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Medium 9780861966820

The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine

Marie Beardmore John Libbey Publishing ePub


Yellow Submarine epitomized the 60s flower power, free love and hippie ideals. Heinz Edelmann’s designs woven into the psychedelic tale of good versus bad lightened the collective psyche and contributed to the zeitgeist of the time. A society straitjacketed since the war and the ’50s was liberalised with ‘the pill’ and sexual freedom that went with it. A freeing of attitude that filtered through every aspect of society but particularly manifest in clothing and music. John Coates got swept along with the tide: “girls’ mini skirts were so short, they were like belts”, he says. Yellow Submarine may have bought him kudos from his peers, but on a personal level, it led to the breakdown of his marriage to Bettina, and, professionally, saw TVC nosedive perilously close to bankruptcy. Yet for all that, he has no regrets being involved in something with such a ready-made buzz. It didn’t come much cooler than this!

The success of The Beatles’ series had inspired Al Brodax to make a feature film, but his vision stopped at an extended version of the TV show, which George and John wouldn’t countenance. If they were going to make a film at all, it had to be something far superior, as they explained to him in no uncertain terms.

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Medium 9780861966592

Chapter IX The Burlesque Heritage

Floriane Place-Verghnes John Libbey Publishing ePub

The ... American comedy finds its roots in the French comic
movies of the pre-First World War period, and – above all –
in the Anglo-Saxon music-hall, with all its acrobatics, pantomimes, nonsense, gags, and slapstick

Georges Sadoul’s statement conveys a deep, analytical meaning – provided one knows what the slapstick genre is.156 Giving a precise definition is a rather difficult enterprise, even though it is easy to spot its characteristics while watching a film of the genre. The following section, although far from exhaustive, will concentrate on four of these characteristics which are among the most prominent ones. Firstly, a burlesque film stages caricatures, stereotypes, people who could not possibly exist in real life; it also displays elements of excess (to which the Marx brothers may own the copyrights). However, a burlesque film is generally best identified through its frantic rhythm, and not only because of the early techniques used in silent movies, but also through the mechanical gestures which its protagonists repeatedly make.

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Medium 9780861967025

A Hundred Years Ago

Edited by Martin Loiperdinger John Libbey Publishing ePub


for Chiara Caranti

In the summer of 2003 the festival Il Cinema Ritrovato presented a series of five programmes of films from 1903, curated and introduced by Tom Gunning. I do not know how this came about. The section was called, in English, The First Great Year of Cinema: 1903 and, in Italian, Cento anni fa: I film del 1903.

My involvement dates from April 2004, when the director of the Cineteca di Bologna, standing beside me, was wondering to himself whether the Hundred Years Ago series should continue and, if so, who might curate it that year – and muttering that it was, in any case, now too late as the festival starts at the end of June. I muttered back to him that I could do it – a remark which has afforded me the happiest seven years of my career.1

It is mostly thanks to the films. The body of work produced from 1904 to 1910 is the most interesting in the whole of cinema history, for it was then, as it would never be again, that a whole host of aesthetic and narrative possibilities of the medium were explored and tested. It is also the least known and most undervalued work. Moreover, films of this period have to be properly programmed, for screenings to be a success. All this makes the curator’s job both challenging and rewarding. We are talking about films or fragments with running times of between one minute and fifteen (except for the exceptions, of course). Choosing between hundreds of short films, grouping the chosen titles into programmes and putting them into an effective running order, with films being dropped or exchanged the whole time, is a job which can be done well or badly. It is as important to the way the films are received as the staging of a play is to its success. I aim, via my programming, to make the selected films accessible and to provide a context for them by the way they are combined, so that each film’s special qualities are shown to their best advantage and each film’s position in the programme fulfils a dramatic function. A badly-constructed programme reduces or destroys the audience’s ability to see, think and feel. But we have arrived far too quickly at these reflections on programming principles. So let us return to these rarely-seen films of before 1910.

