Wednesday 24 December 2008

Wong Kar-wai Links: To Faye Wong (and David Bordwell), Thanks For Everything

Faye Wong sings her fabulous Cantonese cover of 'Dreams' by the Cranberries in Wong Kar-wai's Chung Hing sam lam/Chungking Express

Film Studies For Free was so inspired by David Bordwell's great recent post (Ashes to Ashes (Redux)) on Kar Wai Wong/Wong Kar-wai's Ashes of Time Redux (2008) (also see Bordwell's Years of being obscure), and so (eternally) grateful to Faye Wong for lending her iconic classiness to FSFF's upper regions, that its festive gift to its readers this year is some extensive, scholarly, Wong Kar-wai linkage - see below. Oh and, as a little extra stocking-filler, do please check out the wonderful new issue of World Picture Journal on 'the obvious':

Derek Attridge and Henry Staten, Reading for the Obvious: A Conversation; Scott Durham, "The Center of the World Everywhere": Bamako and the Scene of the Political'; Rosalind Galt, The Obviousness of Cinema; Sandra Gibson + Luis Recoder Cinema/Film; Christian Keathley, Otto Preminger and the Surface of Cinema' David Farrell Krell, The School for Stupefaction; Scott Krzych, Kino Ex Nihilo; Ernesto Laclau in conversation with Brian Price and Meghan Sutherland, Not a Ground but a Horizon; Sam Lipsyte, A Pimple on the Ass of Drew Barrymore Speaks; Karen Pinkus, Nothing from Nothing: Alchemy and the Economic Crisis; Angelo Restivo, The Obvious: Three Reminiscences; Stephen G. Rhodes, Interregnum Reanimated: The Living Cemetery; Jeffrey Sconce, Circuit City Unplugged.

Warm seasons greetings to every one of FSFF's readers, many thanks for a fun first six months of blogging-life, and see you all again after a short break!

  • Acquarello on Wong Kar-wai at Strictly Film School
  • Matt Bautch, 'The Cultural Aesthetic of Wong Kar-wai', Latent Image 2003
  • Felicia Chan, 'In Search of a Comparative Poetics: Cultural Translatability in Transnational Chinese Cinemas', PhD E-thesis, Nottingham University 2007, (chapter 3 - p. 147-201 - treats Wong Kar-wai)
  • Ethel Chong, 'In the Mood for Love: Urban Alienation in Wong Kar Wai’s Films', Kinema Spring 2003
  • Jeremy Cohen, 'Lonely Hearts: Wong Kar-Wai's Obscure Objects of Desire', Eye Candy Winter 2006
  • Christopher Doyle & Wong Kar-wai interview for Interview Magazine on Ashes Redux
  • Wendy Gan, "0.01cm: Affectivity and Urban Space in Chungking Express." Scope: An Online Journal of Film Studies, November 2003
  • John Christopher Hamm, 'Review of Wong Kar-Wai's Ashes of Time by Wimal Dissanayake', MCLC Resource Publication, October 2005
  • Ian Johnston, 'Unhappy Together: Wong Kar-Wai's 2046', Bright Lights Film Journal, vol. 47, February 2005
  • Kent Jones, "Of love and the city." Film Comment, Jan/Feb 2001. Vol. 37, Issue 1; p. 22
  • Daniel Kälberer, 'Reference Literature on Wong Kar-wai', Film Bibliography 2006
  • Anthony Leong, 'Meditations on Loss: A Framework for the Films of Wong Kar Wai', Asian Cult Cinema 1999
  • Toh Hai Leong, 'Wong Kar-wai: Time, Memory, Identity', Kinema Spring 1995
  • Trish Maunder, 'Interview with Tony Leung', Senses of Cinema 2001
  • Andrew O’Hehir, 'Wong Kar-wai's blueberry-pie America', 2008
  • Robert M Payne, 'Ways of seeing wild: the cinema of Wong Kar-Wai', Jump Cut 44, 2001, text version HERE
  • Effie Rassos, 'Everyday Narratives: Reconsidering Filmic Temporality and Spectatorial Affect Through the Quotidian,' PhD E-thesis, University of New South Wales, 2005
  • Tony Rayns, 'The Innovators 1990-2000: Charisma Express', Sight and Sound January 2000
  • Quentin Tarantino on Chungking Express on YouTube
  • Stephen Teo, 'Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love: Like a Ritual in Transfigured Time', Senses of Cinema 2001
  • Stephen Teo, '2046: A Matter of Time, a Labour of Love', Senses of Cinema 2005
  • Stephen Teo, 'Local and Global identity: Whither Hong Kong Cinema?' Senses of Cinema 2007
  • Fiona A. Villella (symposium ed.), 'The Cinema of Wong Kar-wai - A 'Writing Game', Senses of Cinema 2001 (entries on Backside; Blue; Creation; Dali-esque Time' Desire; Emotion; Look; Love; Possibility; Repetition; Space; Third-World; Time; Wrongheaded)
  • Elizabeth Wright, 'Profile of director Wong Kar-wai', Senses of Cinema 2002


