Saturday 31 December 2016

We'll Tak' a Cup o' Kindness Yet: Awesome Open Access Film Studies Links to See Out 2016!

 A major open access eBook: Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film
Edited by Shane Denson and Julia Leyda (Falmer: REFRAME Books, 2016).

In this end of year post, Film Studies For Free reflects on and links to some of its very favourite 2016 open access resources selected from the ones that this blog's author had a hand in producing, contributing to, or publishing. 

It has been a (deadly) funny old year, to be sure, one that began with tributes aplenty to David Bowie and has concluded with ones to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds (see also here, here and here). David Hudson rounds up some of the cinematic losses here. And some of FSFF's own tributes are linked to below, alongside blog entries, amazing free ebooks, and wonderful journal issue contents.

FSFF wishes all its readers and supporters a happy, healthy 2017. And it looks forward to producing and purveying plenty more open access film studies resources in the year ahead.

LOS OLVIDADOS / LAZARUS (Bowie meets Buñuel) by Catherine Grant

As last year, Kevin B. Lee polled "esteemed video essay creators, scholars, programmers, and devoted followers of the form to highlight the best video essays of the year. Each year it becomes more necessary to crowdsource this task, for in the words of notable video essayist David Verdeure / Filmscalpel, 'It has become impossible to keep up with all video essays that are made, with the form proliferating in both academic and film fan circles.' These poll results might offer some help in sorting out the standouts of the genre. Videos mentioned most frequently in this poll are embedded below, along with the individual lists."

  • Open Access Film Studies eBooks x 2!
major scholarly collection edited by Shane Denson and Julia Leyda, and published by REFRAME’s open access ebook imprint
If cinema and television, as the dominant media of the 20th century, shaped and reflected our cultural sensibilities, how do new digital media in the 21st century help to shape and reflect new forms of sensibility? In this collection, Denson and Leyda have gathered a range of essays that approach this question by way of a critical engagement with the notion of “post-cinema.” Contributors explore key experiential, technological, political, historical, and ecological aspects of the transition from a cinematic to a post-cinematic media regime and articulate both continuities and disjunctures between film’s first and second centuries.
Download: PDF 13mb and PDF 9mb
Perspectives on Post-Cinema: An IntroductionShane Denson and Julia Leyda
1. Parameters for Post-Cinema 1.1  What is Digital Cinema?Lev Manovich 1.2  Post-Continuity: An IntroductionSteven Shaviro 1.3  DVDs, Video Games, and the Cinema of InteractionsRichard Grusin
2. Experiences of Post-Cinema 2.1  The Scene of the Screen: Envisioning Photographic, Cinematic, and Electronic “Presence”Vivian Sobchack 2.2  Post-Cinematic AffectSteven Shaviro 2.3  Flash-Forward: The Future is NowPatricia Pisters 2.4  Towards a Non-Time Image: Notes on Deleuze in the Digital EraSergi Sánchez 2.5  Crazy Cameras, Discorrelated Images, and the Post-Perceptual Mediation of Post-Cinematic Affect – Shane Denson 2.6  The Error-Image: On the Technics of MemoryDavid Rambo
3. Techniques and Technologies of Post-Cinema 3.1  Cinema Designed: Visual Effects Software and the Emergence of the Engineered SpectacleLeon Gurevitch 3.2  Bullet Time and the Mediation of Post-Cinematic TemporalityAndreas Sudmann 3.3  The Chora Line: RealD IncorporatedCaetlin Benson-Allott 3.4  Splitting the Atom: Post-Cinematic Articulations of Sound and VisionSteven Shaviro
4. Politics of Post-Cinema 4.1  Demon Debt: Paranormal Activity as Recessionary Post-Cinematic AllegoryJulia Leyda 4.2  On the Political Economy of the Contemporary (Superhero) Blockbuster SeriesFelix Brinker 4.3  Reality Effects: The Ideology of the Long Take in the Cinema of Alfonso CuarónBruce Isaacs 4.4  Metamorphosis and Modulation: Darren Aronofsky’s Black SwanSteen Christiansen 4.5  Biopolitical Violence and Affective Force: Michael Haneke’s Code UnknownElena del Río
5. Archaeologies of Post-Cinema 5.1  The Relocation of CinemaFrancesco Casetti 5.2  Early/Post-Cinema: The Short Form, 1900/2000Ruth Mayer 5.3  Post-Cinematic AtavismRichard Grusin 5.4  Ride into the Danger Zone: Top Gun (1986) and the Emergence of the Post-CinematicMichael Loren Siegel 5.5  Life in Those Shadows! Kara Walker’s Post-Cinematic SilhouettesAlessandra Raengo
 6. Ecologies of Post-Cinema 6.1  The Art of Morphogenesis: Cinema in and beyond the CapitaloceneAdrian Ivakhiv 6.2  Anthropocenema: Cinema in the Age of Mass ExtinctionsSelmin Kara 6.3  Algorithmic Sensibility: Reflections on the Post-Perceptual ImageMark B. N. Hansen 6.4  The Post-Cinematic Venue: Towards an Infrastructuralist PoeticsBilly Stevenson
7. Dialogues on Post-Cinema 7.1  The Post-Cinematic in Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2 Therese Grisham, Julia Leyda, Nicholas Rombes, and Steven Shaviro 7.2  Post-Cinematic Affect: A Conversation in Five PartsPaul Bowman, Kristopher L. Cannon, Elena del Río, Shane Denson, Adrian Ivakhiv, Patricia MacCormack, Michael O’Rourke, Karin Sellberg, and Steven Shaviro 7.3  Post-Continuity, the Irrational Camera, Thoughts on 3DShane Denson, Therese Grisham, and Julia Leyda 7.4  Post-Cinema, Digitality, Politics Julia Leyda, Rosalind Galt, and Kylie Jarrett