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Medium 9780861966967

Chapter 17 ‘A Cinematograph of Feminine Thought’: The Dangerous Age, Cinema and Modern Women

Klaus Kreimeier John Libbey Publishing ePub

60,000 copies in five weeks! A literary event! Enthusiastic hymns of praise, bitter protests, sold-out talks, lecture tours, vehement discussions, salacious comments in the parlour, in the ballroom, on the ice skating rink, on the tram. The small book The Dangerous Age by the Danish author Karin Michaelis has caused a veritable uproar among those who are interested in modern literature or in the psychic life of women, but most of all, of course, among women themselves and, particularly, among the women – or rather, ‘ladies’ – upon whom, through the ‘courageous candour’ of this book, has suddenly dawned the tenderly observed mystery of their own souls and bodies, and who only now have become conscious of their interesting condition. But, no, I do not want to make fun of the book, because the affair really is serious and dangerous.1

Indeed, the Danish author Karin Michaëlis (1872–1959) can be counted among the ‘women who moved the world’.2 Her novel Den farlige Alder (The Dangerous Age)3 is not widely read today, but it was the literary sensation of 1910. It was translated into 12 languages and sold over 1 million copies (a high figure at the time). For several years, it afforded its author the status of an international celebrity: Michaëlis was frequently featured in the press and gave lectures in many big cities of several countries. ‘The dangerous age’ became a common term for the novel’s central topic: menopause. The novel was rediscovered several years ago within literary studies, particularly by feminist scholars,4 but, strangely, its filmic adaptations have received hardly any attention at all (even though copies are extant). Analysing the novel’s contemporary reception along with its filmic adaptations provides a unique opportunity for insight into connections between the contemporary media system (literature, press, cinema), several influential discourses (sexology, censorship, Kinodebatte) and public opinion (transnational as well as culturally specific), particularly regarding the challenge to gender norms that emerged with modernisation.5

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Medium 9780253017154

2. Chris Melissinos: Art and Video Games

David S. Heineman Indiana University Press ePub

IN HIS YEARS AT SUN MICROSYSTEMS, CHRIS MELISSINOSS official title was, in part, that of an “evangelist,” a role associated with street preaching, door knocking, dogmatism, and conversion. Those who hired him for the position of “chief evangelist and chief gaming officer” were no doubt themselves initially taken aback by his infectious enthusiasm for technology and, specifically, for video games. Talking about his time at Sun some years later, in an interview addressing the opening of the exhibition The Art of Video Games that he curated for the Smithsonian Art Museum, Melissinos reflected on having the opportunity to express his hope for technology’s future while at a Java Developers conference in 2009. “I made the point that technology is wonderful, and it gives us the opportunity to do many things, however none of it matters if we don’t find the humanity in it” (Bednarz).

If The Art of Video Games attempted to argue one thing, it is that a productive route to finding the humanity in technology is to approach that technology as an art form. Melissinos’s exhibit made a strong case that video games in particular might be understood as the work of artists who skillfully write beautiful code on the constrained canvas of a particular platform, who design experiences that provoke complex thoughts and actions from their audiences, or who merge existing art forms (music, illustration, acting, and more) into a novel expression of humanity.

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Medium 9780861967155

Chapter 11 Students Reflect Future of Cinema

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

Gene Youngblood*

Winners of the Third National Student Film Festival were announced last Sunday at UCLA following a two-day orgy of finalists from 152 entries and thirty-seven universities and colleges.

First prizes of $500 were awarded in four categories: dramatic, experimental, animation, documentary. Second prizes and honorable mentions also were designated in each classification.

The University of Southern California (at last) won two well-deserved first prizes. The other two were shared by UCLA and the University of Iowa. Three second prizes went to UCLA; the fourth was claimed by Boston University.

First prize winners were: THX-1138-4EB (dramatic, George Lucas, USC); Cut (experimental, Chris Parker, University of Iowa); Marcello, I’m So Bored (animation, John Milius, USC), and Keinholz on Exhibit (documentary, June Steel, UCLA).

