880 Chapters
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Medium 9780253010643

1 Race Matters: The Evolution of Race Filmmaking

Barbara Tepa Lupack Indiana University Press ePub

[Instead of] a lot of slapstick, chicken-eating, watermelon Negro pictures like they had been making, … we made something that had never been made before … We were pioneers …
—George Johnson

Early race filmmaking is unquestionably the story of pioneers—pioneers like William D. Foster, the “Dean of Negro Motion Pictures,” who foresaw a dynamic future for blacks in the film industry; Emmett J. Scott, a Tuskegee Institute official who struggled valiantly to produce a film in response to D. W. Griffith’s vitriolic The Birth of a Nation; Noble and George Johnson, brothers and co-founders of the distinguished Lincoln Motion Picture Company, who produced high-quality pictures that promoted the ideology of race uplift; Robert Levy, the white founder of Reol Productions and the sponsor of the prestigious Lafayette Players, from whom many race filmmakers drew their casts; and Oscar Micheaux, the first black film auteur and the most prolific race producer of his day.1

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Medium 9780253018472

2 Atia Sattar · “Germ Wars: Dirty Hands, Drinking Lips, and Dixie Cups”

JONATHAN PAUL EBURNE Indiana University Press ePub

2.1. Gaar Williams. Meet Me at the Town Pump. Signed, a Typhoid Germ. Indiana Medical History Museum, Indianapolis.

2

GERM WARS

DIRTY HANDS, DRINKING LIPS, AND DIXIE CUPS

Atia Sattar

The conflict between germs and cups first came to my attention in a laboratory at the Indiana Medical History Museum, where I stumbled across an illustration by Hoosier cartoonist Gaar Williams (1880–1935) entitled Meet Me at the Town Pump. Signed, a Typhoid Germ (figure 2.1). In this drawing, a typhoid germ appears as an amphibious creature with webbed hands and feet, sitting at the edge of a wooden tub filled with water. In his right hand is the common dipper or public drinking cup of the day, a single metal can for everyone in the town, attached by chain to the water pump. Bearing this instrument of public service near his mouth, drops of water falling from his typhoid lips, the impish germ invites townsfolk to meet him at the pump. His invitation to drink is clear. Williams’s striking cartoon, I soon discovered, was not the sole critique of the common dipper, a public service turned danger to public health. In fact, the public war against germs in early twentieth-century America was waged on the rims of drinking cups.

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Medium 9780253020871

1. Changing Configurations in Theories of Fictive Representation

Alistair Fox Indiana University Press ePub

Charting a course through the waters of theoretical speculation on the nature and function of fictive representation from earliest times to the present requires one to tack and turn to avoid shifting sandbanks. The reason for this tortuous path is that, while almost everything that has been said about fiction has been around for some time, the ways in which different schools of thought inflect these insights vary greatly, depending on whatever intellectual and ideological currents are flowing most powerfully when a particular theory is formulated. In this chapter, I provide an overview of the evolving ways in which fictive representation has been conceived in theory throughout history.

Writing about 335 BC, Aristotle claimed that “poetry” (from Greek poiesis, or “making”–that is, a work of fictive invention) derives from mimēsis–an instinct toward representation that is “innate in human beings from childhood,” through which we learn and in which we gain pleasure.1 With respect to tragedy, which was the specific genre he was discussing, Aristotle believed that the function of the representation was to effect “through pity and fear the catharsis of such emotions.”2 Earlier, Simonides of Ceos (556–468 BC), according to Plutarch in his essay “De gloria Atheniensium” (c. AD 100), had made the claim that “painting [is] inarticulate poetry and poetry articulate painting.”3

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Medium 9780253356772

2 Obligations to Dogs

Harri Englund Indiana University Press ePub

Walking the dog was never a task Joseph Chisale cherished. Tending the garden of his European master, who was the only doctor at the nearby rural clinic, was a far more agreeable pursuit, and even cooking for the master involved skills and responsibilities that made the occupational category of “houseboy” a source of some respect in the village. Twice a day the master’s Alsatian, the dog that had traveled with him from Europe, had to be taken for a walk, each time Chisale wondering whether the master’s residence in his own village was such a blessing after all. Insolent children would run around him during the promenade, the cheekiest of them trying to provoke barking from the exotic creature. Adults would maintain a polite façade, their smiles and greetings, Chisale often felt, concealing their commiseration over the humiliation brought by a lack of opportunities in the village. Chisale suspected that the master would not have had the courage to face the commotion his outings with the dog would have caused in the village. The master’s residence there had done nothing to change his status as a stranger, or to improve his communication skills in Chicheŵa.

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Medium 9781864620009

What is animation and who needs to know?

