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Medium 9780861967025

A Hundred Years Ago

Edited by Martin Loiperdinger John Libbey Publishing ePub


for Chiara Caranti

In the summer of 2003 the festival Il Cinema Ritrovato presented a series of five programmes of films from 1903, curated and introduced by Tom Gunning. I do not know how this came about. The section was called, in English, The First Great Year of Cinema: 1903 and, in Italian, Cento anni fa: I film del 1903.

My involvement dates from April 2004, when the director of the Cineteca di Bologna, standing beside me, was wondering to himself whether the Hundred Years Ago series should continue and, if so, who might curate it that year – and muttering that it was, in any case, now too late as the festival starts at the end of June. I muttered back to him that I could do it – a remark which has afforded me the happiest seven years of my career.1

It is mostly thanks to the films. The body of work produced from 1904 to 1910 is the most interesting in the whole of cinema history, for it was then, as it would never be again, that a whole host of aesthetic and narrative possibilities of the medium were explored and tested. It is also the least known and most undervalued work. Moreover, films of this period have to be properly programmed, for screenings to be a success. All this makes the curator’s job both challenging and rewarding. We are talking about films or fragments with running times of between one minute and fifteen (except for the exceptions, of course). Choosing between hundreds of short films, grouping the chosen titles into programmes and putting them into an effective running order, with films being dropped or exchanged the whole time, is a job which can be done well or badly. It is as important to the way the films are received as the staging of a play is to its success. I aim, via my programming, to make the selected films accessible and to provide a context for them by the way they are combined, so that each film’s special qualities are shown to their best advantage and each film’s position in the programme fulfils a dramatic function. A badly-constructed programme reduces or destroys the audience’s ability to see, think and feel. But we have arrived far too quickly at these reflections on programming principles. So let us return to these rarely-seen films of before 1910.

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Medium 9780253329059

Five The Movie You See, The Movie You Don’t How Disney Do’s That Old Time Derision

Elizabeth Bell Indiana University Press ePub

Susan Miller and Greg Rode

When I got to Atlanta I assumed he was going to be there. When I asked why he wasn’t, there didn’t seem to be an answer. Finally I found out it was because the hotel wouldn’t accept him and he was told he would have to stay with some family in a certain part of town. It spoiled the whole occasion for me. I was outraged. But of course there wasn’t anything I could do about it. It was already a fact. (Ruth Warrick, recalling her response to the absence of James Baskett [Uncle Remus] from the gala Atlanta premiere of Song of the South. Emphasis added. [Thompson 1986, 19])

Patriarchalism, the uncritical forms of the modern family, the patterns of sexual dominance, the disciplining of pleasure, the reinforcement of the habits of social conformity are some of the key ways in which the political movements of the left have remained deeply conservative and traditionalist at their culture core. The tiny “family man” is still hiding away in the heads of many of our most illustrious “street-fighting” militants. (Emphasis added. Hall 1988, 250)

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Medium 9780253016966


Colin Crisp Indiana University Press ePub

Bastille Day (The Fourteenth of July)

France-Germany, 1933, 97 min, b&w

Dir and Scr René Clair; Asst dir Albert Valentin; Prod Tobis; Cinematog Georges Périnal; Music Maurice Jaubert, André Gailhard, and Jean Grémillon; Art dir Lazare Meerson; Sound Hermann Storr; Edit René le Hénaff; Act Annabella (Anna), Pola Illéry (Pola), Georges Rigaud (Jean), Raymond Cordy (Raymond), Thomy Bourdelle (Fernand), Paul Olivier (Monsieur Imaque), Aimos (Charles), Jane Pierson, Maximilienne, and Odette Talazac.

Whether because of the relative financial failure of À nous la liberté (#12) or because, as René Clair himself claimed, after two films in which fantasy reigned, he wished to return to the Parisian world of which he was so fond, Quatorze juillet has neither the ideological substratum of À nous nor the reckless fantasy of Le Million (#9), but resembles to a remarkable extent his first sound film, Sous les toits de Paris (#2).1 In it we find again the “little people” of Paris, the street scenes where those people meet and interact, the class contrasts that promote them as more human than the bourgeoisie and less ridiculous than the effete upper class, and the music that expresses their vitality and sentimentality. And again we find a lack of depth in all characters, such that the narrative lacks motivation and drive, depending largely on chance encounters and patterns of repetition and variation.