Second prize winners were A Question of Color (dramatic, Richard Bartlett, Boston University); Now That the Buffalo’s Gone (experimental, Burton C. Gershfield, UCLA); An Idea (animation, Walton White, UCLA), and The Latter Day (documentary, Donald MacDonald, UCLA).

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Medium 9780861966738

A Brief History of Animation

Amy M. Davis John Libbey Publishing ePub


This chapter begins with an overview of animation’s beginnings and a discussion of how animation, as both an art and as an industry, took shape in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. This is followed by a brief examination of two of the main animation studios in America in the 1930s and 1940s (and Disney’s main competitors), the Fleischer Brothers studio and the animation unit at Warner Brothers. These will help to underline and illustrate a comparison between how animation’s role and worth as a medium were perceived at the Disney studio and other studios. It is also important to outline, in general terms, animation techniques and practices of this period and at various studios in order to achieve a more complete understanding of how and why animated characters were created and presented as they were.

This chapter, despite its presence in a book on the films of the Disney studio, has very little discussion of topics which are directly related to Disney. While this may initially seem odd, there are in fact very good reasons: in order to appreciate the many ways in which the Disney studio differed (and continues to differ) from its competitors, it is important to become acquainted with the nature of Disney’s competition. From 1928 – the year in which the Disney studio achieved its first major success with the release of “Steamboat Willie” – up to the present day, animation at other studios has been defined, understood, and appreciated in relation to Disney (even if only to reject the Disney style and ethos), measuring achievements and failures by how much – or how little – the influence of the Disney studio can be detected. In other words, why the Disney studio did what it did, how it did what it did, what it did, how its ways changed (and how they stayed the same) over time, and even a sense of what Walt Disney and his successors hoped to achieve both within and for animation as a medium, are best understood within the context of how animation was approached at other studios. Because there were two studios in particular between 1925 and the 1950s which could be viewed as being equal to the competition offered by the Disney studio, it is only those two studios – the Fleischers’ studio at Paramount, then the animation unit at Warner Brothers studio – which will be discussed in any detail.58 Once the reader has a working knowledge of animation history and an idea of how animation outside the Disney studio was approached, it becomes much easier to understand the very real and important ways in which the Disney studio differed from other studios, and to appreciate the ways in which these differences contributed not only to the choices made by the Disney studio regarding its production, but also to the Disney studio’s ultimate success.

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Medium 9780253355560

2: Why are Ethical Issues Central to Documentary Filmmaking?

Bill Nichols Indiana University Press ePub

2    Why Are Ethical Issues Central to Documentary Filmmaking?


The bond between documentary and the historical world is deep and profound. Documentary adds a new dimension to popular memory and social history. Documentary engages with the world by representing it. It does so in three ways.

First, documentaries offer us a likeness or depiction of the world that bears a recognizable familiarity. Through the capacity of audio and visual recording devices to record situations and events with great fidelity, we see in documentaries people, places, and things that we might also see for ourselves, outside the cinema. This quality alone often provides a basis for belief: we see what was there before the camera; it must be real (it really existed or happened). This remarkable power of the photographic image cannot be underestimated, even though it is subject to qualification because

• An image cannot tell everything we want to know about what happened

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Medium 9780861967155

Chapter 24 Not Just a Day Job: Experimental Filmmakers and the Special Effects Industry in the 1970s and 1980s

