Thursday, 28 May 2009

C is for Cinephilia Studies (plus some telephilia, too)

A veritable labour of love, today, from Film Studies For Free: a list of links to freely available online resources devoted to the study of cinephilia, telephilia and videophilia - the putatively excessive love for whatever is projected (or broadcast or played) on screens large and small. Truth be told: FSFF can't really see what's excessive about that... (Updated June 1, 2009)

To conclude, the normally parsimonious (Open Access championing) Film Studies For Free blog doesn't usually plug books that you have to pay for (even though its owner both writes and, of course, reads such papercentric objects) but it absolutely must flag up the fact that it is very much looking forward to Scott Balcerzak and Jason Sperb's forthcoming Cinephilia in the Age of Digital Reproduction: Film, Pleasure and Digital Culture, vol. 1, due to be published by Wallflower Press in June 2009.

This first volume in a twin-anthology project includes contributions by Robert Burgoyne, Zach Campbell, Tobey Crockett, Brian Darr, Kevin Fisher, Andy Horbal, Christian Keathley, Adrian Martin, Jenna Ng, Lisa Purse, Dan Sallitt and Girish Shambu, as well as by Sperb and Balcerzak.

As today's links list so amply testifies, so many of these authors have already tirelessly shared their work on this topic for free online. FSFF thinks this is very much a book worth having.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

'Final Girl' Studies

Film Studies For Free loves plucky female film protagonists (and false protagonists, for that matter) still fighting on in there at "The End".

It also loves
Carol J. Clover’s 1987 essay 'Her Body, Himself: Gender in the Slasher Film,' (Representations [Number 20: Fall 1987, pp. 187-228] - later included by Clover in her hugely influential book Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film [Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,1992]), which was the first work to coin the resonant phrase 'Final Girl' to name climactic female survivors of slasher/horror/fantasy-sci-fi-horror films.

Clover's essay asked the following, rather fascinating, question: why, in these films which are supposedly principally aimed at male spectators, are the surviving heroes so often women characters?

It's a question that has been frequently addressed, since, in film, television, and now videogame studies, many of them freely available online. S
o here's Film Studies For Free's not-so-weak-and-feeble list of terribly-brave-and-resilient links to open-access "Final Girl" Studies, beginning with Clover's key essay, and then proceeding in an orderly alphabetical direction, by author surname:
FSFF also highly recommends that you visit Slayage: International Journal of Buffy Studies for lots of other relevant studies.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Classic Latin American film studies in memory of Mario Benedetti

Sequence from El lado oscuro del corazón (The Dark Side of the Heart, Argentina, 1992, directed by Eliseo Subiela) featuring Mario Benedetti's poem 'No te salves'/'Don't Save Yourself' (recited by Oliverio/Dario Grandinetti to Ana/ Sandra Ballesteros) and starring Benedetti himself as 'El poeta alemán'/'the German Poet' reading his poem 'Corazón coraza'

Film Studies For Free was just going to post today on three classic Latin American film studies texts that are now fabulously available as free e-books from the wonderful people at University of Pittsburgh Press Digital Editions:

But then FSFF's author heard of the sad death at 88 of the great Uruguayan writer Mario Benedetti, who devoted his life to demonstrating, so beautifully, that 'the South also exists', in literature, politics, and the cinema.

As the BBC website reports: 'Born to Italian immigrants, Benedetti wrote more than 80 novels, poems, short stories and essays during a career spanning six decades. His 1960 novel [La tregua] The Truce was translated into 19 languages and made into a film', La tregua directed by Sergio Renán based on a script by Benedetti and Aída Bortnik (the film was also remade in 2003) .

While Renán's La tregua was probably the most important film based on Benedetti's writing (at least in terms of its political impact), he was, in FSFF's opinion, the most cinematic of South American poets, with over eighteen screenplays to his name. He had a particular association with the highly lyrical film work of Argentine writer-director Eliseo Subiela (an auteur on whose work FSFF's author has published), especially the films El lado oscuro del corazón (1992, sequence embedded above; also see here) and Despabílate amor (aka Wake Up Love, 1996).