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Medium 9780253012531

8. Filtering Cultural Feedback: Religion, Censorship, and Localization in Actraiser and Other Mainstream Video Games · Peter Likarish

HEIDI CAMPBELL Indiana University Press ePub

Peter Likarish

USERS DONT ALWAYS PLAY THE SAME GAME. TWO GAMERS rush home with copies of a recent entry in their favorite fighting game series, Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi (Atari, 2007). One lives in Japan, the other in the United States. Both tear open the packaging, choose their favorite character, and start fighting others from the television series. In numerous bouts with Vegita, Goku, and other popular characters, the game experience is nearly identical aside from the language displayed on the screen. Then, a strange thing happens. Both recognize their next opponent from the Dragon Ball Z television series, but the U.S. player faces off against Hercule, while the Japanese player fights Mr. Satan. Or the two may be adventuring in the classic role-playing game Earthbound (Nintendo, 1995). Their characters have been gravely wounded and both head toward a big white building with numerous windows. The Japanese player sees the nearly universal Red Cross symbol next to the Japanese kanji for hospital. The American’s character approaches the same building in the same location. The word “Hospital” is still emblazoned on the building, but the cross is gone. In each case, the two purchased the same game. The vast majority of the content is the same. What accounts for the differences?

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Medium 9780861967155

Chapter 4 Amateur vs. Professional

Edited by David E James and Adam Hyman John Libbey Publishing ePub

Maya Deren*

The major obstacle for amateur film-makers is their own sense of inferiority vis-à-vis professional productions. The very classification “amateur” has an apologetic ring. But that very word – from the Latin“amateur” – “lover” means one who does something for the love of the thing rather than for economic reasons or necessity. And this is the meaning from which the amateur film-maker should take his clue. Instead of envying the script and dialogue writers, the trained actors, the elaborate staffs and sets, the enormous production budgets of the professional film, the amateur should make use of the one great advantage which all professionals envy him, namely, freedom – both artistic and physical.

Artistic freedom means that the amateur film-maker is never forced to sacrifice visual drama and beauty to a stream of words, words, words, words, to the relentless activity and explanations of a plot, or to the display of a star or a sponsor’s product; nor is the amateur production expected to return profit on a huge investment by holding the attention of a massive and motley audience for ninety minutes. Like the amateur still-photographer, the amateur film-maker can devote himself to capturing the poetry and beauty of places and events and, since he is using a motion-picture camera, he can explore the vast world of the beauty of movement. (One of the films winning Honorable Mention in the 1958 Creative Film Awards was Round And Square, a poetic, rhythmic treatment of the dancing lights of cars as they streamed down highways, under bridges, etc.) Instead of trying to invent a plot that moves, use the movement of wind, or water, children, people, elevators, balls, etc. as a poem might celebrate these. And use your freedom to experiment with visual ideas; your mistakes will not get you fired. Physical freedom includes time freedom – a freedom from budget imposed deadlines. But above all, the amateur film-maker, with his small, light-weight equipment, has an inconspicuousness (for candid shooting) and a physical mobility which is well the envy of most professionals, burdened as they are by their many-ton monsters, cables, and crews. Don’t forget that no tripod has yet been built which is as miraculously versatile in movement as the complex system of supports, joints, muscles and nerves which is the human body, which, with a bit of practice, makes possible the enormous variety of camera angles and visual action. You have all this, and a brain too, in one neat, compact, mobile package.

