This book offers a novel understanding of the epistemological strategies that are mobilized by the essay film, and of where and how such strategies operate. Against the backdrop of Adorno's discussion of the essay form's anachronistic, anti-systematic and disjunctive mode of resistance, and capitalizing on the centrality of the interstice in Deleuze's understanding of the cinema as image of thought, the book discusses the essay film as future philosophy-as a contrarian, political cinema whose argumentation engages with us in a space beyond the verbal. A diverse range of case studies discloses how the essay film can be a medium of thought on the basis of its dialectic use of audiovisual interstitiality. The book shows how the essay film's disjunctive method comes to be realized at the level of medium, montage, genre, temporality, sound, narration, and framing-all of these emerging as interstitial spaces of intelligence that illustrate how essayistic meaning can be sustained, often in contexts of political, historical or cultural extremity. The essayistic urge is not to be identified with a fixed generic form, but is rather situated within processes of filmic thinking that thrive in gaps.
Georges Didi-Huberman is a philosopher of images whose work is overdue for attention from English-language readers. Since the publication of his first book in 1982, he has published 46 essays, mostly with the prestigious Editions de Minuit, on topics ranging from monographs on individual artists to critical excursions into political philosophy. He is recognised in France and elsewhere in Europe as one of the foremost philosophers of the image writing today. In Georges Didi-Huberman and Film, Alison Smith concentrates on how Didi-Huberman's work has been informed by cinema, especially in his major (and ongoing) recent work L'Oeil de l'Histoire (The Eye of History). The book traces the development of Didi-Huberman's visual thought towards a cinematic sensibility already inherent in his early work on images in relationship to each other. After exploring his increasingly political understanding of the vital role of cinematic montage, it traces his growing understanding of cinema as a medium for expressing a dynamic representation of peoples' memory and experience, and documents his engagement with contemporary filmmakers such as Laura Waddington and Vincent Dieutre.
Women's Cinema in Contemporary Portugal brings together scholars from Portugal, UK and the USA, to discuss 14 women film directors in Portugal, focussing on their production in both feature film and documentary genres over the last half-century. It charts the specific cinematic visions that these women have brought to the re-emergence of Portuguese national cinema in the wake of the 1974 Revolution and African decolonisation, and to the growing internationalisation of Portugal's arguably 'minor' or 'small nation' cinema, with significant young women directors such as Leonor Teles achieving prominence abroad. The history of Portuguese women's cinema only begins systematically after the 1974 revolution and democratisation. This collection shows how female auteurs made a specific mark on Portugal's post-revolutionary conceptualisation of a differently 'national' cinema, through the ethnographic output of the late 1970s. It goes on to explore women's decisively gendered interventions in the cinematic memory practices that opened up around the masculine domain of the Colonial Wars in Africa. Feminist political issues such as Portugal's 30-year abortion campaign and LGBT status have become more visible since the 1990s, alongside preoccupations with global concerns relating to immigration, transit and minority status communities. The book also demonstrates how women have made specific contributions to the evolution of soundscapes, the genre of essay cinema, film's relationship to the archive, and the adaptation of the written word. The result is a powerful, provocative and definitive challenge to the marginalisation of Portuguese female-directed film in terms of 'double minority'.
Nora M. Alter reveals the essay film to be a hybrid genre that fuses the categories of feature, art, and documentary film. Like its literary predecessor, the essay film draws on a variety of forms and approaches; in the process, it fundamentally alters the shape of cinema. The Essay Film After Fact and Fiction locates the genre’s origins in early silent cinema and follows its transformation with the advent of sound, its legitimation in the postwar period, and its multifaceted development at the turn of the millennium. In addition to exploring the broader history of the essay film, Alter addresses the innovative ways contemporary artists such as Martha Rosler, Isaac Julien, Harun Farocki, John Akomfrah, and Hito Steyerl have taken up the essay film in their work.
Godard and the Essay Film offers a history and analysis of the essay film, one of the most significant forms of intellectual filmmaking since the end of World War II. Warner incisively reconsiders the defining traits and legacies of this still-evolving genre through a groundbreaking examination of the vast and formidable oeuvre of Jean-Luc Godard. The essay film has often been understood by scholars as an eccentric development within documentary, but Warner shows how an essayistic process of thinking can materialize just as potently within narrative fiction films, through self-critical investigations into the aesthetic, political, and philosophical resources of the medium. Studying examples by Godard and other directors, such as Orson Welles, Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, and Harun Farocki, Warner elaborates a fresh account of essayistic reflection that turns on the imaginative, constructive role of the viewer. Through fine-grained analyses, this book contributes the most nuanced description yet of the relational interface between viewer and screen in the context of the essay film. Shedding new light on Godard’s work, from the 1960s to the 2010s, in film, television, video, and digital stereoscopy, Warner distills an understanding of essayistic cinema as a shared exercise of critical rumination and perceptual discovery.
