Tuesday 7 June 2022

In the Nick of Time: On Cli-Fi and Ecocinema Film and Moving Image Studies

Well, it's been a while... Something or other must have happened in the meantime... ūü§Ē

Film Studies For Free is nonetheless very happy to be back, still fighting the good fight for high-quality, openly-accessible, film and moving image studies resources. 

With no further ado, FSFF is thrilled to bring its readers and audio-viewers a brilliant new video essay (embedded above) entitled “Climate Fictions, Dystopias, and Human Futures” by Julia Leyda and Kathleen Loock. Thanks so much to them for sharing with us their wonderful study of the evolution of climate fiction cinema, with its powerful videographic plea for greater diversity and complexity in the Cli-Fi audiovisual imaginary.

Below the informative text about their video that they have supplied (scroll down), FSFF has curated a list of links to further great and openly accessible film and moving image studies research and resources on these essential topics, some of which are drawn from Susanne Leikam and Julia Leyda's marvellous 2017 critical bibliography 'Cli-Fi in American Studies: A Research Bibliography', published in American Studies Journal (DOI 10.18422/62-08).

Don’t Look Up (2021), a comedy about a comet on a collision course with Earth, is one of Netflix’s most-watched English-language films of all time. It sparked discussions around climate change and created a climate action platform that outlines what individuals can do against climate change. Netflix has also launched its Sustainability Collection in April 2022, with more than 170 films and series aimed at raising environmental awareness. “Entertain to Sustain” is the slogan behind the production and curation of this content and it goes hand in hand with Netflix’s Net Zero + Nature plan. But the question of what can be done, and what a movie or television series can achieve, has also led to criticism of Netflix’s greenwashing, emphasizing individual action and piecemeal corporate PR-heavy policies over politics. In our video essay “Climate Fictions, Dystopias, and Human Futures,” we take Don’t Look Up as a starting point to look back at the evolution of the concept of “cli-fi” (climate fiction) over more than a decade, reflect on shifting storytelling strategies of cli-fi films past, present, and future, and probe their possible impact -- from precursors such as Planet of the Apes (1968) and Soylent Green (1973) to the “classic” The Day after Tomorrow (2004) to recent variations on the cli-fi formula that break out of the white patriarchal mode like Fast Color (2018) and that incorporate lighter affects like Downsizing (2017). If cli-fi has a role to play in helping contemporary audiences imagine possible futures, part of its task will be to employ more diverse stories, characters, and settings. [JL and KL]

The below list will be updated when further good links surface, or come to mind. So, do please let FSFF know if you have any resources to add! Thank you!


Tom Cohen, ed. Telemorphosis: Theory in the Era of Climate Change. Vol. 1. Ann Arbor, MI: Open Humanities Press, 2012

Sara L. Crosby, Andrew Hageman, Shannon Davies Mancus, Daniel Platt, and Alison Sperling,  Annihilation: A Roundtable Review. Gothic Nature. 1, 2019 PDF

Sean Cubitt, 'Ecocritique as Transnational Commons'. Transnational Screens, 10(1), pp. 1-11, 2019. PDF

Tuesday 31 December 2019

Afore Ye Go, 2019: Essential Tributes (Elsaesser, Wollen, Lindner) Plus Favourite-of-the-Year Open Access Resources

A comparative videographic study by Catherine Grant showcasing the repetitions and variations across two sets of corresponding sequences from the three direct film adaptations of Christa Winsloe's M√ĄDCHEN IN UNIFORM (aka RITTER N√ČRESTAN and GESTERN UND HEUTE, 1930-32). Video first published at MEDI√ĀTICO in December 2019, alongside a great text on the Mexican adaptation by Roberto Carlos Ortiz.

Better late than never, so they say. But it is especially late for this to be the very first, as well as the very last, blog entry of 2019 at Film Studies For Free...

What else can this blog's author say, but sorry not sorry for being distracted by an incredibly busy year spent in hot pursuit of other excellent open-access screen studies initiatives - all listed immediately beneath this introduction.

It has also been a year of tremendous loss for many, especially, it seems, in the realm of film and moving image studies. So this end of year/end of decade FSFF post has a somewhat sombre tone and distinctly commemorative content. It offers warm tributes in links to the work and lives of the two foundational film scholars-filmmakers who sadly died late in 2019: Thomas Elsaesser and Peter Wollen. We owe them so much. It also offers a further deeply-heart-felt tribute to a brilliant young film scholar who, in February of this year, died way too soon: Katharina "Kat" Lindner.