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Medium 9780253021359

Introduction: Oscar Micheaux and Race Movies of the Silent Period

Pearl Bowser Indiana University Press ePub

This catalog accompanies a seven-part program of American race films, which is premiering at the Giornate del Cinema Muto and will then be distributed by the Museum of Modern Art (New York) in a 35mm film format. The resulting Oscar Micheaux and His Circle package embraces virtually all of the surviving feature-length race films from the silent period as well as a selection of related shorts. These pictures were made between the end of World War I and 1930. Of the seven features, three were made by African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux (based in Chicago; Roanoke, Virginia; and then New York), two by the Colored Players Film Corporation located in Philadelphia, one by the Detroit-based Richard Maurice, and one by Richard Norman’s film company in Arlington, Florida. The shorter films were made for a wide variety of purposes: some are 35mm shorts that might be shown before a feature. Others were shot in 16mm: for the church circuit by James and Eloyce Gist and for ethnographic purposes by Zora Neale Hurston. Oscar Micheaux, recognized in his time as the foremost African-American filmmaker of this period, emerges as the central figure of this book. Enough films by his contemporaries survive for us to gain a context for his work. While these other films are certainly of considerable importance in their own right, it is Micheaux who emerges as a major figure of the New Negro Renaissance that flourished in the wake of World War I. In truth, Micheaux also emerges as one of America’s great directors, someone of absolutely world-class stature whose work is dense, rich, and complex. His films demand and reward repeated viewing and extensive critical engagement.

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Medium 9780861966738


Amy M. Davis John Libbey Publishing ePub


In the London edition of Time Out for the week of 28 June to 5 July 2000, there were a number of articles relating to the film Chicken Run, released in Britain that week.324 Made by Nick Park and Peter Lord, the creators of “Wallace and Gromit”, Chicken Run was the first feature-length film made by Aardman Studio, for some years a maker of very popular, successful, and Academy Award-winning shorts. At the beginning of the television listings section, as part of the promotion for a BBC documentary on Chicken Run and its creators at Aardman Studios, was a large picture of the various characters whom Aardman shorts have featured as well as some of Chicken Run’s characters. And, superimposed over the heads of four of the characters were four human faces: Nick Park, Steven Spielberg, Peter Lord, and Walt Disney. Though Disney’s name and studio were not once mentioned in the article about the documentary, his image was nonetheless in the photo. In fact, because the maker of this picture chose to use a sepia-toned picture of a young Walt Disney’s face, he stood out from the picture in a way which the other figures – people all mentioned in the article and involved in bringing Chicken Run to the screen – did not.

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Medium 9780253016423

1. Music in the Vococentric Cinema

David P. Neumeyer Indiana University Press ePub

A simple, typical example of sound practice in the Hollywood studio era (roughly 1930–60) may be found in a few moments from The Dark Corner (1946), an A-level film noir obviously meant as a stand-alone sequel to Laura (1944). An evening party at the lavish home of Hardy Cathcart (Clifton Webb) includes a dance sequence that begins with a straight-on view of members of Eddie Heywood’s band (figure 1.1a), followed by a pan across the dancing couples to Cathcart and his wife, Mari (Cathy Downs, figure 1.1b). The sound level of the band is maintained during the pan but drops a little as Webb’s voice enters at the original, higher sound level; the band is now offscreen and in the sonic background. The couple, in medium shot, are seen at a very modest angle (to emphasize the dance), but on the reverse to Mari (figure 1.1c), a standard shot / reverse shot with an eyeline match is used, confirming the priority (and, with the tighter framing, also the privacy) of their conversation.1 The backgrounding of the music serves narrative clarity and happens in collusion with the camera: the pan charts distance covered, but no attention is paid to a drop in volume for the physical circumstances of the room (in other words, the band actually should be louder as Cathcart and Mari talk). Music begins as performance, but it leads before long to the voice.2

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Medium 9780253002952

18 Indian Icon, Gay Macho: Felipe Rose of Village People

ARTURO J ALDAMA Indiana University Press ePub


As a backup singer in the multi-gold-album-winning disco group Village People, Felipe Rose performed “The Indian” that both marketed and masked his Lakota, Puerto Rican, and gay identities. “What do you see / When you look at me?” Felipe “Swift Arrow” Rose slowly sings with a harmonized chorus accompanied by a guitar and synthesizer as his website opens. Answers to this question are complicated because of Rose’s history of ambiguous representations as a mixed-race, un-enrolled urban Indian. The online text identifies Rose as both Lakota and Puerto Rican. On the website, Rose also describes his three-decade role in Village People and his fifteen-year experience with Native American music production. The musical comedy Can’t Stop the Music (1980) gave an official, racialized, and straight version of the subversively multicultural gay story of Village People’s original rise to fame. Rose more popularly identified as gay and Indian after Village People’s appeal quieted down in the anti-disco 1980s and sexual and identity politics changed. Contemporary Native American, Two-Spirit, and queer Latino critical perspectives articulate how Rose plays Indian in Can’t Stop the Music in order to partially resist racial and sexual oppressions as a gay performer of American Indian and Puerto Rican ancestry.

