Tuesday, 26 March 2013

On CINEMATIC DIRECT ADDRESS - Part One: Mapping the Field

CINEMATIC DIRECT ADDRESS Part One: Mapping the Field - Video by Catherine Grant

This entry has been superseded by the following, later FSFF entry so why don't you head over there straightaway?

On Friday March 1, 2013, Film Studies For Free's author had the very great pleasure of interviewing Tom Brown, Lecturer in Film Studies at Kings College, London, on the subject of direct address in the cinema, a topic he knows a huge amount about as author of the only book completely dedicated to it: Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address in the Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012) [It's up already - you can find it here].  You can read the preface to Tom's book online here (PDF), check out another article he uploaded about it here, and visit his wonderfully illustrated Tumblr on the topic here.

The recorded interview will be presented in two parts here at FSFF: part one is above and part two -- "YOU LOOKING AT ME? On Buñuel's LOS OLVIDADOS" -- will follow soon in a separate entry accompanied, as is this blog's wont, by a full compendium of links to further online scholarly studies of this (of course not exclusively) cinematic phenomenon.

In the period of time between recording this interview and completing the editing of it for this blog, Leigh Singer's great video 'supercut' on breaking the fourth wall (see below) was published, to merited acclaim, at PressPlay. Singer's essay -- which uses examples from a number of the same films as FSFF's video, is a hugely witty, skillful, and highly thought-provoking accompaniment to it. If you know of any further videographic studies of cinematic direct address, or indeed any other good resources, please let FSFF know about them via the comments.

Thanks! Yes! You there!

Breaking the 4th Wall Movie Supercut by Leigh Singer
A compilation of scenes and moments from films that all "break the fourth wall" - that is, acknowledge (usually directly to the camera, and therefore the audience) that they're part of a movie. The term comes from the imaginary "wall" at the front of the stage in a traditional three-walled box set in a proscenium theatre, through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play.

The montage includes 54 different films (some used more than once) from perhaps the very first example of breaking the fourth wall right up to today. There were so many other great examples I couldn't find room for (sadly, The Dude and The Big Lebowski's narrator don't abide here), I'd love to hear which 4th wall breakers you'd also include. Email me on leigh@singer-leisinger.com, or @Leigh_Singer on Twitter. Look forward to hearing your comments!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Studies of the Remediation of Films, Comics and Video Games

                   The Video Game Film from Matthias Stork on Vimeo.
This mash-up is a playful offshoot of [Matthias Stork's] research project on the aesthetic intermediality of films and video games [e.g. see above]. Edgar Wright’s seminal film SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD (2010, Universal Pictures) effectively illustrates the audiovisual parallels and differences between the two media. It organically integrates the distinctive stylistic flourishes of video game play into the dominant cinematic texture, to the point that the film, particularly in its action sequences, evolves into a subjectively rendered (and relatable) gameplay experience. It thus represents a genuine video game film. This video essay seeks to foreground this affective dimension by heightening the aesthetic strategies of the film. And it is further intended as an homage to the director’s exceptional work.

"The Video Game Film" was made according to principles of Fair Use (or Fair Dealing), primarily with scholarly, critical, and educational aims. It was published under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

             From the Panel to the Frame: Style and Scott Pilgrim from Drew Morton on Vimeo. Originally published at PressPlay with a great introduction by Matt Zoller Seitz

Film Studies For Free today presents an entry which has long been in preparation. It was originally conceived of especially as a showcase for the above, hugely innovative and informative video essay studies by Matthias Stork and Drew Morton. But it has grown into a veritable font of wonderful links to online and open access studies of the connections between films, comics and video games.

FSFF hopes you enjoy the below list, and if you'd like to add any, as yet missing open access studies to it, please just let this blog know about those in the comments. Thank you! [Please note: FSFF can't publish one submitted suggestion for a non-open access book in the field, one which has no free excerpts. Sorry about that. But, hopefully, that commercial publisher has an advertising budget to compensate for this little blog's interest in other forms of publishing. Thanks anyway.]

Game on!

New issue of SCOPE! Performance and Sound, Lynne Ramsay, Contemporary Hollywood, Film Projection, Surrealism

Frame grab from Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, 2002)

Film Studies For Free is thrilled, as ever, to pass on news of a new issue of SCOPE: An Online Journal of Film and TV Studies.

The February 2013 issue is packed with goodness, but FSFF particularly liked Sarah Artt's wonderful article on Lynne Ramsay's 2002 film Morvern Callar. This essay will come in very handy in preparation for an event at Birkbeck, University of London, on May 28 when FSFF's author will discuss this film in the first of a great series of explorations of cinematic Itinerancy, Dislocation, Nomadic Subjects

SCOPE: Issue 25 February 2013


Book Reviews
All Book Reviews
Conference Reports

All Conference Reports

Sunday, 17 March 2013


Frame grab from Sans Soleil/Sunless (Chris Marker, 1983)
Oooh! Film Studies For Free's Sunday is complete: a new issue of Senses of Cinema is out. It has some eye-wateringly good items. Just skim, scan and click below.

Senses of Cinema, Issue 66 , March 2013
Editorial Introduction


Great Director: Albie Thoms Dossier – Contents 
Adrian Danks's Introduction to the Dossier
  1. The Ubu Moment and Australian Experimental Film: Interviews with Albie Thoms by Danni Zuvela for OtherFilm 
  2. Albie – A Well-Directed Life by Tina Kaufman 
  3. Albie Thoms (dissimilis aliqua alia) by Peter Mudie 
  4. Why Albie Thoms? – A Singular Commitment and a Figure Displaced by Barrett Hodsdon 
  5. Days of Future Past: Albie Thoms’ Polemics by Jake Wilson 
  6. Memoir of Albie by John Flaus 
  7. Albie Thoms as an Historian by Graham Shirley 
  8. Albie Thoms Refractions by Danni Zuvela for OtherFilm
Cinémathèque Annotations on Film
Book Reviews Festival Reports

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2013 Conference Papers and Contributions Online

            Film Studies and Videographic Assemblage A Video Presentation by Catherine Grant for the S23 Workshop "Writing with Video: Beyond the Illustrated Text", Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference, Chicago, March 6-10, 2013.

[Catherine Grant's introduction to the above video:] My presentation to this workshop has a somewhat strange take on the notion of the capacity of "video-writing" to move beyond the "illustrated text". The video it presents (embedded above) not only uses a good deal of text, but was also originally inspired by the idea of audiovisually amplifying, or supplementing, a long pre-existing written study of Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 film Rope.
    What making it demonstrated to me is that, in scholarly settings, even the simplest videographic act of presenting an assemblage of compiled film sequences involves medium-specific forms of argumentation, for example, the selection and presentation of audiovisual evidence, montage and mise en scene, titling, sound editing and other creative effects, all aiming to draw from "a broader notion of pathos, logos, and ethos than that which has been reified in the age of print literacy", as Virginia Kuhn has put it.* The result is not only the creation of an audiovisual argument, therefore, but also, importantly, of an active viewing space for live co-research - a framed experience of participant observation which, particularly through its online distribution, dialogically invites responses (including rebuttals!) through forms of remix. [Also see
Bonus Tracks: The Making of Touching the Film Object and Skipping ROPE (Through Hitchcock’s Joins) and Déjà-Viewing?Videographic Experiments in Intertextual Film Studies]

    *Kuhn, Virginia. 2012. "The Rhetoric of Remix." In "Fan/Remix Video," edited by Francesca Coppa and Julie Levin Russo, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 9. Online at dx.doi.org/10.3983/twc.2012.0358.
S23 Workshop chaired by Virginia Kuhn (University of Southern California), with presentations by Vicki Callahan, Catherine Grant, Michael Lachney, Virginia Kuhn and Cheryl Ball. The workshop was sponsored by the Media Literacy and Pedagogical Outreach Scholarly Interest Group. The full 2013 SCMS Conference Program PDF is here.
Film Studies For Free is happy to present links to some resources pertaining to papers or presentations at the (recently concluded) annual conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies at the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

FSFF's author's own contribution to the conference, embedded and pasted in above, was part of a workshop panel on "Writing with Video" (see all of the assets from this workshop gathered by Virginia Kuhn here). In the end, this year -- for the same reasons it's been so quiet at this blog (major, unexpected construction work taking place at home at the same time as a very busy semester!) -- she was unable to travel to the US to attend this final session of the conference in person. But, thanks to the wonders of modern technology her work was kindly presented in absentia by her fellow panelists. Among these, Vicki Callahan and Michael Lachney presented on their pedagogical practices around teaching video argumentation as part of multimedia literacy programmes. In particular, Callahan discussed her classroom use of online video collaborative authoring tools including WeVideo. Cheryl Ball discussed her experience as editor of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy (see Ball's fabulous essay for Kairos on digital scholarship here). And workshop chair Virginia Kuhn presented on her highly innovative large scale video analysis project, a wonderful example of the potential for humanities supercomputing (also see here).

Below are links to a whole host of further conference contributions, mostly collected via Twitter. Thanks very much to those who supplied the links. If you have posted your own SCMS paper online, or know of others not gathered below, please leave the link in a comment. Thank you!

SCMS Digital Humanities J23 Workshop 5_8_13 from scms at livestream.com. Featuring Miriam Posner, Jason Mittell (see below for his paper), Hannah Goodwin, Jasmijn Van Gorp, Jason Rhody and Eric Faden

Also see: