Sunday 20 December 2015

Big December Round Up! Favourite Film and Media Studies Gifts of 2015 Galore!

A new online video essay on BRIEF ENCOUNTER (David Lean, 1945), which forms an integral part of Catherine Grant’s contribution to The Videographic Essay: Criticism in Sound and Imageedited by Christian Keathley and Jason Mittell, forthcoming from CABOOSE BOOKS in 2016:
Focusing on a number of videographic explorations of matters of film editing, including her study of the dissolves in David Lean’s 1945 Brief Encounter, Grant explores what such practical and audiovisual modes of research and presentation—ones which themselves evidently turn on editing—can add to the study of a feature that (with a number of key exceptions) has not received much sustained attention to date in written film scholarship. [Dissolves of Passion]

Well, 'tis the season to be jolly, and Film Studies For Free is indeed quite jolly as the holidays approach. It hasn't been an especially busy year, entry-wise, at this here blog. But it has certainly been a lucky, busy and bountiful one for its author's film-studies-related activities away from it (including at FSFF's Twitter and Facebook versions).

What customarily follows, to celebrate and give thanks for that fortune, are some links (including some choice ones not shared very much on any platform before) to openly accessible items of scholarly and critical interest.

FSFF hopes (as ever) to be back here with an update very, very soon. But in the meantime, it would like to wish its faithful, patient and much appreciated readers very happy holidays if they are having them, and to send its warmest seasonal greetings to all!

