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Through films that alternate between containment, order, and symmetry on the one hand, and obsession, explosiveness, and a lack of control on the other, Chantal Akerman has gained a reputation as one of the most significant filmmakers working today. Her 1975 film Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles is widely regarded as the most important feminist film of that decade. In Nothing Happens, Ivone Margulies presents the first comprehensive study of this influential avant-garde Belgian filmmaker. Margulies grounds her critical analysis in detailed discussions of Akerman's work--from Saute ma ville, a 13-minute black-and-white film made in 1968, through Jeanne Dielman and Je tu il elle to the present. Focusing on the real-time representation of a woman's everyday experience in Jeanne Dielman, Margulies brings the history of social and progressive realism and the filmmaker's work into perspective. Pursuing two different but related lines of inquiry, she investigates an interest in the everyday that stretches from postwar neorealist cinema to the feminist rewriting of women's history in the seventies. She then shows how Akerman's "corporeal cinema" is informed by both American experiments with performance and duration and the layerings present in works by European modernists Bresson, Rohmer, and Dreyer. This analysis revises the tired opposition between realism and modernism in the cinema, defines Akerman's minimal-hyperrealist aesthetics in contrast to Godard's anti-illusionism, and reveals the inadequacies of popular characterizations of Akerman's films as either simply modernist or feminist. An essential book for students of Chantal Akerman's work, Nothing Happens will also interest international film critics and scholars, filmmakers, art historians, and all readers concerned with feminist film theory.
Rites of Realism shifts the discussion of cinematic realism away from the usual focus on verisimilitude and faithfulness of record toward a notion of "performative realism," a realism that does not simply represent a given reality but enacts actual social tensions. These essays by a range of film scholars propose stimulating new approaches to the critical evaluation of modern realist films and such referential genres as reenactment, historical film, adaptation, portrait film, and documentary. By providing close readings of classic and contemporary works, Rites of Realism signals the need to return to a focus on films as the main innovators of realist representation. The collection is inspired by André Bazin’s theories on film’s inherent heterogeneity and unique ability to register contingency (the singular, one-time event). This volume features two new translations: of Bazin’s seminal essay "Death Every Afternoon" and Serge Daney’s essay reinterpreting Bazin’s defense of the long shot as a way to set the stage for a clash or risky confrontation between man and animal. These pieces evince key concerns—particularly the link between cinematic realism and contingency—that the other essays explore further. Among the topics addressed are the provocative mimesis of Luis Buñuel’s Land Without Bread; the adaptation of trial documents in Carl Dreyer’s Passion of Joan of Arc; the use of the tableaux vivant by Wim Wenders and Peter Greenaway; and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s strategies of analogy in his transposition of The Gospel According to St. Matthew from Palestine to southern Italy. Essays consider the work of filmmakers including Michelangelo Antonioni, Maya Deren, Mike Leigh, Cesare Zavattini, Zhang Yuan, and Abbas Kiarostami. Contributors: Paul Arthur, André Bazin, Mark A. Cohen, Serge Daney, Mary Ann Doane, James Lastra, Ivone Margulies, Abe Mark Normes, Brigitte Peucker, Richard Porton, Philip Rosen, Catherine Russell, James Schamus, Noa Steimatsky, Xiaobing Tang
Edited by Terrie Sultan. Preface and Acknowledgments by Paul Ha, Jane Farver, Rina Carvajal, Terrie Sultan. Texts by Claudia Schmuckli, William Arning, Klaus Ottmann, Rina Carvajal, Terrie Sultan.
Marcelline Block’s Situating the Feminist Gaze and Spectatorship in Postwar Cinema breaks new ground in exploring feminist film theory. It is a wide-ranging collection (re)visiting important theoretical questions as well as offering close analyses of films produced in the United States, France, England, Belgium, and Russia. This anthology investigates exciting areas of research for critical inquiry into film and gender studies as well as feminist, queer, and postfeminist theories, and treats film texts from Marguerite Duras to 21st century horror films; from Agnès Varda’s 2007 installation at the Panthéon to the post-Soviet Russian filmmakers Aleksei Balabanov and Valerii Todorovskii; from Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof to Sofia Coppola’s postfeminist trilogy; from Chantal Akerman’s “transhistorical, transgressive and transgendered gaze” to the “quantum gaze” in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park; from Hitchcock’s “good-looking blondes” to the career-woman-in-peril thriller, among others. According to the semiotician Marshall Blonsky of the New School University in New York, “given the breadth of the editor’s choices, this volume makes a splendid contribution to feminist and cinematic fields, as well as cultural and media studies, postmodernism, and postfeminism. It lends readers ‘new eyes’ to view canonical and other film texts.” David Sterritt, chairman of the National Society of Film Critics, states that this anthology “should be required reading for students and scholars, among other readers interested in the interaction of cinema with contemporary culture.” Situating the Feminist Gaze and Spectatorship is prefaced by Jean-Michel Rabaté’s brilliant essay, “Mulvey was the First…”
Films use architecture as visual shorthand to tell viewers everything they need to know about the characters in a short amount of time. Illustrated by a diverse range of films from different eras and cultures, this book investigates the reciprocity between film and architecture. Using a phenomenological approach, it describes how we, the viewers, can learn how to read architecture and design in film in order to see the many inherent messages. Architecture’s representational capacity contributes to the plausibility or 'reality' possible in film. The book provides an ontological understanding that clarifies and stabilizes the reciprocity of the actual world and a filmic world of illusion and human imagination, thereby shedding light on both film and architecture.
Boredom and melancholy in the experience of reading Contemporary graphic novels show an interesting shift from the extraordinary to the ordinary in slice-of-life stories in which nothing happens. Present-day graphic accounts are inhabited by melancholic characters whining about the lack of meaning in life. This book examines this intriguing transition and brings a historical, aesthetical and narratological approach to comics in which boredom is not only a topic, but also awakens a deliberate affective response in the very experience of reading. This volume brings together close readings of work by Lewis Trondheim, Chris Ware and Adrian Tomine. With a foreword by Raphäel Baroni (University of Lausanne).
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