“A Guide to the Arclight Guidebook” by Eric Hoyt, Kit Hughes, and Charles R. Acland

PART I: Searching and Mapping 1) “The Quick Search and Slow Scholarship: Researching Film Formats” by Haidee Wasson; 2) “Search and Re-search: Digital Print Archives and the History of Multi-sited Cinema” by Gregory A. Waller; 3) “Using Digital Maps to Investigate Cinema History” by Laura Horak; 4) “Field Sketches with Arclight: Mapping the Industrial Film Sector” by Kit Hughes

PART II: Approaching the Database 5) “Low-Tech Digital” by Charles R. Acland; 6) “Excavating Film History with Metadata Analysis: Building and Searching the ECHO Early Cinema Credits Database” by Derek Long; 7) “Show Me the History! Big Data Goes to the Movies” by Deb Verhoeven; 8) “How Is a Digital Project Like a Film?” by Miriam Posner

PART III: Analyzing Images, Sounds, Words 9) “Coding and Visualizing the Beauty in Hating Michelle Phan: Exploratory Experiments with YouTube, Images, and Discussion Boards” by Tony Tran; 10) “Looking for Bachelors in American Silent Film: Experiments with Digital Methods” by Lisa Spiro; 11) “Terminological Traffic in the Movie Business” by Charles R. Acland & Fenwick McKelvey; 12) “Digital Tools for Film Analysis: Small Data” by Lea Jacobs & Kaitlin Fyfe; 13) “The Slices of Cinema: Digital Surrealism as Research Strategy” by Kevin L. Ferguson

PART IV: Process, Product, and Publics 14) “Digital Tools for Television Historiography: Researching and Writing the History of US Daytime Soap Opera” by Elana H. Levine; 15) “When Worlds Collide: Sharing Historical Advertising Research on Tumblr” by Cynthia B. Meyers; 16) “Networking Moving Image History: Archives, Scholars, and the Media Ecology Project” by Mark Williams; 17) “Curating, Coding, Writing: Expanded Forms of Scholarly Production” by Eric Hoyt; “Keywords and Online Resources” by Robert Hunt and Tony Tran

  • Open Access Film and Media Studies Journal Issues x 4: 
NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, Autumn 2016_#Home

NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, Spring 2016_’Small data’

  • New website:
The website collects materials relevant to Chinese Film Festival Studies, including reports on network events, bibliographies, lists of and reports on film festivals, and much more.

  • Other Open Access Resources 

Tuesday 13 December 2016

My Year’s Work in Audiovisual Essays and Videographic Film Studies

There is a bumper entry still to come here at Film Studies For Free before the global annus horribilis of 2016 is out, you mark this blog's words.

But in the meantime, below is a handy list of links to the thirteen free film-studies videos its author has made and formally published in the last twelve months (see here for more information). There are a few unlisted ones that were also made this year and await publication, including yet another videographic work on Brief Encounter... These should see the light of online day in the next calendar year.

  • SPARKLE: A tiny video-remix comparison of some glimmering audio/visual moments from Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975), The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola, 1999) and The Falling (Carol Morley, 2014).
  • THE PERSISTENCE OF VISION: A video tribute to the work of film scholar Elizabeth Cowie, featuring Morocco, Now, Voyager and Let There Be Light, as well as the voices and choices of Andrew Klevan, Christine Evans, Coral Houtman and Sarah Wood
  • MATCHES - featuring Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954) Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios / Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, 1988)

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Almodóvar Studies for Free

Last updated with more links August 25

MATCHES - On similarly flammable moments in Ray and Almodóvar
(Intertextual ignition by Catherine Grant)

Experience has taught me that the more honest and personal my work is,
the more successful I am.
(Pedro Almodóvar)

It costs a lot to be authentic, ma’am.
('Agrado' in All About My Mother)

Film Studies For Free is delighted to celebrate its eighth birthday with a tiny new video essay (above) and a whole entry (below) devoted to a wide-ranging collection of links to online and open access studies of the work of one of its favourite filmmakers of all time: Pedro Almodóvar.

