Tuesday, 27 July 2010

On Japanese Cinema

Last updated: August 3, 2010

Film Studies For Free wanted to make sure its readers didn't miss the video embedded above. It's another great offering from Fora.tv, this time a very entertaining and informative interview with Donald Richie about his internationally celebrated work on Japanese cinema and culture. FSFF heard of this via David Hudson and the Japan Society Film Blog.

In addition, FSFF has assembled some links below to openly accessible and very high quality scholarship on Japanese cinema (including numerous full-length studies), with work by Donald Richie, and many other excellent items which are indebted to his studies of Japanese cinema.

This was quite a broad category to research online, so FSFF will inevitably have missed some good resources: suggestions for any high quality additions are, therefore, even more welcome than usual! (Update: See comments  below for some of these, including the tip to link to Eigagogo's bookmarks at Delicious which lists some further great resources).

        Monday, 26 July 2010

        Mapping the Lost Highway: New Perspectives on David Lynch (TATE Modern Event)

        Image from Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)

        Film Studies For Free has taken the trouble to gather together in one (hopefully) very easily navigable setting the twelve videos (embedded below) that recorded for posterity a really excellent symposium that took place last year on October 30 2009 at London's Tate Modern. The symposium provided a space in which artists and film theorists insightfully discussed the work of filmmaker David Lynch in a range of theoretical and artistic contexts, including psychoanalysis, philosophy, prosthetics and photography.
        One of cinema’s most compelling and innovative directors, David Lynch remains a major influence on contemporary art, film and culture. In this landmark event, Tate Modern [brought] together leading artists, academics and writers from around the world to offer a series of new perspectives on Lynch’s films.
        [...] Speakers [included] the visual artists Gregory Crewdson, Daria Martin, and Jane and Louise Wilson, and there [were also] contributions from the writers and academics Parveen Adams, Sarah Churchwell, Simon Critchley, Roger Luckhurst, Tom McCarthy, and Jamieson Webster. A specially commissioned video interview with Lynch himself [was] screened, and an accompanying film programme [took] place at Tate Modern and the Birkbeck Cinema. 
        If you have difficulty playing the videos below, try visiting the Tate Website's gathering of them.

        PART 1: Marko Daniel: Welcome; Richard Martin: Introduction

        PART 2: The Body: Roger Luckhurst

        PART 3: The Body: Tom McCarthy

        PART 4: The Body: Q+A (chaired by Marko Daniel)

        PART 5: The Eye 1: Gregory Crewdson

        PART 6: The Eye 1: Q+A (chaired by Sarah Churchwell)

        PART 7: The Eye 2: Daria Martin

        PART 8: The Eye 2: Louise Wilson

        PART 9: The Eye 2: Q+A (chaired by Stuart Comer)

        PART 10: The Mind: Parveen Adams

        PART 11: The Mind: Q+A (chaired by Richard Martin)

        PART 12: The Ear: Chris Rodley responds to the day's presentations in conversation with Sarah Churchwell. Followed by a Q+A with the symposium's speakers and the public

        Friday, 23 July 2010

        On "England" and "Englishness" in British Cinema and Television

        Updated July 27, 2010
        Image from Went the Day Well? (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1942)

        Film Studies For Free was recently very inspired by Nick James's wonderful overview of the career of Brazilian Alberto Cavalcanti for next month's Sight and Sound magazine. As a huge fan of Cavalcanti's work, and in particular of his (and Ealing's) Went the Day Well? (indeed, FSFF's author lives in a English village uncannily like that portrayed in this film), it immediately set about researching a list of links to online scholarly works on the Brazilian filmmaker, only to discover very few openly accessible ones in English (do check out, though, Kristin Thompson and David Cairn's essays on Went the Day Well?, and the latter's other postings on Cavalcanti here, here, here, here, and here).

        FSFF's author's rage at this overall lack of anglophone material (see the photographic evidence above) was eventually sublimated in a different curatorial project, one still connected to themes at the heart of Cavalcanti's work, and also to some related topics explored in further August 2010 Sight and Sound articles (ones sadly not [yet] online: William Fowler's 'Absent authors: Folk in artist film', and Rob Young's 'The pattern under the plough').

        Anyhow, below you will find the fruit of this inspiration and frustration: a list of links to thoughtful and thought-provoking international scholarship on expressions of "England" and (multifarious) "Englishness" in (mostly) British cinema and television.

            Thursday, 22 July 2010

            Scope on Moving Image Archives

            Image from Picturegoer Magazine, archived at the Bill Douglas collection, University of Exeter, as discussed by Lisa Stead in
            her article Audiences from the Film Archive: Women's Writing and Silent Cinema.
            (Used in accordance with the Original License)
            Across the [Using Moving Image Archives] collection, then, scholars ask: how is the archive, as a repository of memory and of the past, used to construct cultural history? What can archives tell us about the formation of particular categories of identity? How can the ephemeral, like the digital, be archived? These are pressing, important questions, and we hope the varied answers here will lead to further reflection and debate upon the place of archival research in the interdisciplinary study of moving images.  From 'Introduction', by Nandana Bose and Lee Grieveson

            Film Studies For Free is still catching up with the busy, Summer, electronic educational traffic. Below are links to all the brilliant items in one of the most significant volumes to be published online in its recent absence on holiday: Scope's latest issue on Using Moving Image Archives, edited by Nandana Bose and Lee Grieveson.

