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19 Size Matters

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Judith Roof

The Collector’s Edition DVD of The Big Lebowski begins with an appended introduction to the film by Mortimer Young, president of Forever Young Film Preservation. His prologue, in the genre of the ceremonial film introduction, addresses both the casual viewer and the aesthete. Narrating the film’s history and provenance, and preparing the audience for its delights, Young traces the journey of the version that follows, recounting its rediscovery in a dubbed Italian version that has been redubbed into English. What survives, he warns us, is not exactly the original, but close enough for a film that has been destroyed in a fire, multiply translated, lost and found, and restored to us under the title The Grand Lebowski.

How you gonna keep them down on the farm
once they’ve seen Karl Hungus?

In The Big Lebowski, a film with so many pins and balls, with so many penetrations, penetrating looks, and penetrated eye views, one would think there would be an ample supply of penetrations, all big, bulky, and vain. But there are not. Or there are too many soon-to-be disqualified contestants. The only real man in the place seems to be “The” Jesus Quintana, a pastel-coordinated pederastic bowler with a penchant for threatening anal intercourse while waving the hard-on of his prosthetic finger stiffener. Bowling pins are relatively smaller than balls, if we wish at all to ascribe to what seems to be the obvious binary sex symbologies of the bowling alley. But the allegory is not as obvious as it seems, in fact, and it is at best fluidly shifting. Balls penetrate alleys and pins, and bowlers penetrate balls, three-fingering those bounding lasses that serve in turn as their rotund synecdoches, now big roly-polies frotting the standing ten, glancing the circle jerk where nine out of ten on the average come off. Then the benedictions of the great enfolding matrix, a giant set of holes descending on the hapless pins, sucking them up or brushing them off, cupping them in a caressingly careful (re)placement, and beneficently endowing the hungry balls with a ten-pack’s impending generosity.

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1. From Yorùbá to YouTube: Studying Nollywood’s Star System

Noah A. Tsika Indiana University Press ePub


When Nollywood star Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde was shooting the VH1 drama series Hit the Floor in February, 2013, she started live-tweeting from the set, describing the Paramount lot and calling her colleague Kimberly Elise “a beautiful Method actor.” That tweet in particular seemed to say so much all at once: that a Nollywood star can thrive when 8,000 miles from home and filming scenes with an American costar; that she can classify that costar’s performance style according to what is perhaps the most revered model of realist acting; that she can join forces with a fellow woman of color in order to furnish a reflection of global “girl power” (the tweet came with the hashtag “GirlsRock”); and that she can define her own ever-evolving identity as a truly boundless one. This tweet alone displays the notion that Nollywood’s star system well equips its constituents to achieve expansive success. Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde has, as she says, “the power” to infiltrate American popular culture; the proof is in the Instagram photos that she provides—the charming self-portraits of the Nigerian star weaving her way through a Melrose Avenue lot with the legendary Paramount banner as a backdrop.

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Medium 9780253016454

6 “The Best Tradition Goes On”: Audience, Consumption, and the Structural Transformation of Concert Party Popular Theatre

Jesse Weaver Shipley Indiana University Press ePub

You are saying I have grown fat. Thank you.

It is all because of Key Soap.

If they sponsor you and you go to America, you also will grow fat.

Bishop Bob Okalla, National Theatre Key Soap Concert Party

ON DECEMBER 31, 2000, the National Theatre of Ghana witnessed an extraordinary upheaval. A standing-room-only audience filled the fifteen-hundred-seat auditorium to see a concert party popular theatre show. However, angered by a change in the format of the performance, the exuberant audience forcibly prevented the show from beginning, threw tables and chairs onto the stage, sang political protest songs, and even pushed and shoved the police when they arrived. The National Theatre was hosting its annual competition called “Who Is Who” to select the nation’s best concert party performers. The organizers had decided to hold the finals competition over two days and, for the first time, separated the dramatic plays from the comedians. When the audience arrived and discovered that the highly popular comedians were not performing until the next day, they were livid.

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Chapter 8 Regression and Jouissance

Harrington, Seán J. Indiana University Press ePub

While Fantasia was structured by eroticism in aid of a conscious utopia (the creation of a cross-class consumable product), the succeeding features of the pre-war era of Disney were structured by a threat levelled against the idealised image of primordial union with the figure of the mother: an unconscious utopia. This chapter begins its discussion of what would become Disney’s most affective narrative formula by clarifying the concept of the regressive, followed by analyses of Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942). These discussions introduce different aspects of the regressive narrative, the concluding points of which will be amalgamated in a conclusion to Part Two of this text: a conception of the Disney form as a regressive cinematic apparatus, utopian in its presentation.

The Regressive

The facets of adulthood and compliance with paternity are considered profoundly negative in the classic Disney era. This path away from the adult in favour of un-castrated childhood represents a regressive choice in the film’s narrative. Rather than orienting the narrative along the lines of the Oedipal dilemma, the viewer is brought backwards along earlier organisations of structure. This is the essence of the Disney narrative, an essence which is intrinsically transgressive in terms of patriarchy, yet seemingly too commodified and impotent to raise issue among censors or mainstream critics. It is this contradiction that exists between transgression and innocence that leads to so many of the critiques and parodies of Disney in popular culture; these critiques shall be discussed in the conclusion to this text.

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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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