Edited by Jayne Pilling John Libbey Publishing ePub

 

There are many definitions of animation. The most obvious source of one, the Webster dictionary, says animation is:

a: a motion picture made by photographing successive positions of inanimate objects (as puppets or mechanical parts), b: Animated Cartoon, a motion picture made from a series of drawings simulating motion by means of slight progressive changes.

This is a fairly common understanding of the term animation, but it reflects a limited exposure to what the artform has to offer. Whether one agrees with it or not, the Webster definition is useful because one can learn something about who is doing the defining. In this case, the folks at G. & C. Merriam should be encouraged to attend an animation festival.

In the international animation community, many definitions have become established by various organisations and entities. We scholars, teachers and filmmakers would probably not be able to agree on a precise definition, but we would be able to compile a nice list of them. Definitions of animation vary from one another for many reasons, including historical development, production and marketing requirements, and aesthetic preferences.

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Medium 9780253012265

3 Robespierre Has Been Lost: D. W. Griffith’s Movies and the Soviet Twenties

Jennifer M Bean Indiana University Press ePub

Yuri Tsivian

The monument to Robespierre erected a few days ago in the Aleksandrovsky park has been destroyed by “unidentified criminals.”

Anatolii Mariengof, The Cynics (1928)

STREET VENDOR: Fur-trimmed brassieres, fur-trimmed brassieres!

(Enter Prisypkin, Rozalia Pavlovna and Bayan).

VENDOR: Fur-trimmed …

PRISYPKIN (IN EXULTATION): What an aristocratic pair of bonnets!

ROZALIA PAVLOVNA: What do you mean bonnets, these are …

PRISYPKIN: Do you think I have no eyes? What if we have twins? This one will be for Dorothy, and this one for Lillian … Decided: I’ll give my twins these aristocratic-cinematic names … they’ll walk side by side. See? My home must be a horn of plenty. Buy them, Rozalia Pavlovna!

Vladimir Mayakovsky, The Bedbug (1929)

WHAT D. W. Griffith’s films did for Soviet editing is widely known. We learn this from Sergei Eisenstein, Leonid Trauberg, and Dziga Vertov, each of whom used kind words to repay their debt to Intolerance (1916)—Vertov in two sentences,1 Trauberg in a paragraph,2 Eisenstein in the space of a sizeable treatise.3 It is less widely known, however, what Soviet editing did to Griffith’s films—and it is this other side of the coin that my essay will address.

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Medium 9780253016737

3 The Testifying Orphan: Rethinking Modernity’s Optimism

Constantin Parvulescu Indiana University Press ePub

Dita Saxová, a 1968 Czechoslovak film directed by Antonín Moskalyk, thematizes the destiny of the Holocaust orphan. The film shows how radical socialist subject production and its demand for total commitment and affirmation faces a major challenge: the reactive (or divergent) manifestations triggered by uncontrollable dimensions of the human psyche, the unconscious. Unlike the films analyzed in the previous chapters, Dita Saxová does not tell an optimistic story about political or personal opportunities in the early postwar era. Its orphan protagonist questions any form of enthusiasm about civilization from the perspective of her camp experience, and with a vivid memory of the fact that the Third Reich had also aimed to radically change the world. Her story is one of melancholia: the film presents her inability to blend in with normal life and the reconstruction discourse.

Dita Saxová is a visual document of the 1960s, produced in times of contestation. When the film started production, Soviet-style socialism in Eastern Europe had already accumulated twenty years of political experience, not all of it positive. It had already gone through a few phases, during which questions had been raised, mistakes acknowledged, rethinking articulated, and some reshuffling of political elites enforced. The most important year in the transformation of political discourse in Eastern Europe had been 1956. Three years after the death of Stalin, the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union officially denounced the former Soviet leader’s policies. Socialism’s self-critical gesture triggered a variety of reactions in Eastern Europe in the following five years and seemed to signal changes in the discourse on Eastern European socialist development. Some party leaders fell, and even vocal contestations of the Soviet Union’s hegemony in the region were articulated. The most radical attempt to transform socialism took place the same year in Hungary: the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. But the affirmation of a national (Hungarian) road to socialism showed the limits of how much a Soviet-style regime could rethink itself and refurbish its political actions. Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest in the fall of that year, sending a message of caution to the entire Eastern European bloc, which limited the scope of attempts to move away from the Moscow model.

