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Medium 9780861966592

Chapter X Towards a Pragmatic Relation With the Audience

Floriane Place-Verghnes John Libbey Publishing ePub

“Pragmatics”? This seemingly highbrow, fearsome term does in fact not conceal much at all. Its first occurrence (with the meaning I grant it) may be found in a diagram by literary critic M.H. Abrams185:

A work of art is linked to the artist who produced it, to the universe it represents, and to the audience who receives it.

“Pragmatics” should therefore be understood as the science that deals with the relationships between the addresser and the addressee of a message (i.e. the cartoonist and his audience).

For a spectator unacquainted with Tex Avery’s style, guessing what gag is to come next is rather difficult; however, after watching several cartoons, the same spectator can virtually build the story by himself. He has thus attained a certain degree of activity, since he is no longer a passive cartoon-watcher, but a cog in the plot-making process. The Model Spectator can be either the virtual concept of an idealised addressee (the spectator the cartoonist had in mind when he created his cartoon) or its realised version (an actual viewer who is extremely familiar with the corpus). I have not elaborated this concept – based on literary criticism – for the mere sake of theory, but for the insight they offer in terms of reception theory.186 It would be very wrong indeed to level Tex Avery’s audience regardless of their differences. The following part will hence concentrate on the Model Spectator who can build the plot through his – later fulfilled – expectations, as opposed to the Naïve Spectator’s (or first-time viewer’s) “disappointed” expectations. What are the factors that enable such a transformation of the spectator into an active participant? The activity of the Model Spectator of Tex Avery’s cartoons seems to result from the combination of connivance with the cartoonist and distancing from the cartoon (so as to get a better understanding of its overall unity), both factors being initiated by the cartoonist.

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Medium 9780253016447

5. Youssef Chahine: Devouring Mimicries or Juggling with Self and Other (Egypt)

Edited by Josef Gugler Indiana University Press ePub

Viola Shafik

When I was approached to contribute this chapter—I have to confess—I did refuse at first. So much has been already said about Youssef Chahine (Yusuf Shahin), and so many have written about him, for decades, including myself. At one point I stopped dealing with him; I moved to other subjects, despite the fact that his enigmatic figure has accompanied my film curating and writing career from the very beginning, and even on the private level I could hardly neglect his effect, having acquired a number of dear friends including my husband on his film sets. So, why not write about him, about “Jo,” as his friends call him, him, one of the most congenial and charming directors of Egypt’s cinematic Golden Age?

Doubtless the general iconic exaltation of Chahine’s personality and work—regardless of his de facto enormous achievements—is one thing that made me start turning my attention away. I became so used to his overwhelming presence, his name looming through almost every announcement of Egypt-related film events, screenings of film retrospectives, reviews on Egyptian cinema, particularly in Europe, that I went fishing elsewhere. This, and the slight feeling of disappointment that had seized me since he entered his very last working phase; so different from the daring, charming—and entertaining—early Youssef Chahine. What happened?

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Medium 9780253014078

2. To Leave the Factory: With Cloth and Film

Laleen Jayamanne Indiana University Press ePub

Cloth – cotton, organza, satin, silk, of many colors, textures, and weaves, some a drab white, worn with endless washing and wearing, hung on a clothesline by a widowed aunt, some luxurious, of many blended colors, preserved in an old dusty metal trunk (a dead mother’s trousseau), and saris in the wardrobe of a young daughter/niece, arranged neatly, some starched and pressed, some in primary colors of red and yellow. There is also the widowed father in his elaborate pastel turbans and pristine white kurtas. An array of woven textiles, both stitched and unstitched (a vital distinction this), blouses, skirts, kurtas, saris, turbans, curtains, rugs, and sheets perform vibrantly and silently in Māyā darpan, Shahani’s first film.

It was the lure of the colors, textures, designs, movements, and above all the affective force of the woven material in this film that led me to research a history of textile production in India as a point of entry into this film. With Shahani’s guidance I began to understand the intimate connection between cloth and film not only for his practice but also for film as such. Fernand Braudel in the third volume of his Civilization and Capitalism discusses the preeminence of Indian textiles in the global market prior to European colonization: “In fact all India processed silk and cotton, sending an incredible quantity of fabrics, from the most ordinary to the most luxurious, all over the world, since through the Europeans even America received a large share of Indian textiles. . . . There can be no doubt that until the English industrial revolution, the Indian cotton industry was the foremost in the world, both in the quality and quantity of its output and the scale of its exports.”1

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Medium 9781770906396

5.03 Original Sin

Crissy Calhoun, Heather Vee ECW Press ePub

Tessa: You and I are the same, Damon. The obstacle standing between two fates. Silas had his true love and Stefan has Elena. We’re merely the conflict that makes it interesting.

