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Showing posts from July, 2014

Musicals, Frankfurt School edition

An analysis from Leo Lowenthal, as quoted by Martin Jay (Dialectic of Enlightenment 214):
Mass culture is a total conspiracy against love as well as sex. I think you [Horkheimer] have hit the nail on the head by your observation that spectators are continuously betrayed and robbed of real pleasure by sadistic tricks. This sadism has the special function to prevent psychologically and physiologically "Vorlust." Take for example, the ballet scene in Holiday Inn, on of the newest pictures, where a couple starts dancing a minuet, but as soon as this minuet develops to a more amorous situation and one could very well imagine that the dancing partners will end by kissing each other, the sweet and melodious music is suddenly stopped and replaced by jazz which almost verbally castrates the dancers.  This would be interesting to teach with Dyer's "Entertainment and Utopia" essay.

SCMS2015 calls for papers

Summer is the time for forming SCMS panels, as August 31 is the submission deadline for the 2015 conference in Montreal. Since not everyone in the field (especially abroad) is a current SCMS member or uses the website, I thought I would round up the current calls for papers there. There are too many to include the actual call, but if a topic interests you and you cannot access the website, leave me a comment within the next couple of days and I will post the full call. Deadlines for many are coming up very soon - late July and early August - and some may have even passed already.

PANELS

African American Film History and Literary Adaptations
Animation and Politics
Animation Theory and Cognition
Approaching the WWE Universe
Asian Comics and Graphic Novels
Authorship in Contemporary Documentary
Autobiography and Writing the Self in Cinema
Between the Lines: On Film Festivals and the Politics of Language
Cinema and Literary Modernism
Cities in the Sky: Public Housing in Global Cinema and …

The Film History Textbook, 2014 update

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Unlike the intro textbooks, the film history textbooks have not changed editions since I last reviewed them. However, their prices have gone up, and I have discovered a couple of new books, meriting an update.  Most of all, though, I want to revisit my reviews because of my dissatisfaction using my previous textbook. While I admire the Thompson/Bordwell textbook in many ways, it's just been ungainly from a pedagogical perspective - too much completist coverage and way too little emphasis on which ideas are most important for a student to know and learn. In the fall, I'll be switching to the Oxford History of World Cinema.


A History of Narrative Film, by David Cook. 4th edition. Norton. $113.75.

This book for years was standard and even today is possibly the most commonly used textbook for the history survey. From my understanding, previous editions slanted more to the masterwork approach – this fourth edition has a better balance between masterwork and industrial/contextual his…

Textbook Inflation 2014 edition

I am overdue updating my reviews of intro-to-film textbooks. But I thought I’d take a look at textbook prices. I knew textbook prices have gone up, but seeing the extend of the rise is surprising. Below I’ve listed the traditional textbooks in ascending order of 2014 costs. I’ve listed the nominal inflation since 2006. That figure can’t be taken at face value, since prices have risen almost 20% since then. Some are close to general price-level inflation, but most are considerably higher.

Anatomy of a Film (Bernard F. Dick)
5th edition $41
6th edition $56
37% inflation

Looking at Movies: an Introduction to Film (Richard Barsam)
2nd edition $50
4th edition $92.50
85% inflation

The Film Experience (Tim Corrigan and Patricia White)
1st edition $72
3rd edition $99
25% inflation

Film: An Introduction (William H. Phillips)
3rd edition $72
4th $99
25% inflation

Movies and Meaning: An Introduction to Film (Stephen Prince)
4th edition $80
6th edition $127.80
60% inflation

Understanding Movies (…

CFP: Book on Classical Hollywood and Transnational Representations

CALL FOR PAPERS

Edited Volume:
Projecting the World: Classical Hollywood, the ‘Foreign’, and Transnational Representations

The book brings together scholarship that examines classical Hollywood’s representations of foreign spaces and peoples from roughly 1930 to 1965, a period when America was not only at the zenith of its world power but when its vision of power helped secure the uneven transformation of Western colonialism into modern, neoliberal globalization.  Analyzing primarily the film text rather than extra-textual issues such as distribution or production conditions, this book helps expand our understanding of “global Hollywood” by asking how the films themselves represented U.S. global power and America’s role in the world.

We will explore how, just as Said shows of the 19th century British novel, the mid-20th-century Hollywood film must be read as a privileged site for understanding the American metropole’s cultural imaginary of itself and of its neocolonial others. Far fr…