FSFF's author had the great fortune, honour and pleasure of meeting all three of these wonderful contributors to our discipline. She sends much love and sincere condolences to their partners, families and close friends. As further online tributes to these scholars appear, the entries below will be updated.

Other huge film studies losses, in this cruel year, have included Edward Branigan and Eileen Bowser.

Below FSFF's tributes, this end of year entry continues with this blog's customary lists of links to some of its favourite open-access film and moving image studies resources from 2019.

Film Studies For Free wishes all of its readers and viewers a happy and healthy 2020! It hopes to see a lot more of you in the next decade!

Film Studies For Free's Author's OA Activities in 2019


In Memoriam Thomas Elsaesser

Personal tribute by Catherine Grant 
I still can’t believe Thomas Elsaesser has died. A foundational and inspirational figure in our field - and for me personally, especially given his utter dedication to open access publishing, both by his own example, sharing so many of his publications at his website, as well as as a hugely important figure at Amsterdam University Press.
I met Thomas in 2001 at the Forever Godard conference and remained in touch. In the last years, especially, I got to spend time with him in person quite a lot as our paths crossed on many conference trips and he visited the institutions I have worked in numerous times, including to screen his lovely film The Sun Island. From his work on melodrama, authorship (his Fassbinder book, linked to below was a huge influence on my work), media history and archaeology, through to, latterly, research by film and video practice, he was always leading the way. He was hugely supportive of Film Studies For Free over the years, and of the scholarly endeavour of videographic  approaches to our discipline, in which he was also a pioneer (see below).

Where will we go now, Thomas?

Online Tributes and Festschrifts

Open Access Books


Thomas Elsaesser - Including a list of Publications (many downloadable as PDFs)

Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses

Online Interviews (more to be added)

Essay Film Festival 2018: Thomas Elsaesser in Discussion with Erica Carter
about his 2018 film The Sun Island

Videos and Video Essays

Thomas Elsaesser's Vimeo Account

BERGMAN SENSES (Thomas Elsaesser, Anne Bachmann and Jonas Moberg)

Film Studies For Free Tribute videos

Installations and Compilations: Elsaesser Senses - Commentary version


In Memoriam Peter Wollen

Personal tribute by Catherine Grant

I only met Peter Wollen once in real life - also at the 2001 Forever Godard where I met Thomas Elsaesser and other foundational film scholars. But I encountered him in my head many many times, and will continue to do so. His work - particularly his  brilliant filmmaking explorations with Laura Mulvey, and the second edition of his book Signs and Meaning in the Cinema, with its groundbreaking arguments about film authorship and 'patterns of energy cathexis' - were of huge importance to my own writing, teaching, and also filmmaking. His 2001 account of cinephilia in "An Alphabet of Cinema" (NEW LEFT REVIEW, 12) is even more of an influence on what I and others are doing now in our video essays and works of creative criticism. I am very much looking forward to the cinematic re-release of Friendship's Death, his 1987 solo-directed essay film, in 2020, and feel sure that Wollen's work, with its timely prescience, will endure in many ways that we cannot yet predict.

Online Tributes

S.T.R.O.B.E. by Peter Wollen

Work about Wollen's Research and Filmmaking

Nicolas Helm-Grovas, Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen: Theory and Practice, Aesthetics and Politics, 1963-1983, PhD thesis, Royal Holloway, University of London, 2018

European Cinema : Face to Face with Hollywood, by Thomas Elsaesser (Amsterdam University Press, 2005) - this collection includes Elsaesser's essay on Peter Wollen's first solo-directed film Friendship's Death (1987), and numerous other references to his work.

Lux Online Entry on 'Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen'

Wollen epigraph by Christian Keathley

Film Studies For Free Tribute video


In Memoriam Katharina Lindner

Personal tribute by Catherine Grant
Kat Lindner is missed so acutely by so many in her twin worlds of football and film studies. I met her only once in person, a few years ago, though we corresponded about our work over the years. She came to an event in Glasgow at which I was talking, as usual, about video essays. She was a razor sharp, deeply original thinker, with a truly glowing presence. Afterwards we talked for a long time - me trying to convince her, and almost succeeding, I think, that her fabulous work on queer cinematic phenomenology would translate brilliantly to this audiovisual format if only she would take it up. It was an exhilarating conversation and I wish it hadn't had to end. Even before that memorable encounter, I loved her work (especially her path-breaking 2017 book Film Bodies: Queer Feminist Encounters with Gender and Sexuality in Cinema), and used it in my own research directly and indirectly. One day I would like to make a video essay about her writing - but I haven't been able to yet.