Why have certain kinds of documentary and non-narrative films emerged as the most interesting, exciting, and provocative movies made in the last twenty years? Ranging from the films of Ross McElwee (Bright Leaves) and Agn?s Varda (The Gleaners and I) to those of Abbas Kiarostami (Close Up) and Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), such films have intrigued viewers who at the same time have struggled to categorize them. Sometimes described as personal documentaries or diary films, these eclectic works are, rather, best understood as cinematic variations on the essay. So argues Tim Corrigan in this stimulating and necessary new book. Since Michel de Montaigne, essays have been seen as a lively literary category, and yet--despite the work of pioneers like Chris Marker--seldom discussed as a cinematic tradition. The Essay Film, offering a thoughtful account of the long rapport between literature and film as well as novel interpretations and theoretical models, provides the ideas that will change this.
Filmosophy is a provocative new manifesto for a radically philosophical way of understanding cinema. It coalesces twentieth-century ideas of film as thought (from Hugo Münsterberg to Gilles Deleuze) into a practical theory of "film-thinking," arguing that film style conveys poetic ideas through a constant dramatic "intent" about the characters, spaces, and events of film. Discussing contemporary filmmakers such as Béla Tarr and the Dardenne brothers, this timely contribution to the study of film and philosophy will provoke debate among audiences and filmmakers alike. FILMOSOPHY ® is a registered U.S. trademark owned by Valentin Stoilov (www.filmosophy.com) for educational services in the field of motion picture history theory and production. Mr. Stoilov is not the source or origin of this book and has not sponsored or endorsed it or its author.
William Rothman argues that the driving force of Hitchcock's work was his struggle to reconcile the dark vision of his favorite Oscar Wilde quote, "Each man kills the thing he loves," with the quintessentially American philosophy, articulated in Emerson's writings, that gave classical Hollywood movies of the New Deal era their extraordinary combination of popularity and artistic seriousness. A Hitchcock thriller could be a comedy of remarriage or a melodrama of an unknown woman, both Emersonian genres, except for the murderous villain and godlike author, Hitchcock, who pulls the villain's strings—and ours. Because Hitchcock believed that the camera has a murderous aspect, the question "What if anything justifies killing?," which every Hitchcock film engages, was for him a disturbing question about his own art. Tracing the trajectory of Hitchcock's career, Rothman discerns a progression in the films' meditations on murder and artistic creation. This progression culminates in Marnie (1964), Hitchcock's most controversial film, in which Hitchcock overcame his ambivalence and fully embraced the Emersonian worldview he had always also resisted. Reading key Emerson passages with the degree of attention he accords to Hitchcock sequences, Rothman discovers surprising affinities between Hitchcock's way of thinking cinematically and the philosophical way of thinking Emerson's essays exemplify. He finds that the terms in which Emerson thought about reality, about our "flux of moods," about what it is within us that never changes, about freedom, about America, about reading, about writing, and about thinking are remarkably pertinent to our experience of films and to thinking and writing about them. He also reflects on the implications of this discovery, not only for Hitchcock scholarship but also for film criticism in general.
The German filmmaker Alexander Kluge has long promoted cinema's relationship with the goals of human emancipation. Jean-Luc Godard and Filipino director Kidlat Tahimik also believe in cinema's ability to bring about what Theodor W. Adorno once called a "redeemed world." Situating the films of Godard, Tahimik, and Kluge within debates over social revolution, utopian ideals, and the unrealized potential of utopian thought and action, Christopher Pavsek showcases the strengths, weaknesses, and undeniable impact of their utopian visions on film's political evolution. He discusses Godard's Alphaville (1965) against Germany Year 90 Nine-Zero (1991) and JLG/JLG: Self-portrait in December (1994), and he conducts the first scholarly reading of Film Socialisme (2010). He considers Tahimik's virtually unknown masterpiece, I Am Furious Yellow (1981–1991), along with Perfumed Nightmare (1977) and Turumba (1983); and he constructs a dialogue between Kluge's Brutality in Stone (1961) and Yesterday Girl (1965) and his later The Assault of the Present on the Rest of Time (1985) and Fruits of Trust (2009).
