Showing posts from April, 2014

CFP: Film Festival Cartographies symposium


“Film Festival Cartographies” Symposium
20-21 November 2014 University of Modena and Reggio Emilia
Modena, Italy
The organisers invite prospective participants to submit abstracts for paper presentations at “Film Festival Cartographies”, a two-day symposium hosted by the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Studies, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and promoted by the Film Festival Research Network (FFRN) and the Ozu Film Festival.

The Film Festival Cartographies symposium endeavours to reflect on issues of global distribution, transnationalism, and on the social imaginaries and political economies embedded in film festivals. The symposium looks for contributions seeking to tackle the ‘social production’ of festival spaces (Lefevre, Harvey, Massey). Based on the idea of ‘critical cartographies’ (Harley, Wood), the event aims to explore the ways in which the festival ecosystem is constituted and marked in the world chart, and how festival maps could be understood…

CFP: Conference on Color in Silent Cinema


The Colour Fantastic: Chromatic Worlds of Silent Cinema

29 to 31 March, 2015
EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam

Twenty years on from the groundbreaking Amsterdam workshop ‘Disorderly Order’: Colours in Silent Film, the conference will celebrate this milestone anniversary by providing a new forum to explore contemporary archival and academic debates around colour in the silent era. The conference will explore a diverse range of archival and academic topics and provide a stimulating environment for specialists from across different disciplines. It will also include screenings of restored and/or rarely seen films. The event will be held at EYE (Amsterdam) on 29 to 31 March, 2015.

We welcome papers and in particular pre-formed panel proposals on the following themes: avant-garde and abstract colour; restoration and preservation; technologies; animation; intermediality; aesthetics and cultural contexts. We also welcome papers working with films from EYE’s Open Beelden website (eye.o…

Documentary and Political Modernism

I have a feeling I'm going to have more research and thoughts to develop about the legacy of political modernism in documentary. As a child of 1970s film theory, I'm drawn to political modernism as an agenda for film theory, not because of the normative claims that 1970s film theorists made about cinema (I tend to disagree with those) but because they give a continued opportunity to think through the relation of ideology and aesthetics. Documentary has always given political modernist theorists a particular frisson because of its spectatorial experience of the real is such a tempting target for debunking. And yet I have a similar relation to these theories: sympathetic with their agenda but disagree with their normative claims.

Having recently watched Rithy Panh's The Missing Picture, I've been mulling over these issues. Not primarily because the film invokes self-reflexivity in its theme (clay figures capture what images don't, spectator wants to see the real of g…

Hegelianism and Historical Poetics

I do find historical poetics useful and enlightening as a method, even though I was not trained in it nor is it the only approach I use. But something I've mentioned before is that there's a common narrative behind its model of historical change: A B A' - or thesis-antithesis-synthesis. Stable aesthetic norms get disrupted by some external event (usually technology), causing disruption, experimentation, then finally recuperation into a new stable norm largely adapted to prior norms. One can see this narrative in works on sound (James Lastra), deep focus (David Bordwell), or Technicolor (Scott Higgins), or in one essay I always enjoy reading and teaching, Paul Ramaeker's account of the split-diopter lens.

There's a good reason this narrative appears often: culture industries, particularly those as capitalized and convention-oriented as Hollywood, place a premium on stability and regularity so filmmakers do a lot of professional work to find stability in an unstable …