858 Chapters
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Medium 9780861966592

Chapter VIII Oedipal Relationships and Their Consequences

Floriane Place-Verghnes John Libbey Publishing ePub

Tex Avery’s cartoons rarely stage happy, solid families. Absent parents – the kitten in Bad Luck Blackie (1949) – , mothers without children and consequently trying to compensate for this lack – the owner of Lenny in Lonesome Lenny (1946) – , characters carrying out an eternal quest for a mother-figure – all the adaptations of Of Mice and Men, with Junior parodying Steinbeck’s Lennie –, the family as an institution is often severely handicapped. However, despite this lack of mutual bonding, Tex Avery’s cartoons always take into account the contemporary need for a mother experienced by a whole generation of soldiers who had fought in the Second World War. As we have already seen, the feminine mystique did not explode without warning. The Depression, the Second World War, and the invention of the atomic bomb were all determining factors in terms of sociological impact. The nation being generally scared, the need for the assuaging, soothing force best embodied by the mother-figure suddenly became a sine qua non. What the GIs wanted was to re-create the peace of their boyhood homes. The increasing number of pin-ups in the postwar years is no coincidence at all: as mother substitutes (see the size of their breasts for further instance), they fulfilled a sociological function that would have otherwise left a representational void. This climate of sociological insecurity was definitely propitious to the feminine mystique boom. The next stage was unavoidable: from then on, the idea that femininity could only be sublimated through motherhood propagated swiftly. However, the concept was carried so far as to result in many cases of castrating mothers, either through aggressive behaviour motivated by revenge or through a process of maternal over-protection (a term borrowed from David Levy) motivated by extreme love. Maternal over-protection resulted from a feeling of being unloved, left apart, since the only prospect of self-fulfilment for a woman was to be connected with her offspring. A woman could not simply live for herself but had to live for (and through) her children, so that her behaviour often displayed traces of emotional blackmail.

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Medium 9780253012265

9 National Soul / Cosmopolitan Skin: Swedish Cinema at a Crossroads

Jennifer M Bean Indiana University Press ePub

Jan Olsson

A PROVOCATIVE STANCE—formulated in French—hovered over Swedish film culture in the fall of 1923: Swedish film actresses—why are they so ugly? People in Stockholm were quite offended by this insult from visiting actor Pierre Daltour. Flustered directors retorted, journalists published lists of name to counter the preposterous contention, and upscale magazines assembled photographs as comely evidence pace Daltour’s temerity.

The magazine Veckojournalen (see Figure 9.1) even mustered two new faces from the not-yet-released Gösta Berlings saga (The Atonement of Gosta Berling; 1924) for additional punch—Greta Garbo, still Gustafsson in the caption, being one of them. Finally, the leading local company, Svensk Filmindustri (SF), compiled a filmic rebuttal (now lost, alas), as part of the program when the still fabulous Skandia Theater opened in September 1923, a week after Daltour’s musings. Presumably, SF’s film compilation celebrated more or less the same actresses as the article in Veckojournalen. According to Daltour, Swedish actresses were quite accomplished, but not beautiful. “They are cut out to be mothers or old ladies, but, heroines?! … We Frenchmen believe that all young beautiful women have emigrated to the U.S.”1

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Medium 9780253012531

11. Bridging Multiple Realities: Religion, Play, and Alfred Schutz’s Theory of the Life-World · Michael Waltemathe

HEIDI CAMPBELL Indiana University Press ePub

Michael Waltemathe

IN RESISTANCE: FALL OF MAN, A FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER SET IN an alternative history, aliens have attacked earth and enslaved most of humankind and transformed them into supersoldiers. Some of the fighting in the game takes place in what is left of Manchester Cathedral in England, which in the alternative history is now infested by alien forces. As a result of this depiction, in the real world the Church of England took legal action against the publisher of the game, the Sony Corporation. The legal argument was that Sony had not asked permission to use graphic depictions of the cathedral in its product.1 The official reason for the legal action can be seen in the following quote from Church of England officials: “We are shocked to see a place of learning, prayer and heritage being presented to the youth market as a location where guns can be fired. . . . For many young people these games offer a different sort of reality and seeing guns in Manchester Cathedral is not the sort of connection we want to make.”2

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Medium 9780253016447

7. Yousry Nasrallah: The Pursuit of Autonomy in the Arab and European Film Markets (Egypt)

Edited by Josef Gugler Indiana University Press ePub

Benjamin Geer

This chapter surveys the career of the Egyptian filmmaker Yousry Nasrallah (born 1952).1 Through an analysis of the eight feature-length films he directed between 1988 and 2012, it considers the relationships between his social background and biography, his pursuit of autonomy from the economic interests of mainstream film production, and the ways his films challenge social norms.