Thursday 18 December 2008

On film-thinking: Daniel Frampton's Filmosophy

L’Enfant / The Child (Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, 2005)

For what are hopefully self-evident reasons, Film Studies For Free chooses very rarely to focus on papercentric Gary Hall) Film Studies. But today (The Day That UK Academia Stands Still) it opts for the purposeful casting of its beady e-eye on the digital and freely accessible manifestations and repercussions of just one such item.

The book of which FSFF speaks is by an author - Daniel Frampton - who is the true pioneer of Open-Access Film Studies, initially through his founding (in November 1996) of the magnificent, online salon-journal Film-Philosophy. Thanks to his Filmosophy, Frampton has also come to be of those (nowadays) very rare authors who have succeeded in founding a significant school of thought.

Filmosophy (London: Wallflower Press, 2006) - Frampton's book - describes itself thus (hyperlinks added, as ever, by FSFF):

Filmosophy is a provocative new manifesto for a radically philosophical way of understanding cinema. The book coalesces twentieth-century ideas of film as thought (from Hugo Münsterberg to Gilles Deleuze) into a practical theory of ‘film-thinking’, arguing that film style conveys poetic ideas through a constant dramatic ‘intent’ about the characters, spaces and events of film. With discussions of contemporary filmmakers such as Béla Tarr, Michael Haneke and the Dardenne brothers, this timely intervention into the study of film and philosophy will stir argument and discussion among both filmgoers and filmmakers alike.

As for his book's central concept of the 'filmmind', Frampton writes:

Film seems to be thinking right in front of us. Consider the empathetical framings of The Child, the questioning movements of Magnolia, the egalitarian images of Time of the Wolf. The point is that both the daytime chatshow and the video news report also involve this choice, this belief about what they show (or do not show, as in the lack of images from Helmand). If we begin to understand how film "thinks" we will start to
understand how moving images affect our life and being.

If you would like to know more about Filmosophy, or, if you already know more, but would like to read about it online for free, below are some hot, hot, hot filmosophical links:

Daniel Frampton's online writing about Filmosophy:

Open Access Articles Referring to Filmosophy:

  • Daniel Yacavone, 'Towards a Theory of Film Worlds', Film-Philosophy, 12.2, 2008 ('Daniel Frampton has recently attempted to provide a less reductive account of film. worlds (as experienced by viewers) within his broader ‘filmosophy’. ...')
  • Sarah Cooper, 'Mortal Ethics: Reading Levinas with the Dardenne Brothers', Film-Philosophy, 11.2, 2007 ('Frampton equates with the consciousness of the ‘filmmind’')
  • Davina Quinlivan on Lars Von Trier, Film-Philosophy, 12. 1, 2008 ('Frampton’s envisioning of the ‘filmmind’ (Frampton, 2006, 147), a cinematic consciousness. whose form embodies the very ideology that it diegetically ...')

Open Access, English-language Reviews of Filmosophy:

  • Review for Film-Philosophy by Philipp Schmerheim (12.2, 2008) ('Frampton wants to establish a terminology which redirects scholarly attention to the experience rather than analysis of film ... [H]is attempt to reform writing about film, away from what he conceives of as ‘technicist’ rhetoric to a more poetic way of writing, ultimately does not live up to its promises')
  • Review of Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture by Sylvie Magerstädt (vol. 5 no. 3, September 2008).
  • Review for Scope by Ils Huygen ('Filmosophy is about this mutually productive encounter between cinema and ... In filmosophy "film style is now seen to be the dramatic intention of the film')
  • Review for Senses of Cinema by Tony McLibbin
  • Review for Frieze Magazine by Roland Kapferer ('Filmosophy is representative of this Postmodernist dethroning. The neologism ‘filmosophy’ is in itself highly revelatory. Philosophy – philo-sophia...')