Online at:
  • Daniel Reynolds (Emory University) presents: Execute Minute 47: on Star Wars Wars
  • Joseph Moss (Georgia State University) presents: Wait, Where is the New Star Wars Trailer Premiering?
  • Garret Castleberry (Oklahoma City University) presents: Prophetic Revisionist Paratextual Ontologies: Preparing the Way for The Force Awakens
  • William Proctor (Bournemouth University) presents: Star Wars Detectives
  • New NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, Autumn 2015_‘Vintage’. The below contents are all accessible here:
    Editorial Necsus; Articles: Temps mort: Speaking about Chantal Akerman (1950-2015) by Eric de Kuyper and Annie van den Oever; Agamben’s cinema: Psychology versus an ethical form of life by Janet Harbord; Richard Serra: Sculpture, television, and the status quo by Francesco Spampinato; Dredging, drilling, and mapping television’s swamps: An interview with John Caldwell on the 20th anniversary of Televisuality by Markus Stauff; Special section: Vintage, guest edited by Kim Knowles; Locating vintage by Kim Knowles; A theoretical approach to vintage: From oenology to media by Katharina Niemeyer; Technostalgia of the present: From technologies of memory to a memory of technologies by Tim van der Heijden; The way we watched: Vintage television programmes, memories, and memorabilia by Helen Piper; Retro, faux-vintage, and anachronism: When cinema looks back by Stefano Baschiera and Elena Caoduro; No time like the past?: On the new role of vintage and retro in the magazines Scandinavian Retro and Retro Gamer by Kristian Handberg; Death, beauty, and iconoclastic nostalgia: Precarious aesthetics and Lana Del Rey by Arild Fetveit; Audiovisual essays: edited by Cristina Álvarez López and Adrian Martin; Learning from popular genres – with help from the audiovisual essay by C. Álvarez López and A. Martin; Construction of a Heist by Henrike Lindenberger; Comedy Vitti Style by Pasquale Iannone; Book reviews: edited by Lavinia Brydon and Alena Strohmaier (NECS Publication Committee); The Lumière Galaxy by Francesco Pitassio; Beautiful Data / The Democratic Surround by Malte Hagener; Cinema of the Swimming Pool / Cinema as Weather by Adam O’Brien; Festival reviews: edited by Marijke de Valck and Skadi Loist (Film Festival Research Network); Selling film in the summer of 2015: Midnight Sun, Il Cinema Ritrovato, and Karlovy Vary by Maria San Filippo; Made in Peru: Lima Film Festival comes of age by Sarah Barrow; Strong positioning on the international festival circuit: An interview with Diana Iljine of Filmfest München by Tanja C. Krainhöfer; Exhibition reviews: edited by Miriam De Rosa and Malin Wahlberg (NECS Publication Committee); Hollis Frampton’s ‘other work’ by Michael Zryd; Theaters: Cinematic vintage magnified by Miriam De Rosa; Arab Pop: Whose Gaze is it Anyway? by James Harvey-Davitt; Artists’ Film Biennial, ICA 2014 by Sophia Satchell-Baeza.
  • New SENSES OF CINEMA!! Issue 77, 2015 - including tributes to and studies of Chantal Akerman: La Passion de L’Intime/An Intimate Passion, the Legacy of Pier Paolo Pasolini, Australian film history, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Quentin Tarantino  and more...
  • New Media Industries Journal, 2.2 2015. Online at:
  • Articles: PR and Politics at Hollywood’s Biggest Night: The Academy Awards and Unionization (1929-1939) by Monica Roxanne Sandler; The Impact of Working Conditions and Personality Traits on the Job Satisfaction of Media Professionals by M. Bjørn von Rimscha; The Sony Hack: Data and Decision in the Contemporary Studio by J.D. Connor;   
    Hacking Radio History’s Data: Station Call Signs, Digitized Magazines, and Scaled Entity Search by Kit Hughes, Eric Hoyt, Derek Long, Kevin Ponto, Tony Tran;  Cultural Diversity as Brand Management in Cable Television by Melanie Kohnen; TV Got Better: Netflix’s Original Programming Strategies and the On-Demand Television Transition by Chuck Tryon
  • The Open Library of Humanities, a major new open access journal platform, launched in 2015 and immediately published excellent film and media studies content: 
Preface: M. Downing ROBERTS
1. Oshima in Retrospect(ives): The Question of Corporeality in Daitōa Sensō (1968) by Shota OGAWA
2. Ideology and Subjection in Ōshima Nagisa’s Kōshikei (1968) by Max WARD
3. Oshima is Dead: Proxy Wars, Security, and Cinematic Love by Phil KAFFEN
4. Ōshima Nagisa on Responsibility and Premonition: Shiiku (1961) and Amakusa Shirō Tokisada (1962) by M. Downing ROBERTS
5. The Voice of the Dead: The Image of the State and Postwar Democracy in Oshima Nagisa’s The Ceremony (1971) by Ryoko MISONO
  1. Anti-Christ: Tragedy, Farce or Game? PDF Jan Simons
  2. Laughter and the Death of the Comic: Charlie Chaplin's The Circus and Limelight in Light of the Ethics of Emmanuel Levinas PDF Moshe Shai Rachmuth
  3. Films Blancs: Luminosity in the Films of Michael Mann PDF Davide Panagia
  4. Cinematic Incorporation: Literature in My Life Without Me PDF Sarah Dillon
  5. Trying Truths: Dreyer, Bresson and the Meaning Effect PDF Brandon White
  6. Ambivalent Screens: Quentin Tarantino and the Power of Vision PDF Frida Beckman
  7. The Permeable Self: A Theory of Cinematic Quotation PDF Chelsea Crawford
  • New Offscreen 19.7, 2015 Online at: (link via Girish Shambu)
  • Articles: The Maltese Falcon and the Case of the Mystery Square and other things lurking in the background by Donato Totaro; Nanarophelia and the danger of praising the mediocre by Simon Laperrière; London Made Me: Personal History, Film History and My Home Town by Paul W. Salmon; The Subject Was Rose Joseph Cornell and Rose Hobart by Elaine Lennon; Beautiful Light, Vibrant Things, Speaking Minds: Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder by Daniel Garrett

  1. Jason Mittell’s account of the project
  2. A post by participant Melanie Kohnen for Antenna, which also includes links to some of the work produced at the workshop
  3. Guest Presenter in Residence Catherine Grant's video essay Dissolves of Passion on Brief Encounter, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this winter.
  4. And participant John Gibbs' Three videographic exercises on Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946). including the video below:

  •  Below, Corey Creekmur's great video essay on 'intensified continuity' How to Read a File (How to Read a Film) [The 39 Steps]. Watch Corey's other videos here:

  • Film Theory Ch 3 The Face and the Mirror The below video essay, drawn from chapter 3 ('Cinema as Mirror: The Face and Close-Up'') of Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener's Film Theory: an Introduction Through the Senses (Routledge, 2nd edition, 2015), investigates elements of film theory that highlight the close-up and the face in the films of Ingmar Bergman. Premissed as the book is on the assumption that great films 'think' their own conditions of possibility, the video essay gives a meta-cinematic dimension to a filmmaker's apparently personal themes and private obsessions. For related video essays and texts, visit the book's companion website:
  • A video essay on Lindsay's Anderson's film If, by Ella Finch, Dilyana Atanasova, Alex Brace, Yang Jiang

