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Showing posts from March, 2012

2012: The Year That Twitter Broke

I recall that a good number of conference-goers followed the SCMS conference via Twitter last year and undoubtedly some had before. But this year feels different: the SCMS website has prominently displayed the Twitter feed, and even the least networked film-studies people I know followed the feed and discussed it.
I do not use Twitter, so my reactions are colored by that. To my eye, the tweets excel at coordinating meetings, dealing with varying sorts of live information, and quick-capsule synopses of talks. (Catherine Grant's summaries are particularly impressive in scope.) The latter seems like a useful in-between information between title and abstract and helps conference-goers get a sense of panels they are not able to attend.
Maybe because I don't write in such short-form entries, I'm especially impressed when more substantial dialogue manages to happen. And it does happen. Perhaps my favorite insight comes from Jason Mittell: "I think everyone in the field think…

SCMS 2012: The New Theoretical Return

A first glance through the SCMS program made me think that the Post-Theory crowd had won: many, if not most, of the titles seemed to reflect middle-level research projects, organized around a particular and even narrow object of study. However, a couple of panels made me realize that film theory actually is playing a key role in the conference.

The Where is Film Theory Now? workshop was interesting both for its constellation of polemics and its popularity. By my estimation, about 75 people packed into the room, and a certain energy was palpable for what in effect was an unofficial inauguration of a Contemporary Film Theory scholarly interest group. The workshop participants all spoke to varying aspects of the phenomenon of what I'll call the New Theoretical Return: Philip Rosen; Elena Gorfinkel; Caetlin Benson-Allot; John David Rhodes; Damon Young and chair Scott Richmond. They nor those in the audience presented a unified vision of where film theory is (going) today, but a few tre…

Carnival in Costa Rica

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I expected a spectacle travelogue from Carnival in Costa Rica (20th-Fox, Gregory Ratoff) and on a basic level, the film did not disappoint: the Good Neighbor cultural condescension is thick and the musical numbers are designed to show off the Technicolor.


What I did not expect was a feature film so similar to others I've been watching in 1947: a low-key comedy-romance-melodrama hybrid wedged halfway between B film and A film aesthetics. Luisa Molina is the daughter of a Costa Rican father and an American mother, and her family wants to arrange a marriage with Pepe Castro. Neither Luisa nor Pepe are excited by the prospect of arranged marriage and prefer their romantic interests instead. The film, therefore, becomes a drama about the coming of modernity and the playing off of gender and class against traditional stricture.
Formally, there are a couple of notable things. First, even this film starts off with the documentary-style shot, with a voiceover narration. However, this narrato…

SCMS 2012-bound

I'm heading off today to Boston for the SCMS conference. I'm giving a talk entitled "Hollywood Mannerism" on the first slot Wednesday (!). It's part of a panel on revising Classical assumptions in Hollywood historiography, so I'm excited to hear what my co-presenters have to say.
I will try to blog about the conference and in any case have a backlog of 1947 write-ups, so expect more posting.

CFP: Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom

Via Bob Rehak:
Call for Papers Materiality and Object-Oriented Fandom (March 2014)

A special issue of Transformative Works and Cultures on objects and artifacts in media fandom.

Alongside its consumption and transformation of texts, media fandom has always been marked by its consumption and transformation of objects. From superhero figures, model kits, and wargaming miniatures for sale at hobby shops, to costumes and props worn at Comic-Con, material objects and body decoration have functioned as displays of textual affiliation, crafting skills, or collecting prowess, reflecting a long history of fan-created and -circulated artifacts around popular media fictions.
This special issue seeks historically and theoretically informed essays that explore the role of objects and their associated practices in fandom, as instances of creativity and consumerism, transformation and affirmation, private archive and public display. We are particularly interested in work that complicates or transcends t…