Below, as is FSFF's wont, are links to some online and freely accessible studies of the 'Benedettian' films of Subiela, as well as of Uruguayan and Southern Cone cinema more generally.

Nunca te salvaste, Mario... Gracias.

Friday, 15 May 2009

A Heart of Gold: Pakeezah and the Hindi Courtesan Film

Click on the image of Meena Kumari, above, to link to the 'Chalte Chalte' sequence in Pakeezah (music by by Ghulam Mohammed, lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kaifi Azmi, Kamal Amrohi, Kaif Bhopali, sung by Lata Mangeshkar).

One of the favourite films of Film Studies For Free's author is Kamal Amrohi's Pakeezah/Pure Heart (1971), a magnificent Hindi melodrama and one of the most accomplished and beautiful films in the transnational 'courtesan with a heart of gold' film genre.

As one of FSFF's favourite scholarly film weblogs is Michael J. Anderson's Tativille, you can possibly imagine how delighted it was to find that the centrepiece feature of Indian Auteur's third issue is Anderson's remarkable essay on Pakeezah. (IndianAuteur is an excellent online journal edited by Nitesh Rohit, Supriya Suri and others).

What better way to celebrate the felicitous conjunction of all of these elements, then, or to encourage FSFF readers to explore them all, than a little list of Friday links to online and freely accessible studies touching on Pakeezah, Kamal Amrohi, Meena Kumari (pictured above) and the Hindi Courtesan Film.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

More on the video essay: Jim Emerson's Close Up: the movie/essay/dream

Lots of correspondence after yesterday's post on the video essays of Matt Zoller Seitz and Kevin B Lee has prompted Film Studies For Free to research the online work of a number of other film artists/academics. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts about this shortly.

FSFF would also love to hear from any of its readers who can point in the direction of further examples of good-quality, freely-accessible, scholarly online video essays to check out.

But, in the meantime, here are some great links to the online video essay work of a highly notable film critic who has very successfully experimented with this form: Jim Emerson, film critic and creator of Scanners (a movie blog and home of the Opening Shots Project) and founding editor of/contributor to, Roger Ebert`s web site.
See more of Emerson's movie clips HERE.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Fabulous Films about Films: Homage to Matt Zoller Seitz's Video Essays

'The video essay is often described as a form of new media, but the basic principles are as old as rhetoric: the author makes an assertion, then presents evidence to back up his claim.'
Matt Zoller Seitz, 'The Video Essay' (2009)

As regular readers of Film Studies For Free know, this blog has championed the Video Essay as one of the most important and promising developments in online Film Studies. One of the most outstanding proponents of this internet form currently at work is critic and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz.

One of the other most notable online video-essayists, of course, is filmmaker and writer Kevin B Lee, whose work FSFF has hailed on a number of previous occasions, and with whom Seitz frequently collaborates. Recently, Lee has posted several videos of himself discussing the video essay format; he was invited to talk about his projects by the the Kino Arsenal in Berlin as part of their programme: Kunst der Vermittlung: Aus den Archiven Filmvermittlung Films,” or “The Art of Mediation: Films About Films.” The programme, which began in October and concludes in July, is part of a project to catalogue all existing films about other films, on all formats: DVD extras, films, video essays, etc. As Lee reports, 'organized by Stefan Pethke, Michael Baute, Volker Pantenburg, Stefanie Schlüter and Erik Stein, the project has already catalogued an impressive number of films about films, including just about every video essay that I’ve produced to date.'