Online Tributes

'Towards a Queer Feminist Vernacular: Dr Katharina Lindner’s Film Bodies'

'Katharina Lindner, 1979-2019: Tributes paid to footballer turned queer theorist', by Matthew Reitz, THE, 28 February 2019
'Obituary: Kat Lindner, academic and footballer for Glasgow City', The Herald, 14 February 2019

'Screening Expectation' in Screen Bodies, by Brian Bergen-Aurand
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3167/screen.2018.030201 [PDF]

Online Film Studies Writing by Lindner

'Questions of embodied difference: Film and queer phenomenology',
NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, Autumn 2012

‘Situated bodies, cinematic orientations: Film and (queer) phenomenology’, in Saer Ba and William Higbee (eds), De-Westernizing Film. London: Routledge, 2012, [pre-print]

'Spectacular (Dis-) Embodiments: The Female Dancer on Film', Scope, 20, June 2011 PDF

 ‘‘There is a reason why Sporty Spice is the only one of them without a fella...’: The ‘lesbian’ potential of Bend it Like Beckham’. New Review of Film and Television Studies, Vol. 9, No.2, 2011, pp. 204-223 [pre-print]

‘Bodies ‘in action’: Female athleticism on the cinema screen’. Feminist Media Studies, Vol.11, No.3, 2011, pp. 321-345 [pre-print]

‘Fighting for subjectivity: Articulations of physicality in Girlfight’. In Journal of International Women’s Studies, 2009, Vol.10, No.3, pp.4-17. [pre-print]

(Other online publications and pre-prints on media studies topics by Lindner are accessible here)

Writing about Lindner's Research

Davina Quinlivan, 'Film Bodies: Queer Feminist Encounters with Gender and Sexuality in Cinema, by Katharina Lindner' Times Higher Educational Supplement, January 18, 2018

Jules O'Dwyer, Katharina Lindner (2017) Film Bodies: Queer Feminist Encounters with Gender and Sexuality in Cinema, Film-Philosophy, 22.3

Kat's Inspirational Hartford Hawks Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech, Class of '03

Video link


FSFF's Favourite Online Film and Moving Image Studies 2019

Favourite Contributions to Online Film Scholarly Culture by a Single Scholar

Jennifer Proctor for 'Am I Pretty? and a “Sonic Gaze”', [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film and Moving Image Studies, 2019,  plus her article 'Teaching avant-garde practice as videographic research', in Screen, 60.3, Autumn 2019; and especially for her inspirational continuing work on the inclusive teaching initiative, EDIT Media (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Teaching Media), http://www.editmedia.org

Favourite Open Access Journal Article

'“Our Bravest and Most Beautiful Soldier”: Pola Negri, Wartime and the Gendering of Anxiety in Hotel Imperial', by Elisabetta Girelli, in Film-Philosophy's special issue on Stardom and Film-Philosophy (23.2, 2019), edited by Lucy Bolton

Favourite New Open Access Journal Issue

Issue 16, Winter 2019, edited by Ana Maria Sapountzi & Peize Li  

Favourite New Open Access Journal

Media+Environment, edited by Alenda Chang, Adrian Ivakhiv and Janet Walker

Most Missed Online Journal That Stopped Publishing in 2019

(Read about its demise here. But, thanks to the generosity of filmmaker Barry Jenkins, you can purchase a compendium of the best writing in its six year run).

Favourite Film Studies Blog (as Ever)

Observations on Film Art by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson

Favourite New Film and Moving Image Studies Related Podcast

Will DiGravio's The Video Essay Podcast

Favourite Online Videographic Approach to Screen Studies

Poor Jesse by Jason Mittell,
Part of "The Chemistry of Character in BREAKING BAD: An Audiovisual Book"

Favourite Collection of Online Video Essays (Not Published by FSFF)

In an excellent new issue of NECSUS European Journal of Media Studies, Autumn 2019, devoted to treatments of gesture, came this collection of three excellent video essays in a section edited by Tracy Cox-Stanton: (scroll down)‬


14 of Film Studies For Free Video Essays Published in 2019

Monday 24 December 2018

Ten Festive Treats from Film Studies For Free!

Sawing Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in half.
A queer experiment in cinephilic re-spatialisation

Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays from Film Studies For Free! Let's celebrate with a new video essay (above) and nine sets of treats (below) representing some of FSFF's favourite online film and moving image studies items from 2018.