5.03 Original Sin

Original air date October 17, 2013

Written by Melinda Hsu Taylor and Rebecca Sonnenshine

Directed by Jesse Warn

Edited by Joel T. Pashby Cinematography by Darren Genet

Guest cast Alyssa Lewis (Elena Double), Briana Laurel Venskus (Jo)

Previously on The Vampire Diaries Paul Wesley

Stefan learns Qetsiyah’s side of the story — complete with flashback Silas hair! — while Damon and the lady doppelgängers try to track him down. Nadia tries to out-maneuver Silas.

“It doesn’t sound crazy. It is crazy,” says Damon to Elena when she wants to follow the clues from her psychic dream to find Stefan. He’s right: the whole thing is crazy — and that’s part of the charm of The Vampire Diaries, its willingness to stick a wig on its lead actor and zip him back 2,000 years in a love-triangle-gone-wrong story that parallels the ongoing tension between Stefan, Elena, and Damon. In “Original Sin,” the series takes us as far back in time as it’s ever been to a settlement of mystical people in Ancient Greece: an epic tale of soul mates, spells, love, destiny, and destruction. Taking its title from the Old Testament story of man’s fall from grace, the episode introduces us to a character we’d only heard about in season four, giving us Qetsiyah’s side of the story in a he said/she said situation that has had far-reaching and long-lived consequences. But you never can trust what you hear from supernatural baddies, and trust issues abound in “Original Sin.” Qetsiyah, a questionable and biased source if ever there was one, says she has trust issues, thanks to the “original sin” that set her on the course of revenge she’s been on for two millennia.

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Medium 9780253017451

Part 1: The Restoration of the Maciste Series

Jacqueline Reich Indiana University Press ePub

Cabiria was an enormous success, and it is clear that the character most beloved by the audience was Maciste, due to the particular characteristics that the author imbued in him, for the special dramatic situations in which the author placed him, and also for Pagano’s effective performance.

In order to exploit that success Itala Film decided to produce a series of action films called “Maciste,” in which it developed the daring and humorous adventures of the good-hearted strongman with solid muscles and valiant heart – either as policeman, athlete, alpine soldier, or other personifications – who represented, in the most varied times and places, the same, typical figure of the super-strongman in service to just and generous causes.1

The history of cinema is also and especially the history of films. It is a story made from stories, since films themselves are not abstract ideas but material works from a tangible, variable, reproducible base, which are born, altered, and nonetheless eventually destined to disappear. Briefly, the history of cinema is also the material history of the actual print (in film for the first one hundred years of production, but also in video and digital formats today). Often it is the responsibility of the restorers and archivists, who work in the shadows, so to speak, to create the necessary conditions so that scholars and film lovers alike can see the films that make up the history of the so-called seventh art.

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Medium 9780861967131

Chapter 10 Disney’s ‘Good Neighbour’

Harrington, Seán J. Indiana University Press ePub

To diffuse tensions during the nine week strike Walt Disney was advised to leave the United States on a government-funded goodwill mission to South America. The political goal of the mission was to promote North American culture and values while at the same time encouraging support for the Allies in the event that the United States would have to enter the war. This was generally referred to as the ‘good neighbour policy’ (Smoodin, 1994, Wasko, 2001). While travelling Walt decided to make four films, each set in Brazil, Peru, Chile and Argentina respectively. The US State Department rejected the proposal to fund all four films and instead offered funding for a single film that would incorporate elements of each nation, reasoning that a single feature that incorporated national elements of several Latin American countries would reach a broader international audience.

Saludos Amigos (1942) was the result of this mission, featuring a mixture of live-action footage of Walt’s travels, fantasy settings and overt propaganda. These elements were used to sell an image of pan-American unity. The film is split into four parts, each featuring a typical Disney narrative while referencing places or images in Latin America. The goal of the film is quite simply to take Latin American iconography and present it in a friendly light within a specifically Disney context. The first segment features a small Mexican boy and his llama interacting with Donald Duck in the manner of a cultural exchange, with the boy teaching Donald his customs. The second features a baby aircraft named Pedro who must triumph over adversity to deliver a package and make his parents proud. The third segment uses Goofy to draw parallels between American cowboys and Argentine ranchers. The fourth segment sees Donald Duck learning to salsa and attempting integrate into Brazil with the help of Joe Carioca, a Brazilian parrot who acts as his guide. All these shorts are made to be as innocuous as possible; none would bear the sexual over-emphasis of The Three Caballeros (1945), the other feature inspired by the trip. Thus the film uses a particular type of sexuality, or the explicit lack thereof, to reinforce the image of pan-American homogeneity: the incorporation of Latin America into Disney, a North American icon.