Autonomy can be understood in terms of the sociological theory of Pierre Bourdieu, where it has a specific meaning. For Bourdieu, the production of cultural goods often takes place in “fields.” The social world of cinema is a field in this sense, like the worlds of literature, journalism, and academic disciplines.2 A field is an arena of conflict, in which those who make cultural goods (directors, actors, critics, etc.) compete to attain dominant positions. Each field has its norms, its rules for competition, its criteria for evaluating participants. There are two main types of production in fields. The short production cycle involves responding to the present demands of the market outside the field; if vampire films are popular now, a vampire film stands a chance of making an immediate profit. This strategy has low autonomy from economic forces outside the field. In contrast, the long production cycle involves producing, partly or entirely, for an audience consisting of one’s peers in the field. Since one’s peers are also one’s competitors, their judgment carries a certain symbolic weight, and their approval can confer prestige and legitimacy on films and filmmakers, consecrating them as part of the canon of art cinema.

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Medium 9780253016966

Appendix: Prizes and Awards

Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

Grand Prix du Cinéma Français (GPCF)

Awarded by the Société d’Encouragement à l’Art et à l’Industrie under the patronage of Louis Lumière. Effectively taken over by the state in 1937, it became known in 1939 as the Grand Prix National du Cinéma Français (GPNCF). By then some felt it had become a prize less about quality than virtue. Usually presented in January for films released in the preceding year, it was in 1939 (wisely) awarded in July. The changing terms of reference as to what constituted an eligible French film (e.g., “all collaborators must be French”) often eliminated likely contenders (Les Bas-Fonds, Mayerling, Jenny, Le Crime de Monsieur Lange, etc.) and would retrospectively have eliminated Maria Chapdelaine and La Kermesse héroïque.1


Maria Chapdelaine (Julien Duvivier), over Itto and Zouzou


La Kermesse héroïque (Jacques Feyder)

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Medium 9780253010773

1 The Evolution of Saturday Night

Ron Becker Indiana University Press ePub


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 9780861967131

Chapter 2 Psycho-mythology

Harrington, Seán J. Indiana University Press ePub

This chapter shall begin by providing an account of Walt’s biographies and shall then proceed to outline chronologically the growth of the company and its structural parity with its figurehead and product. The purpose of this pseudo-biographical section is to produce an image of the man that will ultimately be shown to be indistinct from the organisation of Disney itself, the films it produced and its place in contemporary culture. Discussions of authorship in film are complicated by the dynamic nature of the production process. Many persons are involved in the inception of a film and this is even more obvious in studio made animation. Paul Wells (2002) suggests that Walt Disney moved from one mode of authorship to another. Having started as an artist involved in making the cartoons themselves, Walt took a more production-based role as the studio expanded. Walt, by his own admission, took an editorial and organisational role in film-production (Schickel, 1968). While this role may sound administrative in nature, it was in fact crucial to the creative process that can be defined as specifically ‘Disney’.

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Medium 9780861966899

Chapter 13 Marina Dahlquist, Teaching citizenship via celluloid

Richard Abel John Libbey Publishing ePub

In the summer of 1910, Francis Oliver, the Chief of the Bureau of Licenses in New York City, conducted a study of moving picture theaters and concluded: “the motion picture theaters which were just now being condemned by a great many people, [are] a potent factor in the education of the foreign element and therefore an advantage to the city”.1 Challenging misgivings that moving pictures suggested “bad” ideas, he further claimed “that many foreigners who could neither read nor write were enabled through the proper kind of pictures to get a good working idea of the customs of this their adopted country”.2 A month earlier, Reverend W.H. Jackson had arrived at a similar assessment in a reflection on the universal nature of moving pictures: “The ear may comprehend but one language; descendants of Hebrew, Greek, Latin and Teutonic races may sit side by side and together read in the universal language of the eye the selfsame subject”.3