2. MEDI√ĀTICO - Special Dossier on Alfonso Cuar√≥n's Roma (2018) by nine world-leading scholars on Latin American Cinema

4. NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies. Autumn 2018 Issue on Mapping
Special section: #Mappingedited by Giorgio Avezz√Ļ, Teresa Castro, and Giuseppe Fidotta
  • The exact shape of the world: Mapping and the media by Giorgio Avezz√Ļ, Teresa Castro, and Giuseppe Fidotta
Festival reviews:edited by Marijke de Valck and Skadi Loist
Exhibition reviews:edited by Miriam de Rosa and Leo Goldsmith
Book reviews:edited by Lavinia Brydon and Victoria Pastor-Gonz√°lez
Audiovisual essays:edited by Miklós Kiss

5. Erika Balsom's brilliant essay on Jean-Lun Godard's latest film Le livre d'image The Image Book

6. Latest round up of profiles at the amazing Women's Film Pioneers Project

7. The fabulous research project and resource Timeline of Historical Film Colors is now on Instagram as @timeline_filmcolors!

9.  Allison Wilmore's 'Orientalism is Alive and Well in American Cinema' (link via Girish Shambu)

Friday 24 August 2018

Celebrating Ten Years of FILM STUDIES FOR FREE, with Two New Aretha-on-Film Tributes and Tens of Other Awesome Links!

A video tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin (1942-2018), and the constantly surprising cinematic performance of her 1968 song 'Think' in The Blues Brothers (US 1980). The video takes the form of an audiovisual infographic on John Landis's dynamic filming of the song scene,
starring Franklin as the irrepressible Mrs. Murphy.

(P.S. If you think I'm mapping any of the shots incorrectly, just let me know.
This is a great exercise to do with students, but it can be tricker than it looks...)

Film Studies For Free is ten years old today! Yes! It was exactly one whole decade ago that it went public online for the first time, just a few weeks before the 2008 financial crash really took off... What a truly excellent time to have become the international purveyor of links to high-quality FREE stuff for film and screen media studies!

The re-distributive, Open Access-championing, project that FSFF embraced had been conceived (of) a mere couple of weeks before, early one morning, in one of those rather dramatic lightbulb moments: "Wouldn't it be excellent if there could be a blog that directed film scholars to good, openly accessible resources for them online?" And thus it came to pass.

What a blast it has been.

Brought to you from a somewhat remote log cabin in a tiny internationalist enclave of pre-Brexit Britain (pictured for the first time online, below), its mission was equally inspired by the extremely lively and considerably less corporate atmosphere, at the time, of the cinephile Web 2.0, post-the establishment of YouTube in 2005 - a fascinating period now both scrutinised and immortalised by fellow participant-observer in that era and since (and blogger and cinephile extraordinaire) Girish Shambu in his wonderful 2016 book The New Cinephilia.

The spiritual home of FSFF
With no pomp or circumstance and—in the manner of an uncertain TV pilot episode—with very little sense of the form it would go on to take, on August 24, 2008, FSFF posted an inaugural entry on three 'very worthwhile items on the Director's Cut' (about which its scholar-author had recently been writing for a subsequently published book chapter).

The blog very soon found its processual feet in the form of producing mostly long, handily bullet-pointed lists of curated links to (mostly English-language) 'online, Open Access, film and audiovisual media studies resources of note.'

Oh, and FSFF embraced a hilarious third-person sense of humour and directed it at a virtual second-person audience... What writing larks it has had! Dear Reader, it has been a total pleasure.

What FSFF used to look like in its first years (image courtesy of the WAYBACK MACHINE)
Please permit FSFF the indulgence of one final reflection on this anniversary. The experience of fun, energy and experimentalism in producing FSFF over the last decade has had some unimaginable and unintended consequences - unimaginable and unintended ten years ago, anyhow. They have been wonderful, too.

For one, little had this blog's author thought that carrying out the research for this website would entail a shift away from her own, rather conventional, film and media scholar-modus operandi to a world of experimental, film and social media publishing proper (with the [in]Transition and REFRAME platforms, among others) as well as to that of audiovisual production. But FSFF's runaway enthusiasm for the emergent digital forms of film studies it was discovering online and linking to, such as the video essay, brought about just such a dramatic change in its author's conception of what academic work in the Humanities might be (and ought to be), these days, which is one reason why despite everything (including the ongoing downfall of Western democracies) FSFF still  the interwebs....

If you want to read more about FSFF's thoughts on the above turns, there's a 2012 article by its author, a research dissertation about this blog based on interviews with her, a very recent and excellent interview reflecting on all the above, carried out by the fabulous film scholar S√©rgio Dias Branco for the online journal Aniki, and tons more thoughts in publications listed here.