Also see:

Other citations listed on

  • Asbjørn Grønstad, 'Downcast Eyes: Michael Haneke and the Cinema of Intrusion', Nordicom Review 29 (2008) 1, pp. 133-144 here
  • Ils Huygens, 'Deleuze and Cinema: Moving Images and Movements of Thought', Image & Narrative, Issue 18. Thinking Pictures, here
  • Mark Goodall's text about 'Crash Cinema' here
  • Mark Richardson, 'The Importance of Paracinema in the Cyberspace Era ', The Film Journal, here
  • Richard Camilleri on Korean cinema, To Taste: Aesthetics, Politics, Bodies (November 7 2007) here
  • Eric Henderson's text on Chris Marker for Slant Magazine here
  • Owen Hatherley's text on cinema here
  • Some Iranian texts here & here & here & here

Tuesday 16 December 2008

Film 'Conversations With History': Stanley Cavell, Oliver Stone, Robert Wise, and others

Stanley Cavell, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Harvard University, joins UC Berkeley's Harry Kreisler to talk about his life as a philosopher and his passion for movies as part of Kreisler's Conversations with History series.

Thanks a lot for your nice comments about Film Studies For Free's A-Z of Favourite Scholarly blogs post. If it had its fun time compiling the list all over again, the rather absent-minded FSFF would add the following two favourite items: f i l m j o u r n e y . o r g and Latest Articles on Moving Image Source (indeed they, and one or two others, will be added when the list joins the right-hand menus of this blog).

Today, Film Studies For Free is thrilled to bring you links to the great videos and transcripts of interviews with filmmakers and filmthinkers that form part of UC Berkeley's Conversations with History series. All the videos last roughly an hour, so these are rich resources indeed. The full film-related index is HERE.

See also Harry Kreisler's Conversations with History Blog for further updates about this series.

Friday 12 December 2008

A-Z of Favourite Scholarly Film and Moving Image Blogs

Film Studies For Free has recently been infected by two viruses: one nasty but better now, thanks (ach-oo); the other relatively benign, but still totally brain-scrambling in its own way.

The latter is the dratted 'alphabet meme' still doing the film-blogospheric round (issuing from the Blog Cabins site).

As this metablog doesn't write about films (oh no), the forced A-Z of its choice is 'Favourite Scholarly Film/Moving Image Blogs' mostly in the English language, or 'Favourite [anglophone] Film/Moving Image Blogs with a Sizeable Scholarly Component or Impact'.

And, yes (note to FSFF's more litigious readers), all of the usual rules of this exercise are broken below (and more); but this piece of favouriting frenzy is a service to the community: FSFF's formal film blogroll currently has just under 200 entries, so the below choices will form the basis of a new 'Highly Recommended Scholarly Blogs List' to sit near the top of FSFF's right-hand menu.

Comments on this list are most welcome. And do please let FSFF know if it's missing any really important blogs from its various lists. Thank you.

Thursday 11 December 2008

Lick the Star: Sofia Coppola Links

For those (vast hordes) of you interested in the work of filmmaker Sofia Coppola, a tip (via GreenCine Daily) that you should visit the Cinetrix's regularly wonderful and terribly withering (to academic film theory, at least) website Pullquote where she's posted a video version of Coppola's 1996 debut short Lick the Star - see her post Boys in the attic HERE. Thanks Cinetrix!
Here's a little FSFF Sofia Coppola linkage:

Tuesday 9 December 2008

Round up: Online Scholarship, Virtual Training Suites, and Fascinating Miscellany

Honourable mentions in despatches (from Film Studies For Free's return to [indefatigable] active duty) for the following:

The Day The Clangers' Moon Stood Still: RIP Oliver Postgate 1925-2008

Clangers : The Intruder (season 1, Episode 5)

Back from its wee break, Film Studies For Free was saddened to hear of the passing of one of the DIY geniuses responsible for its author's early fascination with the world of filmmaking: Oliver Postgate, co-creator (with Peter Firmin) of numerous magical Small Films shown on television (Bagpuss, Clangers, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog, Pogles, Pingwings), died peacefully in Broadstairs on the Kent coast on 8 December 2008.

Here are some Postgate weblinks:

Monday 24 November 2008

Online Film Audio-Commentaries and Video Essays Of Note

In Film Studies For Free's humble opinion, one of the most exciting online areas for potential Film Studies' development is rapidly emerging from the already hugely popular Web 2.0 practice of video-sharing. It has never been easier to publically display work in which moving (and still) image-tracks, created by others, can be 'overlaid' with one's own recorded words/sounds/text, to create web 'video-essays' or online 'audio-commentaries'.

The practical/technical side of this activity should provide few challenges for the YouTube generation: the main issue to consider in relation to the educational uses of such 'user-generated' resources is, as ever, that of the quality of content. But there are plenty of noteworthy models around, from which Film Studies teachers and students can gain insight and inspiration, such as Susana Medina's excellent video essay on fetishism in the work of Luis Buñuel, embedded above (and also available on MySpace and at the Internet Archive).

To celebrate these developments, and to support them in a small way, Film Studies For Free has created a new (right-hand margin) list of links to freely accessible online audio commentaries, video essays, and 'alternative' DVD commentaries. The list currently links to the following websites: Shooting Down Pictures; Susana Medina, 'Buñuel’s Philosophical Toys'; Listology List of Best Fan Commentaries (until 2005); Sean Weitner and Andy Ross on Mulholland Drive; on Suspiria and Profondo Rosso; and Renegade Commentaries. Suggestions of other websites or items of this kind are, as ever, warmly welcomed.

By far the richest website resource in this area, to date, is the one at the head of FSFF's current list: Kevin B. Lee's fabulous Shooting Down Pictures. As GreenCine Daily rightfully testified back in July 2008 (when Film Studies For Free was barely a twinkle in this neophyte blogger's eye): 'For some time now, Kevin B Lee's video essays have been among the most exciting developments in film blogging, suggesting not an alternative but supplemental form of film criticism accessible to anyone online.'

Lee is a filmmaker and multimedia producer based in New York City. Shooting Down Pictures primarily serves as a repository for a wide variety of materials connected with his project of viewing every film on the list of 1000 greatest films of all time, as compiled by They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? Rather than simply writing about, or gathering pre-existing resources together for these films -- both of which Lee does brilliantly, it must be said -- he also makes video essays about them and commissions others to provide their own audio commentaries, including ones by such luminaries as Nicole Brenez, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Paolo Cherchi Usai, Richard Brody, Karina Longworth, Andy Horbal, Mike D'Angelo, Matt Zoller Seitz, Preston Miller, Vadim Rizov, and Girish Shambu.

The current full list of video essays by Shooting Down Pictures is given below, but also check out the video index Lee maintains at YouTube where these and many other videos by him, or fabulously 'mashed up' by him, are hosted.
After a recent flurry of literally feverish activity, Film Studies For Free is going to take a richly-deserved, two-week break so that its cold-ridden author can become fully healthy once more, and go off to deliver a talk on her own work (which is not totally unconnected to the focus of today's blog post, as it happens). In the meantime, FSFF leaves you with a little video essay by Lee and Dan Sallitt on another of this blog's favourite filmmakers (alongside Buñuel), Claude Chabrol. Adieu, pour le moment...

Thursday 20 November 2008

Ahoy, Me Hearties! Pirate Philosophy by Gary Hall

Open Access publishing is not all that scary

Yesterday, Film Studies For Free's author attended a very stimulating talk on a subject dear to this blog's heart: Open Access publishing in the Humanities.

Tireless proponent and exponent of radical Open Access Professor Gary Hall gave his lecture -- 'Pirate Philosophy' -- as part of the Research in Progress Seminar Series at the School of Media and Film at the University of Sussex, a talk he had also delivered at his own institution, Coventry University. The Sussex event was chaired by Caroline Bassett, whose own writing on digital media is well worth checking out: click HERE for an online Open Access article by her on Web 2.0 and read about her new book, The Arc and the Machine: Narrative and New Media (complete with its discussion of Gus Van Sant's film Elephant) HERE.

A description of the earlier version of Gary Hall's talk, available online, reads as follows (with the odd hyperlink added, as usual, by FSFF):

This Lecture presented a series of performative media projects or ‘media gifts’. Operating at the intersection of art, media and philosophy, these projects – which include an open access archive and a ‘liquid book’ – are gifts in that they are part of the ‘academic gift economy’ which circulates research for free rather than as market commodities. They are performative in that they are instances of media that produce the things of which they speak and are engaged primarily through their performance.

The media gift that this Lecture focussed on was ‘Pirate Philosophy’. This project investigated some of the implications of internet pirate philosophy for the arts and humanities, particularly the latter’s ideas of authorship, the book, the academic journal, scholarly publishing, intellectual property, copyright law, content creation and cultural production. ‘Pirate Philosophy’ explores such ideas both philosophically and legally through the creation of an actual ‘pirate’ text.

Hall's lecture richly explored all sorts of different models for Open Access as well as, very engagingly, the current relevance to these matters of the work of a variety of cultural theorists (most prominently Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Zygmunt Bauman, and the gift-economics of Marcel Mauss -- 'gifts are never free', but instead often give rise to reciprocal exchange).

The question session at the end of the seminar showed that many of those attending were, in part, inspired by Hall's call to piracy/self-piracy, but were residually anxious in the ways that academics employed (or working towards being employed) by the current system so often are about the challenges to conventional systems of academic, and other, authorship that Web 2.0 has raised, and that Web 3.0 will take even further. Hall's tactical refusal to assuage those anxieties was well met by this attendee, though. A little pirate heartiness will indeed be necessary if the lockdown culture of Western Academia is truly to change. (But that's easy for this blogger to say...)

All these debates are closely connected to ones about the spreadability of digital moving image materials as well as text-based ones. Interested FSFF readers should also check out Gary Hall's website together with Culture Machine, the online journal he co-founded and edits, which will have an upcoming issue on Pirate Philosophy. You should also visit and support CSeARCH, the pioneering Humanities online-archive he co-founded in 1999. Hall's latest book Digitize This Book! The Politics of New Media, or Why We Need Open Access Now is a highly compelling read, but you can get some sense of his detailed arguments from the following online conference proceedings piece: 'The Politics and Ethics of Electronic Archiving'; and from the following interview: ‘OA in the Humanities Badlands’.

If you've got as far as this point in this post, ye verily deserve today's final, 'piratical' gift: a video of Hall's lecture as given at Coventry University on September 29, 2008:

Film Studies For Free's author promises to return to the fascinating questions about authorship, online and otherwise, raised by Hall's work in a future post for her research blog Directing Cinema.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Scott Kirsner's 'Inventing the Movies': free online video

Scott Kirsner at Google HQ

Film Studies For Free has already waxed lyrical about CinemaTech, the great blog by Scott Kirsner. Today CinemaTech offered up a link to a video posted on YouTube by Google of a hugely informative 46 minute-long talk on the history of Hollywood film technological innovations given by Kirsner when he visited the company. The presentation is wonderfully delivered and festooned with great clips.

Here's the blurb for the talk, with hyperlinks added by Film Studies For Free for further information:

Scott Kirsner visits Google's Mountain View, CA headquarters to discuss his book "Inventing the Movies: Hollywood's Epic Battle Between Innovation and the Status Quo, from Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs." This event took place on October 16, 2008, as part of the Authors@Google series.From Edison to the iPod, from the Warner Brothers to George Lucas, the story of how the movies became America's favorite form of escapist entertainment--and retained their hold on our imaginations for more than a century--is a story of innovators prevailing again and again over skeptics who prefer to preserve the status quo. Inventing the Movies unspools the never-before-told story of the innovators who shaped Hollywood: how a chance meeting at the Saratoga Race Track led to the end of black-and-white movies ... how Bing Crosby brought you the VCR ... how Walt Disney tamed television ... how a shotgun blast signaled the end of hand-made models and the beginning of digital special effects ... and how even the almighty Morgan Freeman had trouble persuading theater-owners that the Internet wasn't their mortal enemy. Inventing the Movies is an important read not just for fans of Hollywood's history, but for innovators trying to make change happen in any industry.

This is obviously a very 'technology-positive', not to say 'technologically-triumphalist', take on Hollywood/California history; for much more nuanced views readers should take a look at Henry Jenkins's work, including his blog. But Film Studies For Free thinks that this free video is well worth a watch and certainly serves as a particularly good and lively introduction to film technology history for those who are fairly new to the topic.

P.S. Film Studies For Free was stunned yesterday to hear the news that the aforementioned Henry Jenkins is to depart from the MIT Comparative Media Studies program that he co-founded to take up a new position at the University of Southern California. Truly, the end of an era, but hopefully the beginning of another one for work on participatory culture.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Mickey Mouse and Animation Links

GreenCine Daily reminds Film Studies For Free that it's Mickey Mouse's birthday today - eighty years to the day since his first film appearance in Steamboat Willie. GC Daily points us in the direction of a nice annotated photo gallery with informative text by Neal Gabler, author of Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, at the Guardian Online. And once there you can find a tribute video with some wonderful clips (you just have to endure a short advert to watch them). The BBC also offers some infotaining fun with the old mouse, too. If Disney World's anthropomorphism or cultural imperialism are not your cup of tea, then check out another cultural text that 'age cannot wither ..., nor custom stale': Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart's enduringly essential How to Read Donald Duck.

Anyhow, on the occasion of this mousepicious anniversary, the ever event-driven Film Studies For Free decided to gather together in one place (below) all its current animation online-resource links (to archives, online films, weblogs, e-journals and noteworthy articles, e-zines, discussion and research groups, and podcasts):