Anyway, for today, back to Seitz: the online film community knows of him mostly as the founding editor and leading contributor to the blog The House Next Door. There's a great interview with him about his blogging HERE. According to the New York Film Critics' Circle website, however, Seitz has has been film critic for NYPress and a TV critic and columnist for The Newark Star-Ledger and Newhouse Newspapers since 1995. His articles on film, TV and popular culture have appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, IFC Rant, Scenario Magazine, Details, Sound and Vision, Forbes FYI and Dallas Observer, where he was a film critic and feature writer from 1991-1995. In 1994, while working at the Observer, Seitz was named one of two finalists for the Pulitzer prize in criticism. He also wrote and directed the feature film Home (2005 - also see HERE).

Below is a list of links to freely available online video essays made by Seitz and to collaborations between him and Lee, as well as some tip-offs about upcoming video essay projects of his to look out for in the near future. And HERE is a link to a really interesting and useful essay that Seitz produced about his video essay work for the great 'Films About Films' project mentioned above.

At Kevin B. Lee's Shooting Down Pictures:

At Film in Focus: Media Room:

At the The L Magazine:
Note: In less than two weeks, Seitz will post his next L Magazine video essay on Steve McQueen.

At Moving Image Source:

(Note: Rumour has it that the next Seitz five-parter at Moving Image Source will be on the films of Michael Mann).

At Moving Image Source by Kevin B Lee with Matt Zoller Seitz:

Note: See Lee's discussion of these videos HERE.

On YouTube, as Insomniacdad:
Below is a video Seitz made with Kevin B Lee for Film in Focus: 'Rewatch: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind', May 7 2009

Sunday, 10 May 2009

So you want to study television? Free sample introductions to TV and 'Small Screen' studies

As a follow up to yesterday's post on online introductions to film studies (and to a positive flurry of email responses to it), Film Studies For Free (a veritable addict of screens of all sizes) brings you a list of links to exemplary, freely-available, online essays, sample book chapters, and other resources, all of which give a very rich sense indeed of what it is like to study different kinds of television and related media at university or college. The list begins with the most accessible resources.

If there any other relevant websites or sample introductory book chapters out there that FSFF has inadvertently omitted from this list, please feel free to email with information. (last updated May 12 2009)

Saturday, 9 May 2009

So you want to study cinema? Free sample introductions to Film Studies

Today, for those of you who may be thinking of taking the educational plunge into Film Studies (as well as for those seeking to guide potential film students), Film Studies For Free brings a list of links to high-quality, freely-available online essays, sample book chapters, and other resources, all of which all give a very rich sense of what it is like to study this highly rewarding subject.

If there any other relevant websites or sample introductory book chapters out there that FSFF has inadvertently omitted from this list, please feel free to email with information.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Star Trek Studies Online

Film Studies For Free (its mission: to explore strange new academic worlds, to seek out Open Access film and media studies scholarship) brings you its Enterprising link list of freely-accessible, online Star Trek studies. Live long and prosper ('strike up the theme tune, Scotty...'). Last updated May 26, 2009

And watch great quality, full-length, original series' Star Trek episodes at the CBS website for free HERE.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Some May Must-Reads

Film Studies For Free is back from its travels with some brief but essential recommendations for reading. Consider yourselves compassionately instructed to enjoy the following gems from the brilliant film-blogosphere:

P.S. Let's actually finish with a Call For Papers for an annual conference hosted by an Open Access film and visual studies periodical much loved by FSFF: World Picture Journal.

The 2009 World Picture Conference

October 23-24, 2009
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, Oklahoma


Keynote Speakers

Edward Branigan
(University of California, Santa Barbara)


Alexander García Düttman
(Goldsmiths College)

We believe the question of style is in need of new thinking, across media, disciplines and modes of thought. We hope, therefore, to receive abstracts that reflect or extend out of any number of approaches to the question of style (theoretical, philosophical, historical, formal, generic, etc.). Our conference (like our journal) is inflected by a strong interest in the intersection of political and aesthetic questions concerning cinema, visual art, and visual theory, but we encourage the submission of abstracts that do not necessarily occupy themselves with the cinema and/or the visual.

Proposals (250 words), including a brief bio, should be sent to Brian Price at by June 1