The essay film - 'a form that thinks' - serves to create a self-reflexive space for contemporary society by challenging expectations and demanding the creative involvement of the spectator. Using film to provoke thought has never been more important than now, when non-fiction films are gaining in popularity and playing a growing part in debates about culture and politics. This timely publication argues that the appeal of the essay film lies primarily in the dialogic engagement with the spectator and the richness of the intellectual and artistic debate it stimulates.<BR> The book focuses on the work of three key European film directors associated with the essay film: Chris Marker, Harun Farocki and Jose Luis Guerin. It provides a detailed analysis of several films by each director, exploring the relationship between dialogism and essayism in their work and placing this in the wider context of debates on the cinematic essay as a genre. Central aspects of essayistic filmmaking are explored, including its radical approach to knowledge, its distinctive patterns of subjectivity, its challenging of the formal representation of reality, and its contribution to new understandings of spectatorship. Written with clarity and perception, this volume offers new insights into the rise of the non-fiction film and the essay film, in particular."
In this revised edition of a universally acclaimed guide, Rosenthal’s intellectual impetus remains the same: "For me, working in documentary implies a commitment that one wants to change the world for the better. That says it all." Even before important revisions, Donald E. Staples, University of North Texas, said of Rosenthal’s work: "This book should be called the ‘Documentary Filmmaker’s Guide to the Galaxy.’ The moral, ethical, aesthetic, and communicative problems of documentary filmmaking are explored through knowledge and experience in the field, studio, editing room, theater, and television. Every new or established documentary filmmaker should read it." And Henry Breitrose, writing in International Documentary, stated: "The concentration on technique as an end in itself has resulted in altogether too many exquisitely wrought empty vessels. Alan Rosenthal’s new book comes as a corrective. . . . The book is a major contribution to the literature of film teaching and will be immensely useful as a textbook and as a humane, intelligent, and thoughtful refresher course for documentary makers." An internationally renowned documentary filmmaker with more than sixty films to his credit, including the Peabody Award-winning Out of the Ashes, Rosenthal has written the first book to address the realities involved in the making of a documentary. Rather than dealing with theory or hardware, Rosenthal tackles the day-to-day problems from initial concept through distribution. Simply and clearly, Rosenthal explains how to write, direct, and produce the new documentary, whether film or video. He emphasizes the research and writing of the documentary, from approach and structure through interviewing, narration writing, and the complexities of editing. This emphasis makes his book unique. The organization of the book follows the process of making a documentary. Part 1 discusses ideas, research, and script structure; parts 2 and 3 go over preproduction and production; part 4 explores editing and narration writing; and part 5 discusses distinctive forms of documentary, including cinema verite and documentary drama. The concluding chapter offers a perspective on the entire process involved in the making of a documentary.
Undercurrents engages the critical rubric of "queer" to examine Hong Kong's screen and media culture during the transitional and immediate postcolonial period. Helen Hok-Sze Leung draws on theoretical insights from a range of disciplines to reveal parallels between the crisis and uncertainty of the territory's postcolonial transition and the queer aspects of its cultural productions. She explores Hong Kong cultural productions � cinema, fiction, popular music, and subcultural projects � and argues that while there is no overt consolidation of gay and lesbian identities in Hong Kong culture, undercurrents of diverse and complex expressions of gender and sexual variance are widely in evidence. Undercurrents uncovers a queer media culture that has been largely overlooked by critics in the West and demonstrates the cultural vitality of Hong Kong amidst political transition.
'A succinct, legible and important guide to the study of film. The book presents a well organised approach to film studies with each chapter containing valuable information and detail', Luis Teixeira, Universidade Catolice Portuguese - Fine Arts SchoolFilm Studies: Critical Approaches represents the most up-do-date critical guide to the study of film, covering all the significant theories, debates and approaches to the subject. A team of international experts provides an overview of the main disciplinary approaches to film studies, explaining the main concepts and methods involved in film analysis, and discussing areas in detail, including important new areas such as film audiences and reception, queer theory, film and psychoanalysis, and poststructuralist debates. Chapter summaries and lists of further reading in each chapter help the student to assimilate the material. This text is ideal for undergraduates taking courses in film criticism and textual analysis, guiding the reader through the maze of theory to the heart of the subject.
Originally collected in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and now available both as a stand-alone essay and in the ebook collection Chuck Klosterman on Film and Television, this essay is about the Left Behind series.
This is the first study that employs a materialist framework to discuss the political implications of form in the films of Lars von Trier. Focusing mainly on early films, Politics as Form in Lars von Trier identifies recurring formal elements in von Trier's oeuvre and discusses the formal complexity of his films under the rubric of the post-Brechtian. Through an in depth formal analysis, the book shows that Brecht is more important to von Trier's work than most critics acknowledge and deems von Trier a dialectical filmmaker. This study draws on many untranslated resources and features interviews with Lars von Trier and his mentor, the great Danish director Jørgen Leth.