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

Julie Turnock*

West Coast experimental filmmakers’ participation in the special effects boom of the late 1970s is a little-known and much misunderstood phenomenon. A perception persists that the 1970s special effects industry “gutted” the experimental optical animation community, exploiting them for their labor and sidetracking them from their art.1 Elsewhere, I have argued that the intensification of special effects practice in the late 1970s initiated a technological, aesthetic, and narrative shift in feature filmmaking as significant as the introduction of sound in the late 1920s.2 My research has also revealed the influence of experimental filmmaking on late 1960s and 1970s special effects-heavy feature filmmaking, especially the science fiction extravaganzas like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Star Wars (1977), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and Blade Runner (1982). Furthermore, it is clear that the impact of West Coast experimental filmmaking went far beyond lending these science fiction films transitory psychedelic visuals representing alien worlds. More specifically, I argue that in the 1970s, experimental filmmakers, both directly as labor and indirectly as inspiration, taught popular filmmakers like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Ridley Scott and their teams, strategies for organizing and mobilizing the elaborately designed composite mise-en-scène. Or, in other words, they provided the technological, aesthetic, and conceptual scaffolding for creating the infinite and complex worlds desired for these science fiction films. Moreover, these filmmakers took skills and inspiration from their day jobs back to their own work.3

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Medium 9780253013873

14 Zombie Cocktails

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

We take great pleasure in drinking big zombies.

Simone de Beauvoir, America Day by Day

When Betsy Connell, female lead in Jacques Tourneur’s I Walked with a Zombie (1943), confesses that is she isn’t in fact familiar with zombies, her interlocutor, Dr. Maxwell, first tells her that she is dealing with “a ghost, the living dead” and then informs her more cheerfully that the Zombie is also a drink, at which point Betsy finds herself on more familiar territory. “I tried one once,” she says, “but there wasn’t anything dead about it.” Uttered in 1943 at the height of Hollywood’s tiki craze, these lines are no doubt an inside joke. By this time, actors and audience alike were more than familiar with the real Zombies that had overrun America’s bars and the mystical powers they allegedly possessed. And much like Val Newton’s cinematic living dead, the Zombies served at bars such as Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s evoked echoes of Haitian vodou, supernatural possession, and the mystical, transatlantic origins of the zombie myth.1

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Medium 9780861967094

Our Magic Lantern Heritage: Archiving a Past Medium that Nearly Never Was

Ludwig VoglBienek John Libbey Publishing ePub

Church Army Lantern Department slide carrying box, used to send slides by post or rail transport, c.1900.

In the 21st century digital image technology has firmly imposed itself on the world map; its “screens” take many forms and are multiple and commonplace. It is rapidly changing the frameworks for technology, culture and perceived histories. Or as the British photographer Eamonn McCabe puts it, “we enter a new ‘memory land’; a new way of capturing and remembering means a new way of looking at ourselves and the world around us”.1

Analogue image technology is becoming obsolete. The celluloid film medium is lingering on the brink of extinction. Archivists, artists and historians do in many ways hail the “digital revolution”, yet also ask ourselves: what do we lose? Especially in this time of marked transition relentlessly pushing us forward there is a need for reflection. What exactly are the archival and cultural legacies of screen practices, and how can we safeguard them from fading away to become unfamiliar and uncharted realms?

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Medium 9780253018472

9 Aaron Jaffe · “There is as yet Insufficient Data for a Meaningful Answer: Inhumanism at the Literary Limit”

JONATHAN PAUL EBURNE Indiana University Press ePub




Aaron Jaffe

Among its other merits, Vilém Flusser’s strange treatise on Vampyroteuthis infernalis is a fable about information at the literary limit. Comparing “the vampire squid from hell” and Homo sapiens sapiens, Flusser proposes a fantastic convergence that links the odd existence of a tentacled life-form, complexly equipped for probing the deep ocean, to the inhuman consequences of our emerging system of new media. Humans increasingly approximate the strategies of invertebrate life, he writes: “As our interest in objects began to wane, we created media that have enabled us to rape human brains, forcing them to store immaterial information. We have built chromatophores of our own – televisions, videos, and computer monitors that display synthetic images – with whose help broadcasters of information can mendaciously seduce their audiences.”1 Is this assessment hyperbolic? Probably not. Recumbent with chromatophoric gadgets, humans become more and more cephalopodan, probing, probed by, and propelled through an endless ooze of immaterial information. Increasingly, our environment is, in so many words, the seemingly unfathomable abyss of big data plumbed fitfully by inhuman algorithms.

