Sunday 30 January 2011

Sound on Screen: The Exorcist, Haneke, J-Horror, Warner Bros., animation, Apocalypse Now

Image from Apocalypse Now Redux (Francis Ford Coppola, 2001)

Film Studies For Free only just heard about the Spring 2010 issue of online journal Cinephile (Vol. 6 No. 1). So, while technically FSFF is 'rushing you the news', it red-facedly admits that it arrived a little late to this particular, openly accessible, Film Studies party...

Anyhoooo, it's an excellent issue on ‘Sound on Screen’, available as one large PDF. The contents are given below.

FSFF earnestly promises to keep its e-ears closer to the ground next time an issue is due...

Table of Contents

Saturday 29 January 2011

Werner Herzog's Cave: videos and links

One of the most distinctive filmmakers of our time, Werner Herzog has been called the "romantic visionary" of the New German Cinema movement. His edgy, larger-than-life films fuse the epic with the intimate, redefining the scale and scope of filmmaking to include more than 60 works shot on every continent. He appeared in conversation with acclaimed author and essayist, Pico Iyer at UC Santa Barbara on October 25, 2010. (download the video here)

A 10 minute fragment from a 'masterclass' with Werner Herzog. For 7 Planete Doc Review, with Pamela Cohn with Michałem Chacińskim, 2010. Also see this video.

Film Studies For Free hopes its Werner Herzog-obsessive readers will have a few hours to spare. They'll need them to watch the above embedded (and linked to) videos, some of the more recent, and most worthwhile of freely accessible online encounters with LA's most interesting resident filmmaker.

These videos, and the critical and scholarly reading below, will help time pass before the Spring 2011 premiere of Herzog's latest (3D) film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams (trailer, related videosecond related video). Don't say that FSFF isn't looking out for you, Herzog-ites!

Scholarly online writing about Herzog:

Saturday 22 January 2011

Fifteen Film Studies Guest Lectures at the University of Chicago

Today, Film Studies For Free presents this amazing array of Film Studies taster videos, on a wide range of topics, of talks delivered expertly and engagingly by a whole host of academic and filmmaking stars. The videos embedded above and below are recordings of segments of guest lectures given at the University of Chicago's Film Studies Center. There are fifteen videos online so far. But FSFF recommends you subscribe to the FSC Vimeo channel so that you can catch them as new ones are posted.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

A 'Borgesian' Film Studies Library?

Film Studies For Free shamelessly contemplates its own hypertextual, pedagogical, navel today, but it blushingly hopes, nonetheless, that the above embedded document will be of interest to some of its fellow educator readers. Just click on this link to transport yourself to a better-sized version for reading (and downloading).

The above document, authored by film researcher and filmmaker Charalambos Charalambous (Χαράλαμπος Χαραλάμπους) of the University of Kent's School of Arts (Film Studies) in 2010, describes itself as
A study of Web 2.0 as an actualization of the concept of the Borgesian Library: a critical evaluation of WEB 2.0 technology in reference to the academic blog Film Studies For Free authored by Dr. Catherine Grant.   
It was based in part on a research questionnaire filled in by FSFF's author, and, in the opinion of the latter, is a fascinating and very well-informed reflection on the pedagogical possibilities of the kinds of anthologizing, virtual librarianship (or digital curation) that this blog so adores, and which are completely made possible by Web 2.0 technology.

The study will shortly be permanently stored at FSFF's page dedicated to discussion of Open Access, Digital Scholarship and the Digital Humanities.

In the meantime, FSFF would like to thank Charalambos for his thoughtful words, which have made its little digital body swell with pride!

Thursday 13 January 2011

Double-Strength: Videos and Links in Celebration of Barbara Hammer

"I have chosen images rather than words for the act of naming myself an artist and a lesbian because the level of meanings possible for images and image conjunctions seemed richer and held more ramifications" Barbara Hammer
Film Studies For Free today presents a tribute to the remarkable American, experimental filmmaker and activist Barbara Hammer. The tribute takes the form of a listing of online videos and scholarly links to studies of Hammer's work, as well as of related queer film and politics.

Hammer is seventy-one years old, still making films and still protesting against injustice and censorship. In 2010, she published her wonderful autobiography, HAMMER! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life, which addressed her personal history and philosophies on art (see a review here).

FSFF says, "Thank you, but... keep it up, please, Barbara! Your work and activism is needed now more than ever." (This blog can be a rather greedy and merciless task-mistress at times...)