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Medium 9780253012531

10. “God Modes” and “God Moods”: What Does a Digital Game Need to Be Spiritually Effective? · Oliver Steffen

HEIDI CAMPBELL Indiana University Press ePub

Oliver Steffen

IM NOT SURE HOW MUCH RELIGION YOULL FIND IN THE PATH,” writes Michaël Samyn, director of the Belgian independent studio Tale of Tales, in response to an inquiry.1 After all, The Path “is a short horror game inspired by older versions of Little Red Riding Hood, set in modern day.”2 Six sisters, aged nine to nineteen, are sent on an errand to their sick and bedridden grandmother. Mother tells them to stay on the path that leads through a thick and dangerous forest. The woods, however, promise adventures that can hardly be resisted by the girls. In the forest, they find strange areas and objects related to their characters and life situation. Most important, they find their personal wolf – a traumatic encounter, after which grandmother’s house becomes a place of surreal nightmares that end with the death of each girl.

The Path, which won awards for innovative game design, shows little overt religious symbolism, apart from some Christian crosses at the graveyard and the girls’ reflections about death. However, a glance at the developer’s forum reveals that players relatively often tie their play experiences to religious themes.3 Therefore, the game might be an example, on one hand, of the suggestion of William Sims Bainbridge and Wilma Alice Bainbridge that it is “possible that certain categories of games satisfy some of the same psychological needs satisfied by religion,”4 and on the other hand, of game researcher and designer Ian Bogost’s approach that games may have a spiritually relevant persuasive effect through their procedural representations and interactions rather than through their contents.5 In this chapter, I suggest a ludologically influenced religious studies approach to digital games.6 I am interested in the basic structural elements of games that generate religiously or spiritually relevant experiences in players. As a start, I examine a number of scientific and journalistic publications that, in their discussion of digital games’ effects, not only refer to religious terms, metaphors, and themes, but also provide details about the characteristics of the corresponding ludological structure. I offer a list of criteria to compare the spiritual efficacy of digital games – an essential aspect of the implicit religious potential of games. I then show that this efficacy may be understood and compared in terms of flow, meditation, empowerment, disempowerment, and morality. This catalog becomes the basis for my analysis of The Path, which is followed by a discussion from a religious studies perspective.

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Medium 9780253009234

5. Made in America: Urban Immigrant Spaces in Transnational Nollywood Films

Edited by Matthias Krings and Onookome O Indiana University Press ePub


FILMMAKERS IN NIGERIA'S MEGACITY LAGOS HAVE PRODUCED astounding numbers of video films in recent decades, but the significance of the city for Nollywood film production does not stop there. Lagos itself is being reproduced, reimagined, and re-created in many of these films. The importance of the Nigerian urban center for the country's English-speaking film production is indisputable, and the production of English-speaking video films in southern Nigeria is inextricably linked to contemporary Lagos.1 This phenomenon shows that Nollywood is following the cinematic tradition of using the cityscape as a setting and as a symbol of national cinemas, such as Rome for Italian, Berlin for German, and Paris for French national cinema. In the development of Nollywood as a thriving and distinctly Nigerian film industry, Lagos has become the icon and symbol for modern Nigerian filmmaking: “[Nollywood] is a medium of the city. It is only a city like Lagos that could have engineered and nurtured its birth” (Okome, “Nollywood”). In recent years, not only the distribution of Nollywood films, but also their production have become transnational, and Nigerian filmmakers based in cities around North America have produced Nollywood-style videos that are set in urban centers such as New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Through diasporic filmmaking, these globalized cities and their immigrant communities become cinematic manifestations of transnational movements of money, labor, goods, media, and people, and the actual city space, with its buildings, streets, sidewalks, cars, and other symbols of urbanity, is a place where social actors “negotiate the relationship between the local and the global” (Mennel 201).