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Medium 9780253016966


Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

(The Mimosa Boarding House)

France-Germany, 1935, 109 min, b&w

Dir Jacques Feyder; Asst dir Marcel Carné and Ary Sadoul; Prod Tobis; Scr Feyder and Charles Spaak; Cinematog Roger Hubert; Music Armand Bernard; Art dir Lazare Meerson; Sound Hermann Storr; Edit Jacques Brillouin; Act Françoise Rosay (Louise Noblet), Paul Bernard (Pierre), André Alerme (Gaston), Lise Delamare (Nelly), Arletty (Parasol), Ila Meery, Nane Germon, Sylviac, Paul Azaïs, Jean Max, Raymond Cordy, and Pierre Labry.

Pension Mimosas was commissioned to exploit Françoise Rosay’s immense success in Le Grand Jeu (#31). Funded by Tobis, it was made without any of the financial anxieties that beset Jacques Feyder’s previous film. It focuses on two thematic fields that were omnipresent and immensely popular in the years 1930–1945, namely gambling and (usually implicit) incest. The pension (boarding house) of the title is a rather elegant establishment not far from the casino. Its proprietors, the Noblets, are childless, and take over as their own son Pierrot, the son of a lodger sent to prison. Released, the lodger reclaims him and he grows up in bad company, obsessed with gambling (at which he loses catastrophically) and with an “unsuitable” woman, Nelly. Attempting to save him, his (adoptive) mother enters into an overt rivalry with Nelly for his affections. To refinance him, she herself gambles and wins big, but too late: Pierrot has committed suicide and dies in her arms.

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Medium 9780861967155

Chapter 21 Ed Ruscha’s Moving Pictures

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

Matt Reynolds*

Ed Ruscha uses the language of film when he talks about making art in Los Angeles. He uses terms like “editing” and “montage” and often says that what he likes about the city “has to do with the movies” because in L.A. everything seems “so cinematic”.1 Ruscha’s oeuvre explores the close connections between the Hollywood movie industry and avant-garde art practices in Los Angeles during the 1960s and 1970s. Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966) is an excellent example. Bound accordion-style and unfolding to a length of twenty-seven feet, the book is a continuous panorama of Sunset Boulevard between Laurel Canyon and Cory Street. The north side of the street appears at the top of the page and the south side is displayed upside down at the bottom.

Taken with a motorized Nikon camera mounted on a tripod in the back of a truck, Ruscha meticulously pasted the individual photographs together to approximate the illusion of a single uninterrupted image. The top and bottom strips resemble an unspooled movie reel, the width of the printed image being approximately 35mm, or commercial cinema’s standard gauge. Art historian Cecile Whiting foregrounds other cinematic properties of the book: “The layout of the photographs . . . mimics a filmstrip yet delineates no visual, spatial or narrative development”.2 These two features – the foregrounding of materiality and the conscious rejection of narrative – are, of course, among the defining features of experimental cinema.

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Medium 9780861966899

Chapter 19 Joseph Garncarz, The emergence of nationally specific film cultures in Europe, 1911–1914

Richard Abel John Libbey Publishing ePub

In this essay, I wish to introduce the notion of “national film culture”, trace the process of the emergence of nationally specific film cultures in Europe, and offer an explanation for that emergence, which I hope will be fruitful for the USA and other countries as well.1 Germany will be my main case study because it has been the focus of my empirical research on early cinema. Through the notion of national film culture I wish to avoid the usual ideological and essentializing connotations implicated in the term “nation”. As a concept, national film culture aims to define popular culture according to neither a canon of films nor simply the films produced in a country but rather the films most favorably received. As an empirical measure of film demand, this theoretical reframing relies on a crucial source of evidence: the list of the films most popular with German audiences between 1911 and 1914. It was the scale, context, and structure of a new film exhibition venue, the permanent cinema, that allowed German audiences to select films based on nationally specific traditions, which in turn further stimulated the production of such films.

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