            FULL ISSUE AS e-BOOK

            Notes on Contributors

            Acknowledgements and Introduction by Nandana Bose and Lee Grieveson

            Part I: The Archive and the Nation

            Part II: The Ephemerality and Textuality of the Archive

            Part III: The Televisual and Digital Archive

            Wednesday, 21 July 2010

            Christopher Nolan Studies

            An image from Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010)

            Film Studies For Free knows only too well that there's a time and a place for everything. Given that Christopher Nolan's Inception has just premiered to mostly great online acclaim, it is probably the right time and place for a bumper FSFF "Christopher Nolan Studies" entry (despite the fact that FSFF's author won't actually see his new film till the weekend... No spoilers, people!).

            Much more than all you need to know about the online discussion of Nolan's latest film is linked to with customary wit and brevity by David Hudson. The below links, then, restrict themselves to online, openly accessible, and (pure-dead-brilliant) scholarly takes on Nolan's film work, and related matters, to date.

              Tuesday, 20 July 2010

              Study of a Single Film: On Robert Enrico's La rivière du hibou/An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (1962)

              La rivière du hibou/An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Pt 1 (Robert Enrico, 1962)
              La rivière du hibou/An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Pt 2 (Robert Enrico, 1962)
              La rivière du hibou/An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge Pt 3 (Robert Enrico, 1962)

              Film Studies For Free presents one of its regular features today - a little study of a (favourite) single film: La rivière du hibou, an adaptation of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", a short story by Ambrose Bierce. This short film version of Bierce's tale was directed by Robert Enrico, produced by Marcel Ichac with Paul de Roubaix, and was released in 1963. It won the award for best short subject at the 1962 Cannes film festival and 1963 Academy Awards.

              In 1964 La rivière du hibou aired on U.S. television as an episode of the anthology series The Twilight Zone (hence the framing, and opening and closing narrations in the slightly shortened version -- widely available online -- embedded above).

              Partly because of its brilliance and partly because its adaptation of Bierce's classic story was so widely seen, Enrico's film has been cited as an important influence on many other cinematic experiments with subjective storytelling and "twist endings",  including recent ones by U.S. based directors such as Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, and David Lynch.

              FSFF loves the sheer cinematographic inventiveness of this film and sincerely believes that all students of audiovisual storytelling could learn a lot from studying precisely how it works. To assist with this task (always best achieved by closely watching the film and analysing its techniques first), it has concocted a small but reasonably well-formed list of links to online and openly accessible studies of La rivière du hibou and related moving image texts.

              Sunday, 18 July 2010

              Jump Cut's Best Issue Ever?

               A re-enactment of a scene at Abu Ghraib in
              Standard Operating Procedure (Errol Morris, 2008)

              Back from its annual holidays, and (rather languidly) catching up with what it has missed, Film Studies For Free couldn't believe its luck to discover that the always excellent film and television studies e-journal Jump Cut had published one of its best (and biggest) issues ever.  Just take a look at the following tasty section headings and then scroll down further for direct links to each and every article. 

              Experimental documentary; Reframing Standard Operating Procedure—Errol Morris and the creative treatment of Abu Ghraib; Corporate Hollywood today; U.S. film; International film and television (East Asian film and television; South Asian film; Latin American film; Central Asian television; European film and television; Middle Eastern film); Sex and its Anxieties; Torture and horror film; Experimental and art worlds; and The last word on Fretting about film criticism
              By the way, if you are a Facebook user and would like to receive FSFF's frequent, short, recommendations of openly accessible film studies resources of note, but don't want to join its merry legion of Twitter followers, then why not visit and like Film Studies For Free's handy Facebook page where lots of great and good film and moving image studies folk hang out?

              Experimental documentary
              Conference report: Reframing Standard Operating Procedure—Errol Morris and the creative treatment of Abu Ghraib [Society for Cinema and Media Studies panel. Saturday, March 20, 2010. 2:00-3:45 pm. Chaired by Linda Williams (University of California, Berkeley). Papers by Bill Nichols (San Francisco State University), Jonathan Kahana (New York University), and Williams with a response by Irina Leimbacher (University of California, Berkeley)]
              Corporate Hollywood today
              U.S. film
              International film and television
              East Asian film and television
              South Asian film
              • Rage against the state: historicizing the “angry young man” in Tamil cinema by Kumuthan Maderya (Tamil cinema’s “Angry Young Man” genre enjoyed a popular run in the 1980s, depicting the violent struggle of anti-heroes against failed bureaucracies, corrupt politicians, crooked cops, and a feeble justice system) 
              • Indian cinema and Partition by Jyotika Virdi (Love and loss in India's historical trauma, the Partition - Review of Bhaskar Sarkar's Mourning the Nation: Indian Cinema in the Wake of Partition. (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2009))
              Latin American film
              Central Asian television
              European film and television
              Middle Eastern film
              Sex and its anxieties
              Torture and horror film
              Experimental and art worlds
              The last word