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Medium 9780253013873

13 Zombie Philosophy

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

When we have to change our mind about a person, we hold the inconvenience he causes us very much against him.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Here is a list, very incomplete, of things one should keep in mind when attempting to write seriously about zombies. Zombies do not exist. Zombies are not related to werewolves or vampires.1 Zombies are not, literally, mindless consumers, enraged proletarians, or stupid Americans—although some were perhaps once these things—and there is little use in casting them, even metaphorically, as essentially such, especially when attempting to offer a “theory of zombies.” This is because zombies do not form a natural kind, not even a fictional natural kind. Within the genre, zombies vary greatly in behavior, cognitive power, and athletic ability: some shamble, some run at or near Olympic speeds; some are incapable of manipulating even simple objects, others play video games with erstwhile friends; some behave better, at least not worse, than the living, others are Nazis; some are created by ill-advised government programs, others by hearing (Canadian) English.2

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Medium 9780861967155

Chapter 18 For Love and/or Money: Exhibiting Avant-Garde Film in Los Angeles 1960–1980

Edited by David E James and Adam Hyman John Libbey Publishing ePub

Alison Kozberg

Between 1960 and 1980, avant-garde film exhibition in Los Angeles enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth and collaboration.1 This brief history takes these exhibitors as its primary objects of study, and identifies curatorship as a critical juncture where the entanglement of capital and cultural values is visible. During the 1960s and 1970s, public exhibitions were the primary mediator between experimental film and the public, and consequently taught viewers how to engage with and appreciate non-narrative, abstract, and artisanal cinema. However, many of these exhibitors were also businesses, and their curatorial strategies reflected the objectives of audience cultivation and financial sustainability. Accordingly, this history traces how cultural values, capital, and institutional resources shaped curatorial practices and public perception. By revealing notions of value and quality as constructed rather than innate, this deliberately anti-nostalgic project advocates for the ongoing revision of artistic paradigms, and seeks to work through avant-garde film’s past in order to encourage a challenging and heterogeneous future.

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Medium 9780253021359

2. The Notion of Treatment: Black Aesthetics and Film, based on an interview with Peter Hessli and additional discussions with Pearl Bowser

Pearl Bowser Indiana University Press ePub


Editor’s Introduction

Arthur Jafa is a visual artist who has worked extensively in film and video. He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and raised in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Later, he attended Howard University, where he studied with Haile Gerima and Ben Caldwell, going on to work as the assistant cameraman on Charles Burnett’s My Brother’s Wedding (1983). His interests span a broad range of artistic practices, all of which center around his investigations of Black aesthetics, cultural specificity and universality, psychoanalytical theory, and image processing. As director of photography he worked on numerous projects, including Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (for which he received the cinematography award at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival), John Akomfrah’s Seven Songs for Malcolm X (1993), Spike Lee’s Crooklyn (1994), Ada Griffin’s Audre Lorde (1995), Manthia Diawara’s Rouch in Reverse (1995), and Louie Massiah’s W. E. B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices (1995).

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Medium 9781864620009

Clay animation comes out of the inkwell

Edited by Jayne Pilling John Libbey Publishing ePub


Clay animated films were produced in the United States as early as 1908 when Edison Manufacturing released a trick film entitled The Sculptor’s Welsh Rarebit Dream. In 1916, clay animation became something of a fad, as an East Coast artist named Helena Smith Dayton and a West Coast animator named Willie Hopkins produced clay animated films on a wide range of subjects. Hopkins in particular was quite prolific, producing over 50 clay animated segments for the weekly Universal Screen Magazine. But by the 1920s, cartoon animation using either cels or the slash system was firmly established as the dominant mode of animation production. Increasingly, three-dimensional forms such as clay were driven into relative obscurity as the cel method became preferred for studio cartoon production.

Nevertheless, in 1921, clay animation appeared in a film called Modeling, an Out of the Inkwell film from the newly formed Fleischer Brothers studio. Modeling is one of the few known shorts using clay that was released during the 1920s. Modeling included animated clay in eight shots, a novel integration of the technique into an existing cartoon series and one of the rare uses of clay animation in a theatrical short from the 1920s. A closer examination of this Fleischer film is thus significant for two reasons. First, it illustrates how the clay technique ‘fits’ in the Fleischers’ Inkwell series. Second, it reveals a number of traits of the Inkwell format itself. In particular, Modeling shows how the studio maintained an element of novelty in the series by integrating different animation techniques to visualise Ko-Ko the Clown’s fight for corporeal existence, the unvarying central conflict of the series. This broader look at the Inkwell format will show that it embraced a duality of conformity and surprise, of static format and novel technique, of conventional cartoon action set in cartoon space and unconventional animation set in live action studio space. Indeed, even the central star of the series created humour by incorporating within his established ‘star’ persona the regular comic routines of a clown and an antagonistic tendency to leave his cartoon world, disrupting the conventions of film narrative and film space. These dualities became central to the audience’s enjoyment. On the one hand, viewers are comfortable with familiar characters in a familiar format, while on the other, they came to expect from the Fleischer studio the innovative use of animation techniques to visualise Ko-Ko’s on-going subversion of filmic conventions.1 Before turning to a specific examination of Fleischers’ films, an overview of the changes occurring in the emerging animation industry will show what broader impact the slash and cel techniques was having on three-dimensional forms of animation like clay.