This brings us back to OA business as usual: today's anniversary entry consists of the usual lists of links, below - this time to commemoratively-focused ones connected, of course, to FSFF's first decade of existence. But, FSFF also offers you, as is its wont, one video above and one below: two modest (film studies-oriented) tributes to the cinematic magic (in The Blues Bothers and Moonlight) of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, who sadly passed away on August 16, 2018.

Keep coming back, Readers (well over 5 million of you, and still counting..). Thank you!

And thank you very much, Open Access authors and publishers! Without you, FSFF really wouldn't exist... Would it?

Please follow @filmstudiesff on Twitter and the Film Studies For Free page on Facebook, where quality links are shared daily.

Finally, huge thanks to FSFF's author's partner and soulmate Joyce for supporting Film Studies For Free
(and everything else) in every single way possible for each of the last great ten years.

On a choice song in Moonlight (Barry Jenkins, USA 2016)



          For more see HERE

          For more see HERE





          For more see HERE


And don't forget Oapen Books - not a publisher but a library, where you can find vast quantities of film and screen studies research in book form.


I think I discovered [Film Studies For Free] around 2010-2011. And I'm pretty sure it was through Catherine's video essay 'True Likeness', that we republished at Transit. Cine y otros desv√≠os - (cinentransit.com). Lovely piece and long life to Film Studies For Free!!!
Cristina √Ālvarez L√≥pez, film critic and audiovisual essayist, Vilassar de Mar, Catalu√Īa. @laughmotel

[W]ith thanks for such invaluable work and hearty congratulations on the anniversary.
Jos√© Arroyo, University of Warwick, UK. Blogger and podcaster. @JoseArroyo16

I remember when I first discovered [Film Studies For Free]-- I think I just came across it via a film-related google search, but it was a revelation. It was as if someone had given me a gift... The site was relatively new, but already, one could get deliriously, delightfully lost in it for hours.
Tracy Cox-Stanton, Savannah College of Art and Design and editor of The Cine-Files:A Scholarly Journal of Cinema Studies

Here’s my memory [...]. [Film Studies For Free] was one of my first resources when I was getting into film, especially as I started university (a Filmmaking degree) and realized that I wasn’t going to have Film History as a subject. I was also really struggling with trying to be fluent in reading and writing in English. The complex language of some of the studies pushed me into studying more, finding new words, new thoughts and it also gave me the education that I was lacking at uni. I’ve always been thankful for the access provided and I’ll always have the memories of going through link after link, reading about films that I hadn’t seen yet, going back, watching more and more, and then reading. Can’t say it made me want to write those kind of studies (I wish I had that kind of mentality and verbosity). But it surely made me write more about film and eventually, down the line, jump in and start writing in this language. Thank you for everything, Catherine, and to the people who make these studies available.
Jaime Grijalba, film critic, Santiago de Chile @jaimegrijalba

One of the best things about having good scholar-friends is when they say to you, ‘Have you read x?’, ‘Do you know about y?’, because they know you will be interested.  With Film Studies For Free  [Catherine] Grant became everyone’s favorite scholar-friend, and the site became the platform for extraordinary generosity – which, it must be noted, is more than matched her intelligence and imagination.” 
Christian Keathley, Middlebury College, co-editor of [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film and Moving Image Studies, and editor of the Kino-Agora series at caboose books

[Film Studies For Free] honestly helped put [the Cinephiliacs] on the trajectory [it took], and I’m so excited for Catherine to celebrate this!!!
Peter Labuza, host of The Cinephiliacs podcast. @labuzamovies & @Cinephiliacs 

Felicitaciones por este excelente trabajo, una fuente de recursos incre√≠ble para conocer el universo del ensayo audiovisual, por muchos a√Īos m√°s!!
Patricio Sanz, Buenos Aires-based PhD student and 'Cantautor, VJ y pugilista aficionado'. @patoriuss

What an absolutely invaluable and generous resource [Film Studies For Free] has been for a decade. (A thousand thanks!) This morning I dug up my very first exchanges with [its author]--going back to the time when she founded FSFF--and (gulp) I found an email in which I urged her to join Facebook and friend me lol...which she kindly did. FSFF 4EVER! 

Girish Shambu, Canisius College, blogger and author of The New Cinephilia

The generosity of the endeavour of [Film Studies For Free] in terms of the amount of scholarship it archives in topical and trending lists - and the invaluable resource it offers to film educators/researchers are what I  most about it and what I love most about [its author].
Dolores Tierney, University of Sussex, and co-editor of Medi√°tico@Dolorestierney

[Film Studies For Free] is my go-to resource for all things cinema studies. It's the best place online to find out what's happening in the world of academic film criticism.
Joseph Tompkins, Allegheny College, editor of Film Criticism.