Saturday, 15 October 2011

Links of Doom and Disaster! Apocalyptic Film and Moving Image Studies

Updated November 21, 2011
Image from Deep Impact (Mimi Leder, 1998)
Aside from the current stirrings of challenge to the disastrous, real-world, global order, Film Studies For Free was inspired to produce the below, awesome entry of links to studies of apocalypse and planetary disaster in film and moving image culture by three earth-shatteringly exciting things:
  1. A very impressive digital-cinema screening of Lars von Trier's latest film Melancholia (Is cinema dead? FSFF thinks it may still have a few years of life left... Some good thoughts on this film are linked to here); 
  2. A thrilling call for papers for an upcoming conference on The End, in relation to motion pictures (scroll to the foot of the post);
  3. The just-in-the-nick-of-time appearance of a great, film-related, free-to-read-online book published by the wonderful people at OpenBook Publishers: Maria Manuela Lisboa's The End of the World: Apocalypse and its Aftermath in Western Culture (Open Book Publishers, 2011). OBP have also produced a new, free-to read online version of Robert Philip Kolker's long freely available, classic book The Altering Eye: Contemporary International Cinema.
Now, if you don't mind, the all-too-easily scared FSFF will anti-climactically head for the hills (or, perhaps, for the sofa) to remove itself from all this eschatological excitement.
The End of ...? An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Study of Motion Pictures - University of Kent, UK, January 21, 2011
This one-day conference is for postgraduate students and early career researchers whose work incorporates the study of motion pictures and aims to explore the interdisciplinary conception and representation of “The End.”
     As the conspiracy theories for the end of the world in 2012 culminate in the mainstream disaster movie and the relevant literature, our concern and anxiety with closures remain within the margins of academic attention. In addition to the ubiquitous representations of “The End”, phrases such as “the end of cinema” and “death of celluloid” are recurrent in scholarly circles, calling forth a new era of engagement with film and other media. “The End” in the latter case evokes a new beginning that requires close examination: perhaps an analogy that could be extended to Film Studies as a discipline, outlining (or criticizing) its potential methodological changes in the future as well as in the past. The aesthetics of “The End”, however, is clearly evident in our direct engagement with time-based cultural artefacts. In other words, the study of various methods of narrative closure in film, music, literature and theatre can inform one of our fundamental obsessions: a good ending.
     We invite proposals for 20-minute presentations from candidates across arts and humanities, welcoming individual papers as well as group panels that investigate “The End” as a broad phenomenon that can be approached through a variety of methods. Possible research subjects include, but not limited to: End of cinema: changing patterns of distribution and exhibition; End of Theory: the methodological shifts in film studies as a discipline; End of story: the aesthetics and strategies of narrative closure, open endings, narrative inconclusiveness in relation to film and other arts; End of the world: recent preoccupation with the disaster film genres; End of cinephilia: alternative channels for watching and discussing movies; End of film: the death of celluloid, the rise of digital technologies and issues of medium specificity; Case studies of films or other media that address any of the aforementioned issues; Representation and/or conception of “The End” within the history and philosophy of art.
     The conference will conclude with a film screening and an introduction by the keynote speaker in the Gulbenkian Cinema, an independent cinema located within the university campus at Canterbury.
Please send abstracts (300 words) and a short biographical note to Deadline for applications is 15 November 2011. Should you have any queries, please do not
hesitate to contact us at the same e-mail address. Website:
Conference Organization Committee: Emre Caglayan, Frances Kamm, Pete Sillett

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