  • PhD thesis by Anna Hurina (2015) Representations of Urban Spaces and Their Transformations in Soviet Cinema of the 1920s and 1960s, Durham theses, Durham University. Available at Durham E-Theses Online:

      List of Cinematologists episodes Season 1 & 2
      Episode 1: Repo Man (with Director Lucien Busse) Dario and Neil introduce, screen and discuss Alex Cox’s 1984 cult classic Repo Man in the context of independent v mainstream filmmaking. Neil's visit to the Berlinale is reviewed plus we have an interview he conducted while in Berlin with filmmaker Lucian Busse.
       Episode 2: Bande À part (with Actors Gillian Harker, Robert Dukes, Aisling M De’Ath & Adam Lannon) Neil and Dario discuss perhaps Godard's most accessible film and contextualise the filmmaker’s legacy covering topics of filmic influence, homage and pastiche. We also talk to four London based actors - Gillian Harker, Robert Dukes, Aislinn M De'Ath & Adam Lannon - about their process of working with directors and their own influences as actors. Episode 3: Whip it (with Prof. Linda Ruth Williams & Dr. Shelley Cobb) Introduction and audience discussion of Drew Barrymore’s Whip It (2009) with guest speaker Dr Laura Canning. The episode also analyses issues of gender with regards to the film industry and academia and Dario interviews Prof. Linda Ruth Williams and Dr Shelley Cobb about their AHRC funded research project investigating the status and role of women filmmakers.
      Episode 4: Yojimbo (with Director Mark Herman) Neil and Dario discuss the cinematic influence of Kurosawa particularly on American New Wave filmmakers and explore the gaps in their own cinematic canons arguing whether there can be any real, definitive criteria for judging a 'great' film. Dario interviews British film Director Mark Herman about his career including the films Brassed off (1996), Little Voice (1998) and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008).
      Episode 5: Bronson (with Dr. Johnny Walker) Neil questions Dario about his article on Nicolas Winding Refn’s powerful Bronson (2008) - entitled Punishing Bodies: British Prison Film and the Spectacle of Masculinity - which analyses the prison as an aesthetic space and suggests the (de)constructions of masculinity made possible by the prison genre. Neil also interviews Dr Johnny Walker about his work on the contemporary British Horror film. Episode 6: Goodbye Dragon Inn (Dr Sarah Atkinson) Neil and Dario discuss Tsai Ming-Liang’s 2003 ode to the cinema auditorium Goodbye Dragon Inn and discuss the concept of the cinema experience and how this has been affected by the arrival of the digital age. This theme also frames Dario's interview with Dr. Sarah Atkinson on her recently published book Beyond the Screen: Emerging Cinema and Engaging Audiences
      Episode 7: Sci-fi Special (part 1) In the first of a sci-fi podcast double bill Neil and Dario discuss their introductions to four films screened at the Poly, Falmouth as part of the BFI season Days of Fear Wonder. The Fly (1986), Demon Seed (1977), The Thing (1982) and Rollerball (1975) are all explored in the context of what science fiction offers as a key cinema genre. Neil and Dario touch upon the tropes of hard v soft sci-fi, artificial intelligence, the fear of technology, metaphors of alien invasion and control of reproduction, along with many other of the fundamental elements of the genre.
      Episode 8: Sci-fi Special Part 2 (Pacific Rim) In what promises to be a no-holes-barred, apocalyptic battle of the ages Neil and Dario face off in a cerebral clash of wills over a film that represents the most overt disagreement: Pacific Rim (2013)Don't miss episode 2 of the sci-fi double bill.
       Episode 9a: Point Blank (Port Eliot Special) Dario is on Holiday so Neil is joined by filmmaker and academic Mark Jenkin to present and discuss John Boorman's 1967 classic Point Blank starring Lee Marvin. Point Blank was released in a zeitgeist year for crime cinema that also included Arthur Penn's Bonnie & Clyde, Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai and Seijun Suzuki's Branded To Kill and it stands equal to those illustrious peers. This episode also features an interview with writer Tom Shone about his latest book Woody Allen: A Retrospective.