This celebration of moving pictures as a universal language, as a form of “visual Esperanto”, was, as Miriam Hansen and others have argued, in vogue during the transitional period.4 The perennial example from the mid 1910s is, of course, Vachel Lindsay’s discussion about hieroglyphics and moving picture Esperanto.5 Moving pictures were overall considered to facilitate cross-cultural communication between people belonging to different nationalities and speaking different languages. The conviction that the new visual medium was superior to written language was prevalent. Prominent figures from Thomas Edison to D. W. Griffith predicted a glorious future for moving pictures as the successor to books in schools and libraries.6 This alleged universal nature of film incurred considerable pedagogical clout and prospects for social uplift. Moving pictures were not only valued as a form of universal language, but as Rev. Jackson declared: “It requires no education to look at a picture, but looking at the moving picture is educational”.7

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Medium 9780861966738

Disney’s full–length animated feature films

Amy M. Davis John Libbey Publishing ePub


The complete list

My subject list

The Classic Period

The Middle Period

The Modern Period

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Medium 9780253353801

21 Enduring and Abiding

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Jonathan Elmer

By the time I delivered the ideas in this chapter, in September 2006, in a dowdy wood-paneled “conference room” in a bowling alley in Louisville, Kentucky, during the annual Lebowski Fest held in the city and at those lanes, everything had been said. Mine was the final paper, and during the previous two days the film had been turned upside down and shaken, and then carefully situated with regard to fluctuations in the L.A. real estate market, the subgenre of bowling noir, the Brunswick color palette, nihilism and fluids, Paul de Man and Rip Van Winkle. Everything had been said, some things multiple times, and everyone was happy. Most people were happy. It became apparent to many of us that the film did not suffer from this critical vulturism, that the conversation could go on, potentially forever, without it being a problem that we were repeating ourselves and offering quite obviously contradictory views on many important aspects of the movie. The chatter did not exhaust the film, did not debase it or use it up, but it did not really exalt it either. The ability of the film to sustain such conversation was not due to its being a “classic,” timeless or otherwise. It seemed, rather, that the film was not so much full of a complexity that needed endless “unpacking”—this despite the fact that The Big Lebowski, like all the Coen brothers’ movies, lavishes loving, even obsessive, attention on all its details—than it was offering itself as genially underdetermined, available for any and all projections, investments, analyses, even mimicries.

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Medium 9780861967155


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

David E. James

With the exception of two written specifically for this volume, these historical and critical essays have been developed from papers presented on the panels at the Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles 1945–1980 conference held at the School of Cinematic Arts, USC, 12–14 November 2010.

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Medium 9780253018441

Nothing But a Man

Edited by David C Wall and Michael T M Indiana University Press ePub

Thomas Cripps

IN RECENT YEARS, A SUBGENRE OF BLACK FILM HAS celebrated the heroism of the picaresque outlaw who, like Sir Gawain in mortal combat with the Green Knight, Lancelot in pursuit of the Holy Grail, or Amos Tutuola’s novel Palm Wine Drinkard (1952) in quest of the ultimate high, seeks himself in brave quest outside the benisons of society. The urban outlaw has especially appealed to a number of black writers. The hero of the best novel ever written by a black, Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man (1952), came from this picaresque tradition. In black genre film, this outlaw is a combative hero, who roves the city from one adventure to another, each one offering deeper rewards of both self-knowledge and gratitude from the black group in whose name he fought.

Indeed, the urban outlaw often seemed more appealing than the pastoral hero; though rural ambience provided an opportunity to sketch an anatomy of white racism, the urban scene lent itself to rich fantasies of black aggression and rebellion. John Shaft simply called forth more heartfelt response from black audiences because he scored more points against “the system” than did Br’er Rabbit.

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Medium 9780253018441

The Derailed Romance in Nothing But a Man

Edited by David C Wall and Michael T M Indiana University Press ePub

Karen Bowdre

NOTHING BUT A MAN (1964) IS A COMPELLING FILM THAT depicts some of the racial and social challenges in the life of an African American railroad worker in the early 1960s. One of the many reasons this film stands out from other films with black casts is its exceptional and complicated portrayal of an African American romantic relationship. Before analyzing this unusual and afflicted cinematic union, I examine Josie Dawson and Duff Anderson as products not only from the minds of Michael Roemer and Robert Young but also as representative of young African American people during a turbulent time socially, culturally, and racially in the United States.