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Medium 9780253353801

15 On the White Russian

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Craig N. Owens

Palm trees finger the sky, and there’s enough sunshine to lay some off on Pittsburgh. But that’s all on top. L.A., truth to tell, is not much different than a pretty girl with the clap.

Coleman and Zippel, City of Angels

Thanks to James Bond’s filmic popularity, the two rival mixologies of the vodka Martini are well known: the shaken and the stirred. Indeed, one might easily imagine a Levi-Straussian work of cultural anthropology, along the lines of The Raw and the Cooked, exploring how these two mixing methods have come to encapsulate whole attitudes toward life, love, and libations. The mixological niceties of the White Russian, by contrast, remain relatively unremarked upon, even among libationists familiar with the Dude. For, while it’s conceivable that the Martini is to James Bond what the White Russian—or to use the preferred dudism, the Caucasian—is to the fortuitously eponymous protagonist of the Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski, it is not so clear what impact his Belarusian leanings have had on his favorite collation’s cultural place, beyond the cult of Lebowski enthusiasts.

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Medium 9780253006462

Chapter 2 Cinematic Arts before the 2001 Broadcasting Services Act: Two Decades of Trying to Build a Nation

Katrina Daly Thompson Indiana University Press ePub

In 1980 a newly independent Zimbabwe found itself with an inherited cinematic culture dominated by white producers and mostly aimed at white viewers. Only a handful of domestically produced films and some imported Westerns had been directed to black viewers, and these were often thematized by racism and paternalism. Both film and television were transmitted predominantly through the English language. In the first two decades of independence, Zimbabwe struggled to adapt this inheritance to meet the needs of a multiracial, multicultural, and multilingual society, while balancing the imported and domestic resources available to its cinematic industries. A number of scholars have criticized Zimbabwe’s cinematic arts, and TV broadcasting in particular, for their failure to transform after independence.1 A detailed examination of the goals that the newly independent government set for the cinematic arts in the early 1980s reveals that by 2001 some changes had occurred, but they were extremely uneven. Analysis of archival materials, conversations with filmmakers, and critical commentary by viewers allow us to see how anxiety about Zimbabwe’s colonial history and present-day “cultural imperialism” has structured debates about what it means to represent Zimbabwe.

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Medium 9780861967179

Chapter 8 Mobilizing Movies: the U.S. Signal Corps and the Committee on Public Information

James W Castellan John Libbey Publishing ePub

The American entry into the war soon attracted increased attention by the authorities to film censorship and control. In April 1917 the U.S. Attorney General in Pittsburgh requested the Pennsylvania Board of Censorship to stop exhibiting three films, including the movies Civilization and War Brides, because these productions were considered pacifistic and so had a bad influence on public opinion. In Ohio the censors themselves took action and announced all war films would be checked intensively. Senator George Allen Davis from Buffalo, New York, proposed that the Federal Government ban all films with graphic scenes of the war because these would have a detrimental effect on recruitment.

Just a few days after the declaration of war by Congress, the Federal authorities began communicating with the film companies on ways to deal with war-related footage. Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, sent a letter to all newsreel companies asking them not to show any scenes of navy ships, naval exercises or preparations for war unless these films had been approved by his department. This complicated the production of newsreels significantly. To make matters even more difficult there were no official guidelines yet on what sort of film scenes could be recorded or regulations on securing an official permit to produce such films. Not until August 1917, four months after entry into the war, did the Committee on Public Information (CPI), the U.S. wartime propaganda and censorship agency, provide guidelines to American film producers. One of the most significant measures was the regulation that no photographers would be permitted to accompany the army abroad on active service in the war zone except official photographers in the government service (shades of the European authorities in 1914!).

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