Thanks so much to all FSFF's readers for being (t)here over the years! It's been a 'fount of pleasure' (as José Arroyo writes of Almodóvar's films), and an authentic joy.

Online written studies of Almodóvar's work

Added Online audio about Almodóvar's work

Online videos about Almodóvar's work

Full length BAFTA interview with Almodóvar online here (50 minutes):


In Spanish/Unsubtitled

Friday 22 July 2016

For all to see, and to see the sense of: In Memory of V. F. Perkins (1936-2016)

Last updated on December 31, 2016

[S]election by the camera [...] asserts significance. The image is displayed not only to relay information but to claim that it matters and to guide us towards the ways in which it matters...

[A] film’s form and method are incomprehensible outside of a recognition that its story takes place, and its images are both made and found, in a world...

Movies always take us into the middle of things because the film and its story begin, but the world does not...

V. F. Perkins, ‘Where is the world? The horizon of events in movie fiction’
in Gibbs and Pye (eds.), Style and Meaning... (MUP, 2005); 22-25. 

I suggest that a prime task of interpretation is to articulate in the medium of prose some aspects of what artists have made perfectly and precisely clear in the medium of film. The meanings I have discussed in the Caught fragment are neither stated nor in any special sense implied. They are filmed. Whatever else that means (which it is a purpose of criticism and theory to explore) it means that they are not hidden in or behind the movie, and that my interpretation is not an attempt to clarify what the picture has obscured. I have written about things that I believe to be in the film for all to see, and to see the sense of.

V.F. Perkins, 'Must We Say What We Mean?', Movie 34/35, Winter 1990

It is with very great sadness that Film Studies For Free brings you its latest entry: a commemoration of the life, film criticism, theory and scholarship of Victor Perkins who died a week ago today.

V. F. Perkins was a founding editor of the hugely influential film critical publication MOVIE. He was also the author of Film as Film (Penguin, 1972), one of the most inspiring of the foundational texts in film studies, and of two thrilling monographs on individual films for the BFI Film Classics series: The Magnificent Ambersons (1999); and La Règle du jeu (2012). After beginning to teach on cinema in a number of institutional settings from the 1960s (including at Bulmershe College of Education), he lectured on that subject at Warwick University (in the remarkable department he co-founded) from 1978 and was Honorary Professor in Film Studies.

Although Victor had been ill for several years, his passing was quite sudden and thus shocking to his family, friends and colleagues. He is, without doubt, someone who will be greatly missed by all those blessed by his personal and professional acquaintance (by all accounts, he was a truly wonderful colleague, teacher and research supervisor), as well as by the many, many thousands of people around the world who have loved and learned from his writing on the cinema.

FSFF's author had the very great pleasure of knowing Victor a little, and spent some very enjoyable (and inspiring) times with him over the last two decades. He was an enthusiastic supporter of this website and its ethos from FSFF's earliest days back in 2008, and was a most welcome correspondent on the topic of online film resources. He was a passionate advocate for, and practical supporter of, open-access publishing and multimedia film studies, as his key role in the relaunch as an online journal of MOVIE: A Journal of Film Criticism testifies. Victor always wondered if he'd go on to make video essays, a form in which he had a very keen interest. FSFF had always fervently hoped that he would....

There will undoubtedly be many tributes to his work from those who are much better qualified to write these than FSFF's author. So the aim of what follows is confined mostly to the significant task of updating existing entries at this website on Perkins' online work, and in collecting together links to online interviews with him, and writings about him.

But FSFF also offers up, below, four videos about Victor's work - three of these newly commissioned and produced in memoriam since Victor's death - by Christian Keathley, Hoi Lun Law and Catherine Grant (the fourth is by film scholar Patrick Keating). Update: Alex Clayton's tribute "Spin the Wheel" was added on July 27 and Ian Garwood's "Choice Moments" on July 30.

Furthermore, it warmly invites its readers to produce and submit their own online tribute videos and texts (please send links to these via the comments function below, or by email, and also please send on links to any relevant work or resources not yet listed below. Thank you). 

In the meantime, FSFF's author offers her deepest condolences to Victor's family (especially his daughter and son), and to his close friends and colleagues at this very sad time.