    Saturday 8 January 2011

    Young and Undead: On Child and Teen Vampire Movies

    Images from Låt den rätte komma in/Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008 - above) and Let Me In (Matt Reeves, 2010)
    Film Studies For Free loves a good vampire movie, like the two relatively unconventional examples of the genre pictured above. 

    In fact, FSFF doesn't turn its nose up at bad vampire movies, either. Let's face it: this blog is just not that fussy when it comes to vampire movies.

    Both kinds of films are represented below, in a fairly short, but terrifyingly good, list of scholarly and other online studies of the recent flourishing of teen and pre-teen varieties of undead cinema (along with their literary sources). 

    Please note that the list does not dabble in studies of the televisual versions of the genre. For those, you could no better than to visit the complete archive of Slayage articles on, inter alia, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly.

    Thursday 6 January 2011

    Participations: screen dance, moviegoing in the 1930s and 40s, and the reception of gay films

    Image from 3 Idiots (Rajkumar Hirani, 2009), a film referred to in Ann David's article 'Dancing the diasporic dream?  Embodied desires and the changing audiences for Bollywood film dance'

    Film Studies For Free is happy to announce that a new issue of Participations, a journal devoted to developing the broad field of study of cultural and media audiences, is now available online.

    The table of contents is reproduced below. The issue includes an excellent selection of articles devoted to the topic of audience responses to screen dance, but there are also notable essays, among others, on moviegoing in the USA in the 1930s and 40s, 'bad films', and the reception of 'gay movies' in Sydney.

    Particip@tions: Volume 7, Issue 2 (November 2010)

    Special Edition: Screen Dance Audiences – why now?



    Monday 3 January 2011

    The Working-Class Hero in International Cinema: in Memory of Pete Postlethwaite

    The bottom line for Danny [Pete Postlethwaite] is [his son] Phil’s emblematic loss of ‘the will to live’. He addresses the Albert Hall audience for all the world as if he were the holy ghost of Scargill and the militant miners of 1984, telling the punters, the press and us that, ‘I thought that music mattered. But does it bollocks; not compared to what people matter’. Charging the government with destroying an industry, a community and its people, he refuses the prize, calculating, as the flash bulbs pop, that ‘then it becomes news. And I won’t be talking just to myself, will I?’ In this scene the shot-reverse-shots of father and son, Danny and media, band and Grimley fans, and band and approving urban audience (its cosmopolitanism symbolised by two black faces) works as much as Danny’s polemic to argue that the old-fashioned working-class values, the local, British loyalties of community, family and labour -contrasted satirically by Danny to the fashionable liberal campaigns to save ‘seals or whales’ - can cut through Tory brutalism and reconstruct progressive priorities - to be the bearer of new national hopes. [Cora Kaplan, 'The Death of the Working-Class Hero', New Formations, 52 (Summer, 2004)]
    Film Studies For Free was shocked and saddened to hear of the death yesterday of much loved British actor Pete Postlethwaite. David Hudson's set of links to tributes to Postlethwaite may be found here. 

    Postlethwaite was a highly versatile actor, far from limited either in his life by his English working-class background, or in his career by his talent for the working-class dramatic roles in which he was so often cast. But it is the case that some of his most memorable roles were, like that of Danny in Brassed Off, ones that set themselves in the kind of tightly-knit, but, under political attack, all too easily undone, northern English communities he came from.

    FSFF's tribute, below, focuses on this aspect of Postlethwaite's work: his class act, that was not just an act. It's a rich and hopefully rewarding set of links to online and openly accessible scholarly discussions of the (usually, but not exclusively, male) "working-class hero" film character - quite a transnational cinematic trope, as it turns out.

                          Sunday 2 January 2011

                          On Digital Cinema, Visual Effects, and CGI Studies

                          Faking it? Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) in Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999)

                          Happy New Year, dear readers! A truly chilled out Film Studies For Free is back from vacation, and raring to go with a pretty impressive (if it says so itself) entry of direct links to openly accessible scholarly work on digital cinema and computer generated imagery studies.

                          The post was inspired by news of the availability as a free download of 'Digital Bodies' - a chapter, translated into English, from esteemed scholar Barbara Flueckiger's 2008 German-language book Visual Effects. Filmbilder aus dem Computer.

                          Flueckiger, Associate Professor at the University of Zurich's Institute of Cinema Studies, has also just published her great database on the history of CGI, VFX, and computer animation online.  

                          Vielen Dank, Barbara! Thanks also to all the scholars listed below for choosing to publish their work in freely accessible venues online! 

                          Finally, in case you hadn't yet heard of the best website for regular, informed discussions of special and visual effects in the cinema, do check out film scholar Dan North's awe-inspiring blog Spectacular Attractions!