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Medium 9781864620542

Architectonics of Seeing: Architecture as Moving Images

John Libbey Publishing ePub

Space is never empty;
it always embodies a meaning
.
– Henri Lefebvre1

Sergei Eisenstein seems to have believed that one of the ancestors of cinema was architecture. The ancient Greeks, he writes, ‘have left us the most perfect examples of shot design … Acropolis of Athens could just as well be called the … most ancient [of] films’.2 Eisenstein’s thoughts can be found in ‘Montage and Architecture’, an essay written towards the end of the 1930s. For the soviet filmmaker the buildings on the Acropolis were first and foremost a montage of carefully enframed spatial views. The Parthenon, for example, faces the spectator obliquely, he notes, just like a calculated shot, thus becoming even more picturesque. According to Eisenstein, the origins of cinema – or more precisely, cinematic perception – were ancient architecture, since, as he puts it, ‘it is hard to imagine a montage sequence … more subtly composed, shot by shot, than the one which our legs create by walking among the buildings of the Acropolis’.3

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Medium 9780253015167

2. The Filmmakers

Roy Armes Indiana University Press ePub

NOURI BOUZID has pointed out the significance of the June 1967 Arab defeat for his own generation of filmmakers, who were born in the 1940s and made their breakthrough in the 1980s.1 The generation born since 1960 and making its breakthrough in the 2000s is very differently placed. These filmmakers were either small children or not yet born in 1967. The shared political experiences shaping their lives have been the Yom Kippur War in 1973; the outbreak of the fifteen-year civil war in Lebanon in 1975; the eight-year Iran-Iraq War, which began in 1980; the successive assaults by Israeli forces on both Palestine and Lebanon; and the two Palestinian intifadas. As a result of the upheavals caused by these wars, many of the filmmakers have shared the experience of voluntary or enforced exile, often beginning in childhood or adolescence.

Their individual national experiences differ greatly, however. In the Maghreb, the new filmmakers constitute the first generation born after independence, but they have also experienced the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and life under often brutal dictatorships. In Lebanon, they grew up in the midst of seemingly interminable civil conflict and constant repetitions of foreign invasion and occupation, extending up to the 33-Day War of 2007. In Palestine, they experienced the continual tightening of Israeli rule, the Palestinian response to this (the two intifadas), and more recently, the blockade of Gaza and its bombardment in 2008. In Syria and Iraq, those whose parents had not been driven into exile grew up under Baath party rule and experienced at first hand the constraints imposed by the tyrannies of Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein.

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Medium 9780253356772

8 Christian Critics

Harri Englund Indiana University Press ePub

As one facet of the liberalization that gathered momentum at the turn of the millennium, Nkhani Zam’maboma invites consideration of whether liberal values and procedures have any purchase on the moral imagination in a country like Malaŵi. Questioning the extent to which politicians and human rights activists were the most consequential participants in new public arenas, this book has sought to demonstrate that African-language claims mediated by the radio can yield insights into the broader issues of rights and obligations under the conditions of poverty and inequality. By thus including in the purview both the broadcasters and listeners of a popular radio program, this book shares an intellectual affinity with various attempts to go beyond Habermas’s notion of the public sphere (see chapter 2). Concepts such as counter-publics (Hirschkind 2006) and the parallel public sphere (S. Dewey 2009), in particular, might seem congenial to the project here to show that much else has been taking place in public than the endless bickering between politicians and activists over freedoms and responsibilities in the governance of Malaŵi. However, although much of this recent ethnographic and conceptual work is wary of imputing models of resistance to the alternatives it has discerned, the tendency to assume a measure of duality between the dominant and subordinate public arenas has not been repeated in this book. It was difficult to identify any emancipatory agenda in Nkhani Zam’maboma, because both its editors and listeners appeared to take for granted the institutions whose incumbents the program described. The idea of resistance has also been undermined by the editors’ commitment to serving the government.

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Medium 9780253011046

7 Challenging the Voice of God in World War II–Era Soviet Documentaries

Edited by Lilya Kaganovsky and Masha Sal Indiana University Press ePub

Jeremy Hicks

IN 1943, A DOCUMENTARY of the battle of Moscow (Razgrom nemetskikh voisk pod Moskvoi) titled Moscow Strikes Back won the Soviet Union its first Oscar. This version of the film had discarded the original voice-over and added a new one, written by Albert Maltz and read by Edward G. Robinson. This was not an unusual practice, and it has been repeated many times since. Both during and since the war itself, Soviet World War II black-and-white newsreel images have been recycled to illustrate this or that television documentary about the conflict, stripped of the verbal context provided by the voice-over commentary that first accompanied them in the original films. In removing what are assumed to be pompous voice-of-God commentaries encumbered by encomiums to Stalin and the party, historical filmmakers imply that a new voice-over will provide more informative verbal interpretations than the original, with less distortion and to greater effect.