Tributes #forvictor #vfperkins

'A video tribute about delicate moments of (decorous) choice that reworks a much loved paragraph from the truly remarkable writing of film critic and scholar V.F. Perkins (1936-July 15, 2016). Warm thanks go to my friend Andrew Klevan who introduced me to Victor's reading of this sequence from Renoir's La Règle du jeu back in 1998'

Online writing by V.F. Perkins

The below embedded videos are the twelve constituent parts of a truly fascinating interview with V.F. Perkins which took place at the Kino 8 1/2 in Saarbrücken, Germany, and was filmed by Media Art and Design Studiengang. In the interview, Perkins engagingly discusses his approach to film studies and, in particular, talks about the trajectory of his foundational 1972 book Film as Film, and about his research on Jean Renoir's1939 film Le Régle du jeu about which he had written a 2012 book for the BFI Film Classics series (excerpt here).




Max Ophüls


Orson Welles

Online writing about V.F. Perkins

Monday 6 June 2016

The Persistence of Vision: Videos on the Work of Film Theorists and Scholars

A New Video Tribute to the Work of Film Scholar Elizabeth Cowie.

Film Studies For Free's author has just published her latest video tribute to a film theorist! The above, quite heartfelt work (with key contributions from Andrew Klevan, Christine Evans, Coral Houtman and Sarah Wood) celebrates the writing of Professor Emeritus Elizabeth Cowie, a pioneer in psychoanalytic and feminist approaches to cinema studies and author of two important books in our field (Representing the Woman: Cinema and Psychoanalysis, 1997, and Recording Reality, Desiring the Real, 2011). She has also published the below, wonderful essays online:
The publication of the above video prompted FSFF to assemble and embed its now numerous celebratory video works on the writings (and films) of individual (to date, mostly anglophone) film theorists and scholars. So, below, you can watch video works on writings by:
Pam Cook; Elizabeth Cowie; Alexander Doty; Richard Dyer; Amber Jacobs; Andrew Klevan; Annette Kuhn; Mathieu Macherey; Laura Marks; D.A. Miller; Laura Mulvey; Vivian Sobchack; Lesley Stern; Gaylyn Studlar; Dai Vaughan; and Patricia White. 

Pam Cook

Alexander Doty

Richard Dyer (and Elizabeth Cowie and Adrienne McLean)

Richard Dyer and Pam Cook

Amber Jacobs 

Read more about this video essay here.

Andrew Klevan

Read more about this video here.

Annette Kuhn

Mathieu Macherey

Mechanised Flights: Memories of HEIDI from Catherine Grant
Read more about this video here.

Laura Marks

Also see here.

D.A. Miller

Also see here.

Laura Mulvey

Vivian Sobchack

Published in NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, Spring, 2015. Online at:, where you can also read the accompanying text: "Film studies in the groove? Rhythmising perception in Carnal Locomotive."

Lesley Stern


An experimental response to (or adaptive working through of) the following written essay:

This video by CATHERINE GRANT was presented at THE AUDIOVISUAL ESSAY Conference, Deutsches Filminstitut/Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main, November 23-4, 2013

Gaylyn Studlar

Dai Vaughan

Patricia White

"In the earlier film version of Stella Dallas [Henry King, 1925], the overwrought Stella takes refuge in the ladies’ waiting room at the train station directly after her visit to Helen [the woman to whom she has just entrusted her daughter]. She’s watched very closely by a woman whose flashy dress indicates her similarity to Stella in class status, if not in her dubious profession. The stranger offers the apparently inconsolable Stella a cigarette, and Stella puts it in her mouth and lights it end to end with the cigarette in the other woman’s mouth. A fade to black gives the gesture—which resembles a kiss—an elliptical significance, though nothing else is made of this scene. The shot echoes with Stella’s connection to Helen in the previous scene. But the silent version of Stella Dallas  suggests that such sympathy, and women’s motives, need not be reduced to shared maternal feeling. The washroom “pick-up” scene doesn’t occur in the [original 1922 source novel Stella Dallas  by Olive Higgins Prouty].
QUOTATION: Patricia White, Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1999), pp. 107-8.

Patricia White (and Tania Modleski)

Also see: See "The Remix That Knew Too Much? On REBECCA, Retrospectatorship and the Making Of RITES OF PASSAGE", THE CINE-FILES, 7, Fall 2014.

Various theorists (Stanley Cavell, Linda Williams, William Rothman, and Christian Viviani)

Read the related multimedia essay "The Marriages of Laurel Dallas: Or, The Maternal Melodrama of the Unknown Feminist Film Spectator", MEDIASCAPE, Fall 2014.  (this essay has been translated into Spanish by Cristina Álvarez López and published here)