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Medium 9780253012531

9. The Importance of Playing in Earnest · Rachel Wagner

HEIDI CAMPBELL Indiana University Press ePub

Rachel Wagner

THE ERROR PEOPLE TEND TO MAKE THE MOST IN THINKING about games and religion is to assume that the primary opposition at work is the idea that religion is “serious” whereas games are “fun.” I propose that a more accurate distinction is between being earnest as opposed to being insincere in one’s engagement with the ordered world views that religions and games can evoke. The importance of constructing systems or worlds of order into which people may willingly enter is a key feature of both religions and games. The greatest offense in both experiences is to break the rules, that is, to become an apostate, an infidel, a cheater, or a trifler, to fail to uphold the principal expectations about how to inhabit that particular experience’s world view. To fail in being earnest in following the rules is to cause a disruption of order, a breach in the cosmos-crafting activity that both games and religion can provide. Of course, not all experiences of religious practice and gameplay will fit this definition, but many of them do. This, I propose, is a fundamental similarity between religion and games, generally speaking: both are, at root, order-making activities that offer a mode of escape from the vicissitudes of contemporary life, and both demand, at least temporarily, that practitioners give themselves over to a predetermined set of rules that shape a world view and offer a system of order and structure that is comforting for its very predictability. While it is true that games offer such ordered worlds on a temporary basis and religion attempts to make universal claims to such rule-based systems, the root impulse of entering into ordered space reveals a deep kinship between religion and games that is startling and evocative.

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Medium 9780253353801

15 On the White Russian

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Craig N. Owens

Palm trees finger the sky, and there’s enough sunshine to lay some off on Pittsburgh. But that’s all on top. L.A., truth to tell, is not much different than a pretty girl with the clap.

Coleman and Zippel, City of Angels

Thanks to James Bond’s filmic popularity, the two rival mixologies of the vodka Martini are well known: the shaken and the stirred. Indeed, one might easily imagine a Levi-Straussian work of cultural anthropology, along the lines of The Raw and the Cooked, exploring how these two mixing methods have come to encapsulate whole attitudes toward life, love, and libations. The mixological niceties of the White Russian, by contrast, remain relatively unremarked upon, even among libationists familiar with the Dude. For, while it’s conceivable that the Martini is to James Bond what the White Russian—or to use the preferred dudism, the Caucasian—is to the fortuitously eponymous protagonist of the Coen brothers film The Big Lebowski, it is not so clear what impact his Belarusian leanings have had on his favorite collation’s cultural place, beyond the cult of Lebowski enthusiasts.

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Medium 9780253016454

7 Fake Pastors and Real Comedians: Doubling and Parody in Miraculous, Charismatic Performance

Jesse Weaver Shipley Indiana University Press ePub

The pastor pours drinking water, but claims that it’s holy water.

Rap lyrics, Grey of the Mobile Boys

THIS CHAPTER EXAMINES how, in millennial Ghana, the figure of the false prophet or pastor—and fear of fakery more generally—plays a dynamic and productive role in shaping an emerging sphere of moral uncertainty to which performance and its assessment are central. Since the 1980s an increasing number of popular Ghanaian performers have been moved by the Holy Spirit and been “born again” as Charismatic pastors. From highlife musician and concert party theatre leader, Nana Ampadu, known for his sequined jumpsuits and irreverent Ananse-based hit songs, touched by the Holy Spirit in 1988, to Promzy, a hip-hop/hiplife musician known for his tough gangster image who was born again in 2014, artists have rejected their bawdy entertainments in favor of pious celebrations of Christ. However, the public has often remained skeptical of the sincerity of these conversions. Rampant concerns that they are faking their new beliefs in order to garner publicity reveal how intricate links between sincerity and fakery lie just below the surface of all sorts of theatrical social action. Rather than a tale of how new Christian movements reshape the public sphere, the interplay between pastors and artists demonstrates a complex blurring of sacred and profane in popular realms and raises questions about the contextually specific logic of reiteration (Meyer 2004a; J. Shipley 2013b). Ghanaian conversion narratives are not signs of how people make a “complete break with the past,” severing ties to older kin and social networks (Meyer 1998a) but demonstrate something of the performance logic in which belief and meaning are made and assessed through public self-presentations. A new identity’s coherence relies on authoritatively embodying that self in the moment rather than on maintaining contiguous links to past selves and previous performances.

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Medium 9781574411874

Black Lily and White Lily

Sterling Houston University of North Texas Press PDF

Black Lily and White Lily


(A pile of clothes spills out from an open suitcase. LILY MAE is putting on a dress over her head at lights up.)

LILY WINSLOW: That’s it. Now turn around. (L.M. moves.) No, faster. Twirl around.

LILY MAE: Twirl around? (She spins until almost dizzy.)

L.W.: That’s enough, now don’t overdo it.

L.M.: I really like this color, Mrs. Winslow. It brings out my skin tone.

L.W.: Now, put on the jacket. Yes, and let it kind of fall off your shoulders, casual like. That’s right. Now walk over there and turn around.

(L.M. does action.)

L.M.: Like this?

L.W.: That’s enough now. Take it off. I don’t want to look at it any more. It reminds me of something. Something . . .

L.M.: Something sad?

L.W.: Why no. Eh, something wonderful . . .

L.M.: Like what, if I may be so bold.

L.W.: Lily Mae, you know that a real lady never reveals all her secrets. Not even to her dearest friend.

L.M.: Am I your dearest friend?

L.W.: Well, I don’t know who is if you’re not. Why else would I be giving you all these lovely things? Yes, that dress is better. Turn, turn. I associate it with calmer memories.

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Medium 9780861966608

Chapter 10 Hispanic Media Globalization

NoContributor John Libbey Publishing ePub

In general terms, the main factors behind globalization can be summarized as follows: firstly we have financial factors, such as the liberalization of some markets and the power of transnational corporations. Secondly there is an important factor that concerns the language: English is considered the most international language in the world. Thirdly we must consider new technologies such as the Internet, satellite and cable systems. These have contributed to the extremely fast development of globalization in recent years. Finally, there is the fact that the nineties have been described as the “information era”. Information became increasingly more important at work and in daily life in those years, thereby increasing the relevance of media during that decade (Stephens, 1995, p. 27). So, recent globalization is closely related to the media market.

Media play a key role in cultural globalization. In this sense media globalization depends mainly on the existence of global media companies (GMC). According to Levitt (1983, p. 92), “the global corporation operates with resolute constancy as if the entire world (or major regions of it) were a single entity; it sells the same things in the same way everywhere”. From this view, some media conglomerates can be considered global companies. These global media companies are also characterized by being big companies integrated vertically and horizontally, they are leaders in their domestic markets, affiliated to foreign companies and operating in different countries. They promote the international distribution of media contents and develop the production of global media. Companies from different countries share most of their ownership, which brings knowledge and penetration into those countries.

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Medium 9780253018618

Lincoln and the Radicals

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

a conversation with Tony Kushner

Daniel Itzkovitz

A SOMBER 1865 broadside, printed in the days after Lincoln’s assassination, hangs on a wall in the middle of Tony Kushner’s West Harlem office. It bears the image of an American flag above bold black letters: “God Will Avenge our Slaughtered Leader!”

“It’s such a scream of pain,” Kushner said about the image, “And I love the doubleness of it. It’s a call for vengeance, but it’s also in a way admonishing people to leave vengeance to the lord: ‘we don’t have to be vengeful because God will take care of it . . .’. We’ve been through other days somewhat like when Lincoln was killed, but there’s something about the confluence . . . the fact that he was killed four days after the end of the Civil War, and on Good Friday, in a country that was so predominantly and deeply Christian. It must have been really . . . unbearable.”

Kushner’s ability to imagine complex and sometimes unbearable human experience sits at the heart of his work as a playwright, screen-writer, and political activist. And so does the tension in his analysis of the broadside: between the call to popular action, and the belief that a greater force might also be there—and should be there—to help those who need it.

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