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Medium 9780253014436

4. Novel and Film, Music and Miracle: Alfred Newman’s Score to The Robe

Stephen C. Meyer Indiana University Press ePub

The postwar religious revival that I referenced in the introduction to this book was manifest not merely in film, but also in many other aspects of American culture, and one index of its strength was the prevalence of religious works atop the best-seller lists during the period. Although the completion of the Revised Standard Version in 1952 propelled the Bible itself briefly to the top of the nonfiction list in the following year, works such as Fulton Oursler’s The Greatest Story Ever Told (a retelling of the basic Gospel narrative) and Catherine Marshall’s A Man Called Peter (an inspirational biography of her husband, the preacher Peter Marshall) were more typical.1 Perhaps the most popular and influential of these postwar religious nonfiction works was Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking, which stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for 186 weeks, 48 in the No. 1 nonfiction spot.2 Other popular titles included Billy Graham’s Peace with God and Dale Evans Rogers’s My Spiritual Diary.3 The hunger for religious books was also reflected in the popularity of historical novels based on biblical events and characters. The beginnings of this trend may be traced back into the war years, which saw the publication of Lloyd Douglas’s blockbuster novel The Robe (1942). Douglas followed up this success with his novel The Big Fisherman (1949), in which Peter is the central character.4 But Douglas was by no means the only novelist to take advantage of this hunger. Sholem Asch’s Moses (1951) and Frank Slaughter’s The Galileans: A Story of Mary Magdalene (1953) found their way onto the best-seller lists of the time, although their popularity was eclipsed by that of Thomas B. Costain’s The Silver Chalice.5 For the book trade in the postwar period, in short, religion sold, and sold well.

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Medium 9780861966899

Chapter 11 Nico de Klerk, “The transport of audiences”: making cinema “National”

Richard Abel John Libbey Publishing ePub

The materials that are the subject of this essay, films and their accompanying printed texts, were produced in the early and mid-1910s by the Association Koloniaal Instituut, in Amsterdam. This association was founded in 1910 as a centre for the promotion of science, education, trade, and manufacture. Alerted by a lack of interest in the Dutch colonies, in particular the East Indies (now Indonesia), the association’s founders conceived of the Colonial Institute as a center for the collection and study of data and objects of, and the dissemination of knowledge about, Dutch overseas territories. Besides exhibitions, publications or lectures, they decided to use a modern aid in their campaign: photographic and cinematographic records of the Dutch East Indies.

In an early description, in 1911,1 the association described the film project in general terms as a means to give “a vivid impression of the social conditions and the everyday life of the people living in the East Indies”. Besides this idealistic motive, the correspondence and minutes of the association’s board meetings reveal another motive that shaped the initiative: the recruitment of “colonial manpower”. Self-interest was not foreign to this motive, as the association undoubtedly saw an opportunity to prove its value by contributing to relieve a perceived need for new, Dutch employees in the colony. Because the colony was rapidly modernizing around this time, lots of new jobs were created, not only in the traditional sectors of agriculture, industry, government, and the army, but also in health care, education, the legal and penal system, architecture, engineering, and construction, retail, public transport and communication, tourism, etc. The economic expansion at the beginning of the twentieth century could have absorbed members of the local, mostly Indo-European – and often Europeanized – work force. But representatives of colonial interests in patria sided with many local companies and government offices in their preference for newcomers from Holland and other western countries.2

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Medium 9780253010773

1 The Evolution of Saturday Night

Ron Becker Indiana University Press ePub

MICHELE HILMES

What happened to transform the small hours of Saturday night from the low-rent haunt of old movies, reruns, dusty talk shows, and strange preachers to a must-see event for three generations of youthful viewers? The answer can be found by looking at changes in the American broadcasting industry, the rise of the youth audience, and the new prominence of sketch comedy, powered by transatlantic currents of popular culture flowing across the airwaves. Saturday Night Live drew on all these factors to create a new type of serialized sketch comedy format with one foot in vaudeville and the other in television’s future, but few would have guessed that it would continue to serve as an incubator and showcase of film, television, and musical talent across more than three decades. It also began a return to high-profile, live television production, after two decades of increased reliance on filmed series, and marked the death throes of the prime-time variety show, a staple of broadcasting since the 1920s.

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Medium 9780861966820

The Seychelles …

Marie Beardmore John Libbey Publishing ePub

 

As ever, with another film in the can, John took a bit of time out to travel, except this time it was necessity as well as pleasure. Professionally, things were going well for him; they could have hardly been going better – The Snowman was still going strong and every film John had made since further added to his reputation as producer of excellence. If he didn’t have the Midas touch, he was darn close: the money was coming in, everything was going swimmingly … and then Chris got sick.

She was diagnosed with ME, back then hardly heard of, and started to deteriorate pretty quick, soon becoming too weak to ride her horse. Worried sick, John sent her to The Priory for consultation and hopefully a cure. She had some treatment, which John thought fairly feeble, but she seemed to steady up after it. Afterwards, the doctor prescribed a lovely long holiday, a minimum of three weeks. Luckily, money wasn’t an issue, so he followed a friend’s advice to try the Seychelles, via a posh travel company that recommended a wonderful hotel with a room right by the seashore. John booked it for a week.

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