Josie, a teacher and preacher’s daughter, has sporadic dimensionality far beyond what might have been expected of two white filmmakers, Young and Roemer, of the period. Her character is not a compliant child but a grown woman with her own thoughts and ideas. She does not allow the potential class and educational biases of her parents (or larger community) to keep her from becoming involved in a relationship with Duff. Though she still lives with her father, she does not feel obligated to view the world the same way as her father and step-mother do.

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Medium 9780253007223

Introduction: Godard’s Theorem

Michael Witt Indiana University Press ePub

Introduction Godard’s Theorem

For the Past four decades, Jean-Luc Godard has pursued a sustained investigation of the theory and practice of audiovisual history. At the heart of his project lies one of his most ambitious and significant achievements to date: the monumental, labyrinthine cinema history series Histoire(s) du cinéma. This is simultaneously a set of essays on the history of cinema and television; on Godard’s life, and his place within that history; on the history of cinema in the context of the other arts; on the history of film thinking; on the history of the twentieth century; on the interpenetration of cinema and that century; and on the impact of films on subjectivity. It is also a critique of the longstanding neglect by historians of the value of films as historical documents, and a reflection on the narrow scope and limited ambition of the type of history often produced by professional film historians. “All I want to say,” as he summed up this aspect of the series, “is that history is badly told.”1 In addition, it offers an exploration of the possibilities of audiovisual historiography generally, and of what Godard has described as a “theorem” regarding cinema and history in particular.2 This theorem is premised on two main ideas: first, that the cinema, a product of the inventions and discoveries of the nineteenth century, assumed the role of historian of the twentieth, documenting it from beginning to end; and second, that every moment of the past remains potentially available to history. “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” he says at one point in the series, citing William Faulkner’s celebrated dictum.3 If the fundamental challenge facing all historians is that of bringing the past to life, Godard’s response to that challenge – the central tenet of his theorem – is the proposal and demonstration of a cinematically inspired method of fabricating history based on the principle of the montage of disparate phenomena in poetic imagery. “Bring together things that have as yet never been brought together and did not seem predisposed to be so,” he suggests simply, citing Robert Bresson.4

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Medium 9780253356796

3. Tunde Kelani’s Nollywood: Aesthetics of Exhortation

Akinwumi Adesokan Indiana University Press ePub

Of the three directors whose works are the main focus of this book, the Nigerian Tunde Kelani is perhaps the least well known to an international audience, even one familiar with African films. However, having made sixteen full-length films in less than twenty years (1993–2010), he is perhaps the most prolific of African filmmakers, surpassing even the late Ousmane Sembene, who had completed fourteen films by his death in June 2007. Debates over who has produced more may not always count in artistic and intellectual matters, art being more about what than about how much. Nonetheless, Kelani’s output is a function of a particular context, that of the cinematic phenomenon called Nollywood, and for this reason it matters a great deal. Nollywood is now widely acknowledged as the third largest film industry in the world, after the United States (Hollywood) and India (Bollywood). In fact, Nigeria produced 872 feature-length films in 2006, in comparison with 1,091 in India and 485 in the United States (UNESCO Institute for Statistics 2010). Kelani, a producer-director and the founder of Mainframe Productions, a film and television production company, is the most consistently active of the Nollywood directors, with an average of a film every year. He emerged as a filmmaker in the mid-1990s, alongside other talented figures like Amaka Igwe, Tade Ogidan, Zeb Ejiro, Opa Williams, Kenneth Nnebue, and Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin. Most of these directors are still active, but Kelani is now clearly in his own class. He is also among the most sought-after, appearing at conferences and film festivals both locally and internationally. What is it about him or his work that draws this kind of attention and enters him in the annals of global filmmaking, despite the relative youth of Nollywood as a cinematic phenomenon? This chapter sets out to address this question in all its ramifications through an extended discussion of Thunderbolt: Magun (2001), his first English-language film.

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