George Murphy, Charlton Heston, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, of course, Ronald Reagan. The result is a remarkably well balanced and written book that challenges popular assumptions about the role of the film industry in American life and politics.Ross cites Charlie Chaplin as the first political movie star, noting that his sympathy for radical causes originated in his own impoverished background. Chaplin was often critical of capitalism in his films and public comments, but Ross asserts that he was certainly never a communist. Yet, Chaplin's influence began to wane, according to Ross, when The Great Dictator (1940) seemed to call for intervention in Europe ahead of public opinion. Ross concludes that in the post-World War II period Chaplin's films, such as Monsieur Verdoux (1947), failed at the box office and were viewed as little more than left-wing propaganda. The Red Scare and sex scandals with younger women led to Chaplin's exile from Hollywood. The communist issue also derailed Edward G. Robinson's film career. Ross describes Robinson as a liberal in the 1930s and 1940s, who was interested in issue-oriented politics such as antifascism, support for European Jews, and aid to America's Russian allies during the Second World War. But the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) accused Robinson of being a Communist, and he was blacklisted by the film industry. A humiliated Robinson confessed to being duped by Communists disguising their activities through Popular Front organizations. The aging actor, however, was unable to resurrect his career. Ross writes, \"Robinson's story reveals how a diverse array of conservatives brought a temporary halt to the emergence of Hollywood as a powerful progressive force in American politics\" (91).In the wake of the HUAC hearings, blacklisting, and fate of the Hollywood Ten, conservatism dominated Hollywood in the 1950s, but issues such as the Civil Rights Movement and opposition to the Vietnam War brought renewed activism by the left during the turbulent 1960s. Ross describes Harry Belafonte and Jane Fonda as representative of what the author terms as movement politics. Influenced by Paul Robeson, Belafonte used his film and singing career to promote the cause of racial equality. Eventually despairing of Hollywood's efforts to move beyond racial stereotypes, Belafonte abandoned film and committed to the Civil Rights Movement as a coalition builder, fundraiser, and confidant to Martin Luther King Jr. Ross concludes that Belafonte \"wound up devoting his life to doing something he often found burdensome, but felt compelled to do\" (187). While some discount Jane Fonda's political commitment, Ross insists that the actress made important contributions to the antiwar movement and the struggle for economic democracy through her political activism. Ross observes that Fonda was naive to pose for a photograph atop a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, but her journey to Hanoi did put pressure on the Nixon administration to cease bombing the North Vietnamese dike system. Fonda is also credited, along with husband Tom Hayden, with forming the Campaign for Economic Democracy, championing feminism, and producing popular political films such as Coming Home (1978) and The China Syndrome (1979), which proved activism did not have to destroy one's career in cinema. …

Journal Article
TL;DR: Rothe's study is only innovative, then, insofar as it updates an anti-Semitic cliche to the effect that Jews control Hollywood through the Shoah business, which serves as Rothe's scapegoat for the excesses of trauma kitsch as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Popular Trauma Culture: Selling the Pain of Others in the Mass Media Anne Rothe. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2011. 206 pagesIn Popular Trauma Culture: Selling the Pain of Others in the Mass Media, Anne Rothe reverses a tendency in trauma studies to focus on high culture at the expense of the popular melodramatic forms. After denouncing the "Holocaust industry" for disseminating formulaic survival narratives, Rothe subsequently traces the circulation of "trauma tropes" in the increasingly campy antics of daytime talk shows, "misery memoirs" that converge on child abuse, and faked or forged "autobiographies" that cynically commodify suffering. While she usefully contextualizes a voracious appetite for public confession, Rothe's flawed argument leads her to disparage survivor testimony for initiating an abyssal descent into American "trauma culture." Her study is only innovative, then, insofar as it updates an anti-Semitic cliche to the effect that Jews control Hollywood through the "Shoah business," which serves as Rothe's scapegoat for the excesses of trauma kitsch.Under the aegis of delimiting her "subject-position" in the Preface, Rothe mentions her eighteen years in the former GDR, where, as she blithely declares, "the virtual absence of the Holocaust from East German collective memory" freed her from "the oxymoronic sense of vicarious guilt that many (former) West Germans, even of the second and third postwar generation, still experience" (vii). Because she does not follow up on this admission by discussing her own family's possible silences about war-time relatives' collusion with Third Reich racial policies, she inadvertently fulfills the West German stereotype of the whitewashing East German whose professed freedom from guilt recalls former Prime Minister's Helmut Kohl's infamous quip about the blessing of late birth.Rothe's guilt-free conscience ostensibly guides her polemics against the "Holocaust industry" and Elie Wiesel as its nominal CEO. These polemics echo Norman Finkelstein, who is a controversial figure in the leftist, anti-Zionist backlash against the cultural and political use of the Holocaust. Finkelstein has excoriated Jewish scholars for deploying the Shoah to rationalize Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory. Though she cites Finkelstein, Rothe never questions his resentful indictment of Holocaust studies as a front for Jewish identity politics, probably because she channels his spite.Rothe's resentment clouds her assessment of representations that "anachronistically and unethically appropriate the actual survivors by transforming them into rhetorical figures" (viii). Her naively literalist investment in "referentiality" over and against sentiment, fantasy, and rhetoric conveniently bypasses the agency of prefiguration and imaginative identification [Verstehen] in historical interpretation. Rather than openly considering this agency, Rothe dismisses testimonial accounts that blur the boundary between autobiography and fiction as "unethical" abuses of history.Thus, it is not surprising that Rothe repudiates book-inspired films such as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) and The Reader (2008) as kitsch. She also excoriates scholarship along with pedagogical ventures that either sacralize the Holocaust as "unrepresentable" or instrumentalize it as an all-purpose antibody against '"totalitarianism, racism, [and] state-sponsored mass murder'" (14, citing Philip Gourevitsch).! Where Rothe seems especially callous as well as reductive is in her denigration of survivors for their teleological, anachronistic, or intermediated recall of events (35). According to Rothe, testimony's "typical tripartite structure of before-during-after is problematic because the notion of a 'before' leads to anachronisms and teleology, while the idea of 'after' defines the Holocaust as the decisive life experience for every survivor and casts it as a quasi-religious second myth of collective Jewish origin" (35). …