       Episode 9b: Interviews from Port Eliot This episode collects the diverse interviews collected by Neil across the weekend of the festival. The conversations cover film costume with Oscar winner Sandy Powell, music documentaries with television actress Caroline Catz, poetry with Simon Armitage, extinct birds with Ceri Levy and clouds with Gavin Pretor-Pinney of the Cloud Apprecation Society. Yes. Clouds. Neil also spent time with one of his heroes, Ralph Steadman, and Neil and Dario discuss the place of cinema at modern multi-arts festivals.
      Port Eliot Festival websiteNextinction by Ralph Steadman and Ceri LevyWalking Away by Simon Armitage
      Episode 10: 12 Angry Men Season 2 of the podcast kicks off with a bumper freshers edition featuring a screening of Sydney Lumet's 1957 social drama 12 Angry Men. A heavyweight cast of character actors led by Henry Fonda argue over the evidence of what appears to be straightforward guilty verdict. Neil and guest presenter Kingsley Marshall introduce what is a canonical film studies text. Dario and Neil also discuss their experiences of studying film and hopefully offer some helpful guidelines to those who are coming into university to study what is a changing discipline.
       Episode 11: Tony Manero (with Prof. Will Brooker) Our intense desire for, and identification, with film characters and stars comes under the spotlight in this weeks' podcast. Neil is joined by filmmaker James Dean to introduce Pablo Larraín's unique and brutal Tony Manero (2008) about Chilean criminal who is obsessed with John Travolta's character from Saturday Night Fever. It is simultaneously bleak, shocking and unsettling with allusions to the darkest parts of human identity. Also on the podcast Dario interviews Professor Will Brooker from Kingston University about the year he is spending embodying the iconic David Bowie.
       Episode 12: Planes, Trains and Automobiles (with Jeanie Finlay) Neil is joined on stage at Falmouth by Kingsley Marshall to introduce John Hughes' comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987). The influence and persona of John Candy and Steve Martin is discussed along with the career of John Hughes as one the quintessential American 80s directors. The podcast also features an interview with Jeanie Finlay on her surprising and offbeat musical documentary Orion: The Man Who Would Be King (2015).
       Episode 13: Dead of Night (with Jez Connolly) The Cinematologists go on the road again, this time to the University of Bristol, to screen the Ealing produced British anthology horror Dead of Night (1945). Dario and Neil discuss the film with Jez Conolly who has co-authored a book on the film with David Owain Bates as part of Auteur’s ‘Devil’s Advocates’ series. Also discussed on the podcast is the new book by friend of The Cinematologists, Dr. Johnny Walker. Contemporary British Horror Cinema is out now from Edinburgh University Press.  
      Episode 14: Seconds (with journalist Andy Bass) In our first podcast from the University of Brighton's Hastings campus we screen the strangely superb sci-fi thriller Seconds (1966). John Frankenheimer's key themes revolve around paranoia and conspiracy with titles to his credit including The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Seven Days in May (1964). This film takes a faustian theme and links it to social contexts of mistrust in government, consumerism and the increasing loss of identity in the modern age. The episode also features an interview with writer and historian Andy Bass who has recently written an article on the shooting of the film in his home town of Scarsdale:
       Episode 15: The Hitch-Hiker (with writer Jack Thorne) Neil is joined onstage at Falmouth by Kingsley Marshall to discuss Ida Lupino's 1953 film noir The Hitch-Hiker. Neil also interviews writer Jack Thorne about, amongst other things, his up-coming theatre adaptation of Harry Potter.Link to the Film Programme episode discussed on the podcast
      Link to the Senses of Cinema Ida Lupino piece mentioned by Kingsley on the podcast  Episode 16: In The Mood For Love
       In one of the highlights of the year The Cinematologists screen Wong Kar-Wai's stylish masterpiece as part of the BFI 'love' season in association with The Poly, Falmouth. A veritable modern masterpiece In the Mood for Love stars Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung in iconic roles as lovers seeking refuge from disappointment, loneliness and the harsh realities of their surroundings. Dario and Neil also discuss their cinematic highlights of the year. The Guardian article by Peter Walker referred to in the podcast can be found here: