Tuesday, 23 April 2013

A Long Hard Look at Slow Cinema Studies

Frame grab from Teodors/Theodore (Laila Pakalniņa, Latvia 2006). Read about Pakalniņa's films in the context of "slow cinema"

'Cinema is the art of playing with time.'
(Alain Resnais cited in Freddy Sweet, The Film Narratives of Alain Resnais (Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1981), 5. and in Alex Ling, 'Parentheses in Time: L’Année Dernière à Marienbad (1961) as Amorous Event', Screening the Past, 43, 2012)

Film Studies For Free has been taking its time lately. What better subject for it to tackle then, in its latest entry of links to online scholarly (alongside other, high quality and/or highly relevant) work, than slow cinema studies?

With no further ado, FSFF presents the below list, with many thanks to Girish Shambu for his initial, inspirational link.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address and Metalepsis in the Cinema and other Media

You can read Tom Brown's essay on the above video here.



[L]istening back to our conversation, I was worried about how often the two of us [...] said that characters in the film “look at us” – it is absolutely my claim about direct address that the device makes this possible (possible fictionally), though I think one has to be careful and clear about distinguishing between looks “at us” and ones that, though they might be at the camera, don’t quite carry this promise. However, on reflection, I think Catherine’s video essay brings out something that is very clearly in the film and that is how our position as spectators of Los Olvidados is something we are encouraged to reflect on; our “presence” is an active part of the film’s rhetoric. [Tom Brown on his conversation with Catherine Grant in the videos above: Breaking the Fourth Wall Tumblr, April 15, 2013]

As previously announced here, Film Studies For Free's author had the very great pleasure of interviewing Tom Brown, Lecturer in Film Studies at King's College, London, on the subject of direct address in the cinema, a topic he knows a huge amount about as author of one of the very few full length studies completely dedicated to it: Breaking the Fourth Wall: Direct Address in the Cinema (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012). 

The conversation, recorded on Friday March 1, 2013, has been animated in video by FSFF's author and is presented above in two parts which are preceded by a short compilation video of the moments in Luis Buñuel's 1950 film Los olvidados when actors/characters look into the camera; these instances are discussed in detail in Part Two of the "Cinematic Direct Address" videos. You can read Tom's essay on the first video at his wonderful Tumblr on Direct Address here.

The videos are accompanied below, as is this blog's wont, by a sizeable 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 (linked to below) was published, to much merited acclaim, at PressPlay. If you know of any further videographic studies of cinematic direct address, or indeed any other good resources to add to the below list, please let FSFF know about them via the comments.

By the way, if there are any east coast of Ireland-based readers of this blog perusing this paragraph, FSFF's author is gearing up to visit the very fair city of Dublin at the end of this week to give a public lecture and participate in a panel discussion at a free event on digital forms of film and moving image studies at Filmbase in Temple Bar.

Her fellow panel participants will be BF Taylor (Film Studies, Dublin Business School; see his great collection of video essays here), Matthew Causey (Arts Technology Research Lab, Trinity College Dublin), Kylie Jarrett, Lecturer in Multimedia (Centre for Media Studies, NUI Maynooth) and Steven Benedict, Broadcaster, Writer, Producer (and author of some very fine video essays on film himself - watch them here).

It would be lovely to break this blog's own fourth wall and see you there!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

New MOVIE! VERTIGO, Hal Ashby, Luis Buñuel, Charles Chaplin, Kenji Mizoguchi, Robert Altman, Robin Wood, Andrew Sarris, George Toles, Charles Barr, Andrew Klevan, Hoagy Carmichael

Frame grab of Robert Mitchum in The Wonderful Country (Robert Parrish, 1959). Read Pete Falconer's study of this film in the great new issue of MOVIE

Woohoo! The wonderful issue 4 of MOVIE: A Journal of Film Criticism has hit the e-stands!

Edited by Andrew Klevan and Victor Perkins, this one is sure to be a classic. Highlights, for FSFF, include Andrew Sarris (on Buñuel's Viridiana [1960]) and Robin Wood tribute archives, as well as the new 'Opening Shots' feature with great contributions by Charles Barr and Pete Falconer. But there are some truly remarkable feature articles in this issue, too, including Adam O'Brien on Hal Ashby's film The Last Detail and George Toles on cinematic images of luxury.

Thanks for the film critical luxury and largesse, MOVIE people!

MOVIE, Issue 4, 2013
  • Andrew Sarris: A Tribute
  • A Robin Wood Archive (2)

This issue was designed by Lucy Fife Donaldson, John Gibbs, and James MacDowell.

¡Cine fantástico! In Memory of Jess Franco (1930-2013)

Frame grab image of Lina Romay in Jess Franco's Les possédées du diable/Exorcism (1974)
Serge Daney distinguishes between love of cinema and passion for cinema. The latter state concerns the expressive evolution and refinement of the art, typified by the work, one might suppose, of such singular giants as Godard, Dreyer and Garrel. Love of cinema, on the other hand, is fetishistic, stemming from contentment with the medium as it already is. In the acceptance speech [Jess] Franco made on receiving his honorary lifetime achievement Goya award this February [2009], he described himself as simply ‘a man in love with cinema'. Perhaps nowhere better than in Jess Franco's oeuvre is ‘love of cinema' embodied. Yet complacency is hardly the first quality one associates with Franco's often defiantly free, personal and gloriously extreme riffs on familiar B cinema patterns. The fevered mirror he holds up to cinema reveals not a static museum of ossified formulas but a rich arsenal of figurative possibilities. Jess Franco is cinema- cinema in all its crassness, vulgarity, brutality, puerility, vitality, invention, wonder, joy, eroticism, poetry, violence, bizarreness, obsessiveness, mystery. And, of course, addictiveness. [Maximilian Le Cain, Editorial, Experimental Conversations, Spring 2009]
Film Studies For Free was muy triste when it heard the news that Spanish horror cinema maestro Jess Franco has died today, following a stroke last week.

It will be gathering tributes and links in memory of Franco's amazing film career over the next days, starting with the ones below. So do please come back for more as the below lists get longer.

Good resources online